The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.


Postby admin » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:50 am



Visionary fascism was, and indeed still is, exceptionally deeply fascinated by the Buddhocratic form of state. In the late thirties (as the various fascist systems bloomed in Europe and the whole world) Spencer Chapman, a traveler in Tibet, wrote that even in the days of the dictators one can only be amazed at what uncontested power the Dalai Lama possesses” (Chapman, 1940, p. 192). The idea of kingship of the world, the uniting of spiritual and secular power in a single person, the ideology of war in the Shambhala myth, the uncompromisingly andocentric orientation, the tantric vision of the feminine, the whole occult ambience and much more besides were specifically adopted by several fascist ideologists and welded together into an aggressive myth. As we shall soon see, entire fascist systems are based upon the adoption of Tibetan/tantric doctrines.

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s national socialist friends:

As depressing as it may be for the Nobel peace prize winner’s followers, there has been continuous contact between the Dalai Lama and the far right wing and former national socialists (Nazis). His close friendship with his German mentor, Heinrich Harrer has become the most well-known of these. It caused a small scandal in 1997-1998 when, after years of research, the Austrian journalist, Gerald Lehner, succeeded in making public Harrer’s “brown-shirt” (i.e., German fascist) past, which the latter had been able to keep secret for many years. Harrer is not just anybody. He is one of the best-known international authors and has sold over four million books in 57 languages (mostly about Tibet and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama).

The Austrian mountain climber and competition skier joined the SS on April 1, 1938 and in the same year received instructions to climb Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas after an official meeting with Adolf Hitler. Heinrich Himmler, himself most interested in occult phenomena is said by Harrer to have offered him a Tibet expedition. In 1942, the Reichsführer of the SS (Himmler) ordered the creation of the Sven Hedin Institut für Innerasienforschung [Sven Hedin Institute for Central Asian Research]. This educational establishment had combined esoteric, scientific, and racial studies goals. It was completely in this vein that Himmler was interested in occult doctrines from “mysterious Tibet”, and assumed — probably under the influence of theosophical ideas — that a “race with Nordic blood” existed there, oppressed by the English and Chinese, and waiting for their liberation by the Germans. Himmler’s “advisor”, reports the German magazine Spiegel, “… and the scientist Ernst Schäfer believed that Tibet was the cradle of humanity, the refuge of an ‘Aryan root race’, where a priestly caste had created a mysterious kingdom of Shambhala — decorated with the Buddhist symbol of the wheel of teaching, a swastika. In 1934 Schäfer set out on the first of two expeditions financed by the SS to track down remnants of the ‘Nordic intellectual’ nobility” (Spiegel, 16/1998, p. 111).

Dr. Ernst Schäfer, a specialist on Tibet and an ornithologist, was one of Himmler’s personal staff and in 1943 took over the scientific leadership of the notorious project, “Ahnenerbe” (‘ancestral inheritance’), primarily devoted to racial studies. His third research trip to the Himalayas was officially described as the “SS Schäfer Expedition” and was considered a huge success (Kater 1997, p. 80). Upon his return in August 1939, the scientist was presented with the SS skull ring and dagger of honor in recognition. Subsequently, the Reichsführer of the black corps (Himmler) had grand plans for his protégé: Schäfer was supposed to return to Tibet and “stir up the Tibetan army against the British/Indian troops” with a shock troop of 30 men (Kater, 1997, p. 212). The undertaking was, however, called off at Hitler’s direct order. In the years to follow, Schäfer instead built up the Sven Hedin Institute for Central Asian Research with great success, making it the largest division within the Ahnenerbe project.

But let us return to Heinrich Harrer. War broke out while he was still in India and the young German was interned by the British. It was not until 1944 that he was able to flee to Tibet with a comrade. Coincidence or fate led to his acting as the young Dalai Lama’s personal tutor until the early 50s, and teaching him about all the “wonders” of western civilization and introducing him to the English language as well. It is very likely that his lessons were tainted by the contemporary zeitgeist which had swept through Hitler’s Germany, and not by the British attitudes of the envoy Hugh Richardson, also present in Lhasa. This led in fact to some problems at the court of the young god-king and the English were not happy about his contact to Harrer. But there are nevertheless no grounds for describing the lessons the former SS member gave his “divine” pupil as fascist, particularly since they were primarily given after the end of the World War II. In 1952 His Holiness’s German “teacher “ returned to Europe.

The adaptation to film of Harrer’s autobiographic bestseller, Seven Years in Tibet, triggered an international protest. Since the famous traveler through Tibet had told director Jean Jacques Annaud nothing about his “brown-shirt” past, and this only became public knowledge after the film had been finished, Annaud felt pressured to introduce “corrections”. A remorseful Austrian was now shown, who begins his mountain-climbing career as a supporter of a regime accused of genocide and then, under the influence of the young Kundun and Tibetan Buddhism, reforms to become a “campaigner for human rights”. In the film, he says of the brutal Chinese: “Terrible — I dare not think about how I myself was once so intolerant “ (Stern 41/97, p. 24).

Reinhold Messner, the famous mountain climber, found such an admission of guilt from Hollywood’s dream factory difficult to understand. He spoke up, confirming that he had long known about Harrer’s political opinions. This man, he said had up until the present day still not learned anything, he still believed in the national socialist alpinist ideals. In contrast, the Dalai Lama’s brother, Gyalo Thondup, defended the former SS member with the tasteless argument that what the Chinese had done to the Tibetans was worse and more cruel than what the Nazis had done to the Jews.

It is a fact that Harrer — in his own account- first turned against the Chinese invaders at the end of the fifties, after he had already left Tibet. There is not the slightest trace of a deep catharsis as depicted in Annaud’s film to be found in the German’s books. This was purely an invention of the director to avoid losing face before a world audience.

The journalist Gerhard Lehner also pursued a second lead: on September 13, 1994 eight veterans who had visited and reported from Tibet before 1950 met with the Dalai Lama in London. In a photo taken to record the occasion a second major SS figure can be seen beside Heinrich Harrer and directly behind the Kundun, Dr. Bruno Beger. Beger was the actual “expert” who pushed forward the racial studies research by Himmler’s Ahnenerbe project (Kater, 1997, p. 208). He too, like the Tibetan explorer Ernst Schäfer, was a member of Himmler’s personal staff. In 1939 he went to the Himalayas as a member of the SS Expedition. There he measured the skulls of more than 400 Tibetans in order to investigate a possible relationship between the Tibetan and Aryan ‘races’. In 1943, Beger was sent to Auschwitz where he took the measurements of 150 mainly Jewish prisoners. These were later killed and added to a collection of skeletons. In 1971 Beger appeared in a German court and was sentenced to three years imprisonment on probation for his national socialist crimes.

The racialist, who was the last survivor of the “SS Schäfer Expedition” (dying in 1998), met His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama at least five times (in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1994). The meetings were all very hearty affairs. The former SS member dedicated a small brochure entitled “My Encounters with the Ocean of Knowledge” to the first three (Beger, 1986).

The Dalai Lama (worshipped by his followers as the “Ocean of Wisdom” because of his “omniscience”) claims not to have been informed about his Nazi friends’ past. One may well believe this, yet he has not distanced himself from them since their exposure. His statements about Adolf Hitler and the “final solution to the question of the Jews” also seem strange. Just like his brother, Gyalo Thondup, he sees the dictator as a more noble figure than the Chinese occupiers of Tibet: “In 1959, in Lhasa, the Chinese shot Tibetan families from aeroplanes with machine guns. Systematic destruction in the name of liberation against the tyranny of the Dalai Lama! Hu, Hu, Hu! In Hitler's case he was more honest. In concentration camps he made it clear he intended to exterminate the Jews. With the Chinese they called us their brothers! Big brother bullying little brother! Hu, Hu, Hu! It’s less honest, I think” (Daily Telegraph, August 15, 1998).

The Nazi–Tibet connection:

Were there occult intentions behind the “SS Schäfer Expedition”? In the neo-fascist literature these are considered a top secret mission of Himmler’s to make contact with the “adepts of Shambhala and Agarthi”. Authors from the scene like Wilhelm Landig, Miguel Serrano, Russell McCloud, etc., let their readers believe that through these expeditions a kind of metapolitical axis between Berlin and Lhasa was constructed. Dietrich Bronder knows that “Schäfer’s SS men were permitted to enter holy Lhasa, otherwise closed to Europeans and Christians, even the magnificent Lamaist temple that contains just one huge symbol, the holiest in the Mongolian world — the swastika” (Bronder, 1975, p. 250)

Although in recent years comprehensive research findings about the interests of leading Nazis in occult phenomena have been published, this is currently played down by pro-Lamaist intellectuals, especially as far as a occult Nazi — Tibet connection is concerned. [1] Ernst Schäfer and Bruno Beger, the two leaders of the undertaking (the SS Schäfer expedition), are depicted as sober natural scientists. Heinrich Himmler’ esoteric ambitions in Tibet were minimal, indeed “probably did not exist” (Brauen, 2000). Hitler himself appears as a decided anti-occultist. “However, the suggestion that Hitler was interested in Eastern esotericism or even Tibet can be ruled out” (Brauen, 2000, p. 65). With an appeal to the historian Goodrick-Clark, the pro-Lamaist authors also assess the occult currents within the early Nazi movement (the notorious Thule Society for example) as insignificant, and completely lacking in evidence for a particular interest in Tibet. Rudolf Freiherr von Sebottendorf (1875-1945), the founder of the Thule Society, is said to have explicitly spoken out against the suggestion that the light came from the highlands of Asia.

We do not see it as our primary task here to historically prove the interweaving of the relevant SS members (Hitler, Himmler, Harrer, etc.) in an occult Nazi — Tibet connection. Things were not as cleanly rationalist and scientifically correct as the pro-Lamaist intellectuals would have it among the SS. When for example, at the presentation of a gift to the Tibetan regent in Lhasa Ernst Schäfer declaims, “Since the swastika is also the supreme and most holy symbol for us Germans, the motto of our visit is: A meeting of the Western and Eastern swastikas in friendship and peace …” (quoted by Brauen, 2000, p. 79), then an occult note in accord with the zeitgeist of the time is present.

There are certainly also other, non-fascist, authors who create an occult correspondence between national socialism and Tibetan Buddhism via a esoteric interpretation of the “Hakenkreuz” (the swastika), a Buddhist symbol par excellence: “The rightward hooked cross [signifies] a prayer formula in Tibet”, writes Friedrich W. Doucet, “In its left-turned form — like the national socialist swastika — it designates the orthodox Yellow Hats ... it is the Yellow Hats who supervise the spiritual rules in the Tibetan ecclesiastical state and also exercise worldly power” (Doucet, 1979, p. 81).[2]

It is also certain that Himmler’s spiritual advisor, Karl Maria Wiligut (“Himmler’s Rasputin”), saw the “SS Schäfer Expedition” as an extremely occult undertaking and at Himmler’s direction attempted to exert an appropriate influence on the participants in the expedition. The SS standard bearer Wiligut/Weisthor, who was one of Himmler’s personal staff, was accredited with mediumistic abilities and he himself was convinced he was in contact with transpersonal powers. Wiligut/Weisthor was considered to be the Schutz Staffel’s (SS’s) expert on runes and designed the legendary skull ring of the SS. His megalomaniac overestimation of himself (there are authenticated statements from him to the effect that he believed he was the “secret King of Germany”) and the fact that he was deprived of the right of decision by his family led Himmler to discharge Wiligut from the SS in 1939 (Lange 1998, p. 271).

The German author Rüdiger Sunner quotes the report of a member of the “SS Schäfer Expedition” over a meeting with Wiligut.[3] During the encounter (in 1937 or 1938?), the latter was in a trance-like state and addressed his visitors in a guttural voice: “I telephoned my friends this evening … in Abyssinia and America, in Japan and Tibet ... with all who come from another world in order to construct a new empire. The occidental spirit is thoroughly corrupted, we have a major task before us. A new era will come, for creation is subject to just one grand law. One of the keys lies with the Dalai Lama [!] and in the Tibetan monasteries.” The visitor was not a little distressed, and goes on to report: “Then came the names of monasteries and their abbots, of localities in eastern Tibet which I alone knew about … Did he draw these out of my brain? Telepathy? To this day I do not know, I know only that I left the place in a hurry” (Sünner, 1999, p. 50). In the 80s the Chilean Miguel Serrano took up the speculation anew that the Dalai Lama plays a key role in the Nazi-Tibet connection. His “skill”, this author says of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is “closely linked with that of Hitler’s Germany … on the basis of not yet discovered connections. A few years after Germany, Tibet also falls” (Serrano, 1987, p. 366).

Wiligut also believed that Lhasa would form a geomantic quadrilateral with Urga (Ulan Bator), the Egyptian pyramids, and Vienna. Miguel Seranno was later to expound similar ideas (in the seventies). Himmler too was interested in geomantic ideas and it cannot be excluded “that he hoped for more exact data about this from the Schäfer expedition” (Brauen, 2000, p. 78).

Otto Rahn, likewise a member of the SS, who in the 30s attempted to render the myth of the holy grail and the Cathar movement fruitful for the national socialist vision and the SS as some kind of “warrior monks”, assumed that the Cathars had been influenced by Tibetan Buddhism “One of the Cathari symbols of the spirit that is god which was taken over from Buddhism was the mani, a glowing jewel that lit up the world and allowed all earthly wishes to be forgotten. The mani is the emblem of the Buddhist law that drives out the night of misconception. In Nepal and Tibet it is considered the symbol of the Dyanibodhisattva Avalokiteshvara or Padmapani, charity” (Rahn, 1989, pp. 185, 107).

The myth of the “black sun” which was able to win a central place in the neo-fascist movement and displays similarities with the Tibetan Rahu myth from the Kalachakra Tantra, can be traced to the inspiration of Wiligut and his milieu among others. In a commentary on Wiligut’s runic writings, a pupil, Emil Rüdiger, mentions an invisible dark planet, Santur by name, which is supposed to influence human history and to be able to be microcosmically linked with the energy body of an adept. Appropriate yogic exercises(rune gymnastics) are recommended for producing “high intelligence effects” (Lange, 1998, p. 226). Just how seamlessly such “rune gymnastics” can be linked to tantric exercises can be seen in the writings of Miguel Serrano, the father of “esoteric Hitlerism” (Serrano, 1984).

It is thus not at all the case that there is no historical foundation for hypothesizing an occult Nazi — Tibet connection, even if it is publicly denied by one of the protagonists of the “SS Schäfer Expedition”, Bruno Beger (Lange 1998, p. 68). Nevertheless, an occult interconnection between the SS and Lamaist Tibet of the dimensions in which it is currently portrayed in a large number of neo-fascist and esoteric publications has to be described as a post facto construction. This construction could, however, we repeat, fall back on an esoteric ambience in which Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, and other high-ranking Nazis moved. Thus the well-known, historically proven material has at any rate been sufficient to create new and very effective myths. In the Nazi- Tibet connection , we are thus dealing with a process of myth creation and not a historical set of events. In such processes, there is a blending of historical facts, the stuff of traditional sagas, straining for effect, and imaginary, visionary, religious, fantastic, and personal elements until it all binds into a resistant pattern and anchors itself as such in a culture. It is not unusual for different mythologemes to become fused, and this is exactly, as we will show, what has happened in the case of the Nazi — Tibet connection. Here, racist Nazi myths have been fused with elements of the Tibetan Shambhala myth and with sexual magic practices from Tantric Buddhism.

In this process of myth construction it should also not be underestimated that the meetings known to have occurred between the Dalai Lama and former SS members (Schäfer, Harrer, Beger) have a occult significance alone by virtue of the fact that anybody who mentally negotiates an esoteric network interprets a meeting with the Dalai Lama as an occult event.


On the Homepage of the Government of Tibet in Exile ( ) 13. 09. 1994: The XIV. Dalai Lama between two former SS-men, Bruno Beger on his right behind and Heinrich Harrer on his left behind. The other persons, who visited Tibet before 1950, are: Mr Kazi Sonam Togpyal, Mr Robert Ford, Mrs Ronguy Collectt (daughter of Sir Charles Bell), Mrs Joan Mary Jehu, Mr Archibald Jack and Prof. Fosco Maraini.


In the meantime an enormous amount of literature about a suspected Nazi — Tibet connection has appeared, some examples of which we briefly introduce here:

In 1958 an American publisher released the book The Lightning and the Sun, by Savitri Devi (“Hitler’s Priestess”), which presents Adolf Hitler as an avatar (an incarnation) of the sun god, alongside Akhenaton and Genghis Khan. Devi does not mention a Nazi — Tibet connection, but introduces the “avatar principle” into the myth building surrounding Hitler that is seized upon by later authors so as to present the Führer as an incarnation from the kingdom of Agarthi/Shambhala (see Miguel Serrano in this regard).

In their best-seller The Dawn of Magic, Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwells (1962) first claim that the Shambhala/Agarthi myth strongly influenced the founders of the national socialist movement.

Robert Charroux (Verratene Geheimnisse [“Betrayed Secrets”]) presumes that Lama priests had gained influence over Hitler and worked on “ a plan for exercising control over the world which was thoroughly the equal of that of the Germans “ (Charroux, 170, p. 258).

The anti-fascist myth researcher Friedrich Doucet (Im Banne des Mythos [In the Thrall of Myth], 1979) discusses “psycho-techniques of the monks and abbots in the Lama monasteries of Tibet” with which leading national socialist figures were manipulated.

Likewise, the anthroposophically oriented author, Trevor Ravenscroft (The Spear of Destiny), 1974), assumes that Hitler cooperated with “Tibetan leaders” in Berlin.

In the 80s, two books by the Chilean Miguel Serrano appeared (El Cordon Dorado [The Golden Ribbon] and Adolf Hitler el último Avatara [Adolf Hitler: The Final Avatar]). Both texts form the basis for “esoteric Hitlerism”. One of Serrano’s central themes is the relationship between sexual magic and political power (especially national socialism). The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, whom Serrano has met several times, is woven by the author into the creation of neo-fascist myths around Hitler.

According to Jan van Helsing (Geheimgesellschaften und ihre Macht ... [“Secret Societies and their Power”], 1993), Tibetan monks worked together with Templar Knights who were organized in the highest lodge of the “black sun” on the establishment of the Third Reich. The secret order had (and still has) an important base underground in the Himalayas. The ruler of the underground kingdom is said to be “Rigden Iyepo”, the king of the world, with his representative on the surface, the Dalai Lama.

In Die schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo [The Black Sun of Tashi Lhunpo] (1996), McCloud reports on the survival of the national socialist Thule group in Tibet . They are the followers of a “sun oracle” there.

For Wilhelm Landig (Götzen gegen Thule ... [Idols against Thule], n.d.), Tibet is also “the realm of the black sun! It is the meeting point of the esoteric circles of the Schutzstaffel [the SS], whose knowledge Mr. Himmler also knew about but did not share.”

In his novel (The Black Sun…, 1997), Peter Moon reiterates the decisive influence of Tibetan Lamas on National Socialism and extends it with new images. He takes the side of the old Tibetan Bon religion, and accuses the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism of religious oppression.

“Why”, Martin Brauen, a pro-Lamaist expert on Tibet, asks in light of this considerable and by no means complete literature list, “does Tibet arouse the interest of the neo-fascists so much?” What makes Tibet so attractive for them? What is so fascinating about the Shambhala myth that it draws into its thrall both those who cultivate and those who combat it?” (Brauen, 2000, p. 93). He cannot answer this question. But in order to be able invert the fact that national socialism had a occult relationship to Tibetan Buddhism into its complete opposite, he foregrounds an anti-Lamaist faction within the German right-wing. It was precisely the Nazis, Brauen says, who denounced the Lamas and the Tibetans as “Untermenschen” (subhumans).

Among the anti–Dalai Lama and anti-Tibet literature are works by S. Ipares (Geheime Weltmächte [Secret World Powers], 1937), who was influenced by the orientalist Albert Grünwedel. In his book, the author talks of an occult hierarchia ordinis of the Lamaist theocracy, which invisibly influences and steers the East.

J. Strunk’s arguments (Zu Juda und Rom — Tibet, [To Juda and Rome — Tibet], 1937) are more far reaching; he tries to uncover a conspiracy of an international ecclesiastical elite (with members from all the world religions) with the living Buddha, the Dalai Lama from Lhasa as their visible head. “What there are of organizations and new spiritual currents running alongside and in all directions nearly always end up on the ‘roof of the world’, in a Lama temple, once one has progressed through Jewish and Christian lodges” (Strunk, 1937, p. 28).

In the same year (1937) Fritz Wilhelmy published the piece Asekha. Der Kreuzzug der Bettelmönche [Asekha: The Crusade of the Mendicant Monks]. In it “Tibetan Buddhism … [is] openly appointed to play a more than mysterious role in the great global hustle and bustle of suprastate pullers of strings” (Wilhelmy 1937, p.17)

General Ludendorff and his wife likewise took to the field with great vigor against the “Asian priests” and warned that the Tibetan Lamas had emplaced themselves at the head of Jewish and Jesuit secret orders (Europa den Asiatenpriestern? [Europe of the Asian priests)], 1941).

Clearly the most prominent of the anti-Lamaist Nazi faction was the racialist Alfred Rosenberg, who in his seminal work Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhundert [The Myth of the 20th Century] made the battle between the priests and the warrior caste into the primal conflict of the history of the world. The Tibetan lamas appear here as the representatives of a decadent Asian Catholicism.

The problem with the construction of a fascist anti-Lamaism lies in the fact that apart from Alfred Rosenberg the right-wing authors cited definitely did not occupy positions of power like those of Himmler, the SS, and the Ahnenerbe project. “Hitler’s mythologist” (Rosenberg) was cut dead by Himmler and barely taken seriously by Hitler. The Ludendorff’s fell out of favor with the Führer. In contrast, the SS with their rites and their martial style increasingly became the epitome of the Nazi myth. It was the SS who explored Tibet and it was a former SS trooper (Heinrich Harrer) who schooled the Dalai Lama.

Besides this, the national socialist opponents of Lamaism mentioned, who Martin Brauen so demonstratively parades to prove that fascism was hostile towards Tibetan Buddhism, are just as fanatically fascinated by the atavistic mythology of Tibet as the pro-Lamaist fascists whom we have listed above. They do not attack the Lamaist system out of a democratic attitude or rational consideration, but the opposite, because they fear the occult world of the Lamas — namely, control by magic, the conquest of the planet by Buddhist despots, the manipulation of awareness through rituals, etc. — all concepts which can indeed be found in the tantric texts. Thus, right-wing opponents of Lamaism, just like the right-wing advocates of Lamaism, see in Tibet and its religion an occult control center.

Since the pro-Lamaist intellectuals can no loner deny that fascist authors increasingly sought out contact with Lamaist cultural images after the war, they emphatically reassure us that these were a matter of Western “illusions”, or at least Western hybrids of Lamaism which were in no sense just. With this they seem to think the problem is solved (in this regard, see Brauen 2000). But they leave us waiting for an examination of contents which reveals to what depth and extent ideas and practices from Lamaism have been directly incorporated by the fascist side. Yet a debate about the images, archetypes, metapolitical visions, political structures, and rituals from the Tibetan cultural sphere which the neo-Nazis refer back to is of far greater interest than the question of whether there was personal contact between lamas and Nazis. Here the actual work of cultural criticism begins, which entails

1. discovering Lamaist myths of origin behind the “Nazi fantasies”

2. investigating these Lamaist myths of origin

3. examining structural similarities between neo-fascism and Lamaism

Only then when such “myths of origin” are not to be found can the Nazi- Tibet connection be said to have been exposed as a purely Western fiction.

The following list of paradigms, concepts, theories, methods, and myths which have essentially shaped the culture of Lamaism (and still do) have become central for the neo-fascist movement:

The combination of religious and political power

A strictly hierarchical state structure that rests upon a spiritually based “Führer principle”

The out and out patriarchal orientation of the state and society

A pattern of complete subordination of pupil to master

The appearance of divine beings of earth to fulfill political missions (the avatar, incarnation, and Bodhisattva principle)

A political micro-/macrocosmic theory according to which a Buddhist ruler represents a likeness of the entire universe.

The idea of a world ruler (Chakravartin) and a violent conquest of the world

The motif of spiritual/political redemption

The idea of a superhuman center of power in Asia, from where an influence on world politics is exercised (the Shambhala myth)

The legitimation of contemporary politics through mythic roots

The derivation of political control from myths of the sun and light

The myth of the “black sun” (Rahu myth in the Kalachakra Tantra)

Alchemic speculations (as in the Kalachakra Tantra)

An interest in secret men’s associations (members of orders)

The existence of a supernatural community of “priestly warriors” (Shambhala warriors) who observe and influence the history of the world

A “Buddhist” warrior ethic based upon spiritual control of the body and emotions

An apocalyptic final battle, in which good and evil stand opposed and all nonbelievers are annihilated (Shambhala war)

A fascination with the machinery of war (Shambhala myth)

Flying discs (UFOs) — corresponding objects (flying wheels) will be put to use in the final Shambhala war

A magical view of the world and the associated conception that the manipulation of symbols can affect history

Techniques for manipulating consciousness

A great interest in paranormal phenomena and their combination with politics (visions, oracles, prophecies)

A magic/political understanding of the system of rituals in the service of the state

Sexual magic practices for transforming erotic love and sexuality into worldly and spiritual power (Kalachakra Tantra)

The functionalization of the feminine principle for the purposes of politico-religious power

All these pillars of Tibetan Buddhist culture are likewise ingredients of the Kalachakra Tantra constantly practiced by the Dalai Lama and the Shambhala myth this evokes. For centuries they have determined the form of Tibetan monastic society, completely independent of any Western imaginings or influence. Hence the question about neo-fascism's inordinate interest in Tibet and its atavistic culture is easily answered: fascists of the most varied persuasion see their own “political theology” confirmed by the Tibetan Buddhist religious system, or discover new images and practices in it with which they can enrich and extend their ideologies.

Some (not all) of the above-mentioned Tibetan cultural elements to which the new right has helped itself were also to be found in the Europe of old, yet these were either disempowered or relativized by the Enlightenment and “modernity” — only to be reactivated in the history of fascism and national socialism. In traditional Tibet (up until 1958), in the community of Tibetans in exile, but above all in the figure of the Dalai Lama and his clergy, in the holy texts and the rituals (the tantras), these images and archetypes were able to survive without pause. Through the active presence of the lamas in the West they are now visible and tangible once more and play an ever greater role in Western popular culture. Yet it is not just in comics and kitsch films that the Dalai Lama is portrayed as a god-king, but also both the respectable and the down-market western press, a label which gains fundamental significance in the political theology of fascism and is combined there with the Führer principle.[4]

Julius Evola: A fascist Tantric:

It was not just the ideologists and theoreticians of national socialism who were closely concerned with Tibet, but also high-ranking intellectuals and scholars closely linked to Italian fascism. First of all, Giuseppe Tucci, who attempted to combine Eastern and fascist ideas with one another, must be mentioned (Benavides 1995).

A further example is the work of the Italian, Julius Evola (1898-1974), for a time Benito Mussolini’s chief ideologist (mainly in the forties). In numerous books and articles he has investigated and further developed the relationship between tantric rituals and power politics. He has followed “tantric trails” in European cultural history and come across them everywhere: among the Cathars, the troubadours, the Knights Templar, in the work of Alighieri Dante, the mysticism surrounding the holy grail, European knighthood, alchemy.
Using criteria drawn from Vajrayana, he propounds a cultural history of sexuality in his most famous book, Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex. Evola was not just a theoretician, he also practiced sexual magic rites himself. There are unmistakable statements from him about the “tantric female sacrifice” and the transformation of sexuality into political power. Like almost no other, the Italian has openly named the events that unfold in the mysteries of the yogis and then confessed to them: “The young woman,” he writes, “who is first ‘demonized’ and then raped, ... is essentially... the basic motif for the higher forms of tantric and Vajrayanic sexual magic” (Evola, 1983, p. 389). In dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini he saw the precursors of future Maha Siddhas who would one day conquer the world with their magic powers: “The magician, the ruler, the lord”, he proclaims in regard to Tantrism, “that is the type of the culture of the future!” (Evola, 1926, p. 304). He recommends Tantrism as “the way for a Western elite” (Evola, East and West, p. 29).

In the Shambhala myth he sees a confirmation of the European tradition of the savior king, especially the myth of the grail: “At a particular time decreed by one of the cyclical laws, a new manifestation of the solar principle from above will occur in the form of a sacred ruler who gains victory over the ‘dark age’: Kalki Avatara. Symbolically Kalki will be born in Shambhala — one of the terms in the Indian/Tibetan tradition for the holiest hyperborean [Nordic] center” (Evola 1955, p. 56).

We could fill many pages illustrating the influence of Vajrayana (Tibetan Tantrism) on Evola’s work. But however, we will instead concentrate on a detailed discussion of the ideas of one of his pupils, Miguel Serrano. Serrano combines Evola’s fascist philosophy of power warriors with the national socialist thoughts on race. His works are particularly interesting for us not just because he is still alive (in 1999), but also because he has been linked with the Fourteenth Dalai Lama several times.

Miguel Serrano: The Dalai Lama’s “friend” and chief ideologist of “esoteric Hitlerism”:

"Miguel Serrano”, writes his interviewer, Isidro Palacios, “was the only [!] western foreigner who traveled to meet the Dalai Lama as the monk-emperor of the Tibetan Buddhists fled from the holy land of Tibet to the south because of the Chinese invasion. Our conversation partner [Serrano] traveled from India into the Himalayas where his meeting with the Dalai Lama took place, and since then a close friendship has existed between him and the now Nobel prize winner” (Palacios, 1990, p. 2). Who is this “close friend” of the Kundun then?

Miguel Serrano was born in Santiago, Chile in 1917. Between 1947 and 1948 he visited Antarctica for the first time, to which he later undertook many journeys. One of the massifs which he explored on an expedition there bears his name today. Between 1939 and 1945 he published the esoteric journal, La Nueva Edad [The New Age]. He was active as a diplomat for Chile in several countries, including India, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Austria. He also worked as an ambassador at the International Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna and at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Largely unnoticed by the public, Serrano has been in friendly contact with numerous prominent national socialist and fascist figures since the seventies: with Léon Degrelle, Otto Skorzeny, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Hanna Reitsch, Julius Evola, Herman Wirth, Savitri Devi, and the French Waffen SS man and author Saint Loup. The Chilean returned to his country of birth and lives some kilometers from Santiago (as of 1999).

He published numerous books with an occult/poetic content. Even his work best known in the West, in which he recounts his encounters with the German poet Hermann Hesse and the depth psychologist C. G. Jung, displays a great deal of occultist speculation when one reads it attentively. Serrano titled his book The Hermetic Circle: Conversations, Correspondence, and Memories of Hermann Hesse and C. G. Jung.[5] This title alone should signal that the author had formed an esoteric brotherhood with Jung and Hesse, a sort of triumvirate of magicians who had gained admittance to the archetypal storehouses of the human subconscious and are unique in the twentieth century. Jung was sympathetic towards the Chilean who had courted him. He wrote an effusive foreword to Serrano’s tale, The Visit of the Queen of Saba: “This book is unusual. It is a dream amidst other dreams, one could say, and completely different to the spontaneous creations of the unconscious with which I am familiar” (Serrano, 1980, p. 7). Serrano was also a great admirer of the American poet, Ezra Pound, who sympathized with the Italian fascists. Together with Pound’s widow (Olga Rudge) and Prince Ivanici, Serrano had a commemorative stone erected in Italy.

His occult studies took him to all parts of the world. He saw himself as a modern Percival (Parsifal) and Minnesinger, who went in search of the Grail under the protection of his diplomatic passport. “The life of an ambassador is a farce and a folly”, he said in an interview in the journal Cedade, “My post allows me to meet with people of value like the Dalai Lama, Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Hanna Reitsch (Hitler’s famous female war pilot) and others” (Cedade, 1986). Switzerland, Westphalia, the mountains of Salzburg, the Pyrenées, his travels in search of the Grail led him through all these “geomantically” significant sites, but likewise to the Himalayas, Patagonia, and Antarctica.

The Chilean was rightly considered the occult eminence of modern, international fascism. Meanwhile, his phantasmagoric writings have also developed a fanatic following in the German neo-nazi scene: It is the Chilean author’s obsessive intention to convince his readers that Adolf Hitler was an avatar (a divine incarnation) or a tulku, and ever will be, since he lives on in another body in another sphere, that of the kingdom of Shambhala. According to Serrano, the Führer will reappear as the doomsday ruler and fight a terrible battle, and that in the next few years.
How did this bizarre fantasy arise?

Shortly after the Second World War a mysterious “master” from the beyond is supposed to have appeared to the Chilean and said to him: “Hitler is a initiate, he can communicate with those dwelling on the astral plane. I do not know who his spiritual leaders are, but I have decided to help him. Hitler is a being with an iron, unshakable will which he inevitably put into effect. He never yielded. I was in contact with him.” (Serrano, 1987, p. 21).

After this appearance of his spiritual guru, Serrano was absolutely convinced that he had been entrusted with the mission of the century: the worldwide dissemination of Hitlerismo Esoterico (of “esoteric Hitlerism”).
Whilst still performing his international duties as a Chilean Ambassador he held himself back, although he carried the idea in his heart from the nineteen fifties on. During this period he published books of a poetic/esoteric content with several respectable western publishers which, although they without exception include tantric topics (especially the “female sacrifice”), studiously avoid mentioning the name of Adolf Hitler. Only in 1978 did the Chilean first dare to go public with an open profession of belief in the German Nazi dictator, and published El Cordón Dorado — Hitlerismo Esoterico [The Golden Ribbon — Esoteric Hitlerism]. In the mid-eighties the almost 650-page, large-format book, Adolf Hitler, el Ùltimo Avatâra [Adolf Hitler, the Last Avatar], followed. Serrano summarizes the results of his extensive occult research into this topic with the concise statement that, “esoteric Hitlerism is tantric” (Serrano, 1987, p. 330).
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Shambhala: The center of “esoteric Hitlerism”:

In the following sections, we hope to show just how much of his fascist world view Serrano owed to Tantrism. It is of especial interest in connection with this study that he recognized “esoteric Hitlerism” as a central doctrine from the kingdom of Shambhala: “In fact”, the author says, “Shambhala is indeed the center of esoteric Hitlerism. The entrance to it [the realm of Shambhala] was to be found in the vicinity of Shigatse or near Gyangtse [in southern Tibet]. Through my investigations I arrived at the conclusion that our center [i.e., that of Serrano’s occult order] had also been located there. The connection between Hitlerism and the Tibetans or Mongolians was also not immediate, but indirect, in as far as they established contact with the Hyperboreans (the Aryan gods of the north) and made free passage and the transmission of physical messages possible. Tibetans and Mongolians were their vassals who had to guard the magic entry gates to their world. ... When I visited Berchtesgaden [the Obersalzberg to which Hitler retreated time and again], my attention was constantly captivated by a tellurian force, a tangible vibration in the air, which instantaneously linked this point with the Tibetan Himalayas and trans-Himalaya: Hitler’s high-lying refuge with the Lhasa of the Dalai Lama, with Shambhala. For some particular reason, esoteric Hitlerism had chosen this point, which is full of direct connections, magnetic vibrations, and those which touch the stars, as the holy center of its order (the SS), and it had avoided letting a final physical struggle, which could have harmed this area, take place there” (Serrano, 1987, p. 32). In his book, NOS, Serrano defines the kingdom of Shambhala as “one of the hidden subterranean cities in which is performed the tantric initiation that transforms, transmutes and transfigures matter. There are people who say that it was the capital of Agarthi” (Serrano, 1984, p. 186). Before Shambhala was relocated in the Himalayas by the hyperborean (Nordic) siddhas, it was a kingdom at the North Pole.

Shambhala and Agarthi are thus the two occult regions (or cities) from which the national socialist dictator, Adolf Hitler, was sent to our planet. According to Serrano the two locations lie in a magic realm beneath the surface of the Earth. “Thus the submerged Agarthi and Shambhala are to be found there, which the Tibetans and Mongolians speak of as the seat of the king of the world, and also the symbolic orient of the [Knights] Templar and the true Rosicrucians. Thus the unknown leaders of these two orders, as well the organization of esoteric Hitlerism [the SS], betook themselves there. And from there Hitler clearly received instructions” (Serrano, 1987, p. 32). [6]

Following the Second World War the rumor (which Serrano seizes upon thankfully) arose in occult circles that Hitler had settled a brotherhood of Tibetan lamas in Berlin, who stood in direct contact with the kingdom of Shambhala. After the Russians entered the city the members of the order committed suicide ( Ravenscroft, 1988, p. 262ff.).[7]

But Hitler — Serrano says- did not suicide; rather he was able to return to his subterranean home of Shambhala. “Hitler lives. He did not die in Berlin. I have seen him under the earth. ... I kept this secret for many years; then it was dangerous to reveal it, and it was even more difficult to write about it”, the mysterious master we have already mentioned explained to his pupil, Serrano (Serrano, 1987, p. 37). The “Führer”, however, did not flee to Tibet as is assumed in other occult speculations. Serrano doubts such assumptions, since on the basis of his researches he reached the conclusion that the mythic realm of Shambhala was relocated from the Himalayas to the South Pole (Antarctica) following the war and that today the entrance to the underground imperium may be found there. Hitler is thus said to have traveled to Antarctica.

In the near future, the “Führer” with ascend to earth from the subterranean Shambhala (now at the South Pole) for a second time, with a powerful army of UFOs in fact. (At another point Serrano reports that Hitler will lead his army on a white horse, like the Rudra Chakrin, the wrathful wheel turner from Shambhala.) The “last avatar” (Hitler) will plunge the planet into a terrible apocalyptic war between the forces of light (the hyperborean Aryan race) and the powers of darkness (the Jewish race). The Jews, who currently rule the world, will be exterminated and the Nazis will found the Edidad Dorada (the “golden age”) and the “Fourth Reich”.

Serrano took his “fantasies” literally. To seek his spiritual leader (or the tulku Hitler), the Chilean diplomat (in India at the time) set off and began exploring in the Himalayas and in Antarctica. “In the book The Serpent of Paradise, I describe my search for the ashram of the Siddha in the Himalayas, which is likewise to be found beneath the earth in the Kailash mountains, in a very remote area where my master’s residence also is” (Serrano, 1987, p. 40).[8] He was convince that he would find an entrance to Shambhala or Agarthi in the Kailash. He also tried to reach Lake Yamdrok, because he suspected there was an entrance gateway to the underground Shambhala there as well. But the Chinese turned him back at the border.


But the time was not ripe, Serrano was unable to discover the entrance to Shambhala. In Kalimpong, “before the gates of Tibet” he encountered a “man” who assured the Chilean that a mysterious “order” exerts an influence over both the affairs of the distant past and the most recent events of world history. Obviously this man was the guru who — as he recounts in his key book EL/ELLA — initiated Serrano into the rites of sexual magic, and the order was a tantric secret society. Its members, the “man” said, “live in two cities in the Himalayas, Agarthi and Shambhala. To get there one has to trace this (tantric) way back to the origin of time” (Serrano, 1982, p. 10).

The pupil (Serrano) — we read in EL/ELLA — is prepared to go this way and is initiated into the tantras and the “laws of androgyny” by the master: “This knowledge has been passed on to us by the serpent [kundalini] that survived on the ocean floor as the world of the god-men was destroyed, in which the woman was not outside but rather inside and where man and woman were one. .... Until you are one with the woman ... you will be no priest king ... The stallion must become a mare, the man a woman ...” the guru continued his teaching (Serrano, 1982, pp. 11-12).[9]

This is never, the pupil learns, possible through chastity and asceticism. Rather, the man must encounter the woman in the “magic love” in order to divert her feminine energies. As we know, this requires absolute control over the sexual act and above all the retention of the seed: “If the stallion expels the seed, he becomes impoverished by this. ... For as long as the seed flows outwards like a river, the play of the deceptive appearances will continue” (Serrano, 1982, p. 13). In another text it says: “the magic love that is taught in ... Shambhala. ... In it the seed may not be issued outwardly and be lost in the woman, rather it must flow inwardly into the body of its owner in order to impregnate him with the androgyne, ... as one in the likewise symbolic language of alchemy” (Serrano, 1987, p. 289). If the man does not expel his sperm he can absorb the woman’s gynergies completely. “If the woman does not receive”, Serrano says, “she gives! Through her skin she exudes substances, a concentrated energy, which satiates you and penetrates into your blood and heart” (Serrano, 1982, p. 14).

But it can happen that the tantric experiment fails. If the sadhaka (the pupil) loses his seed during the magic sexual act then he is destroyed by the aggressive femininity: “The spider devours the male who fertilizes her, the bees murder the drones, the fearsome mother wears the organ of generation tied around her neck. Everything female devours, every mare, mother, goddess, or woman. In one way or another the man is consumed” (Serrano, 1982, p. 13).

It is thus a matter of life and death. Ultimately, according to Serrano the “killing” of the external woman (the karma mudra) is therefore necessary, so that the inner woman (the maha mudra) can be formed. The author does not shrink from discussing the “tantric female sacrifice” directly: “Only those who are able to love the woman so much [!] that they externally kill her [!] in order to make possible her inner rebirth will find the immortal city of Agarthi (or Shambhala)” (Serrano, 1982, p. 13).[10] For an uninformed reader hidden, but obvious to one who knows the logic of Tantrism, a tantric female murder is described in both of his initiatory writings, EL/ELLA [HE/SHE] and NOS [WE].

In a love scene from EL/ELL,A a young woman expires in Serrano’s arms in order to then re-emerge within him as an inner maha mudra. He bends over her, strokes her hair and kisses her bloody lips: “They tasted like bitter honey, and he swallowed a little of her blood” Then he suddenly sees the stigmata: “Strangely, it [the blood] was only on her feet and the palms of her hands as if she had been crucified. 'Here!', she said. She indicated her side, at breast level. A white line seemed to run through it, like a spear wound” (Serrano, 1982, pp. 72-73). The references to the sacrifice of Christ are obvious, indeed they seem quite blatant. “When I die,” the woman then says, “you will bear me within you; I will be you, live in you ... You have drunk my blood, and we are now two siblings. My character is already being transferred into your blood ... If god will, I shall love you even more when I am dead. ... I have to die that you may live” (Serrano, 1982, pp. 73-74). With this she fulfills the wise saying of Serrano’s master: “The decay of the one [the woman] is the purification of the other [the man]" (Serrano, 1982, p. 93). “The absolute woman”, he says at another point, “can sleep or she can die, which is the same thing” (Serrano, 1987, p. 289).

Written in a fantasy manner, the book NOS — Book of the Resurrection also depicts a tantric female sacrifice. The heroine of this “hermetic biography” is called Allouine, the main hero is admittedly Serrano. Additionally, various “tantric” masters crop up. Among them are, unmistakably, C.G. Jung, Hermann Hesse, and the American poet Ezra Pound. The contents of the book depict the voluntary self-sacrifice of Allouine, her interiorization as a maha mudra by the author (Serrano), and the latter’ achievement of immortality through the absorption of gynergy. “The woman dies. She is dead. She must die. ... She is the warrior’s [the yogi’s] companion, existing only in his mind, in his spirit” (Serrano, 1984, p. 11), Serrano instructs us once more. “She [the woman] becomes interiorized in you through her death, she inspires you”, one of his masters explains to him and in another passage continues: “The secret path of yoga along which you are traveling is only for the warrior, for the initiated hero. It is not the path for the woman; because a woman has no chakras, no kundalini to awaken. ... A woman is the Kundalini. A woman has no soul. She is the soul. A woman has no eternity. She is eternity” (Serrano, 1984, pp. 102, 147).

Serrano stages a tantric séance with Allouine, in which they both consume the five forbidden foods. Then he drinks “the liquor of orgasm ... the heavenly Soma, an spirit of secret wine ... which is now only to be found in the river of your blood” (Serrano, 1984, p. 112). We know that he is talking about the sukra, the mixture of male and female seed, of menstrual blood and sperm. This magic potion grants the Tantric immortality. In NOS too the author longs for the blood of his lover like a vampire and goes into raptures if he detects it on his lips. After he has washed the dying Allouine, he kisses her and drinks of her blood.

Yet Allouine patiently and will-lessly accepts her sacrifice: “My desire for you (i.e., for Serrano) is reaching its peak. The fire of sacrifice has already been lit in my vulva and beats there like a heart. ... My will no longer exists” (Serrano, 1984, p. 111). “The authentic, absolute woman sacrifices herself voluntarily,” we read in NOS, “immolating herself in order to give her eternity to her lover. ... The beloved is now the hidden beloved, she who has died and buried herself in your bones and your veins. The female Sophia, guru of the soul, she who courses through the blood, the female philosopher, Sophia, wisdom, the dove, gnosis” (Serrano, 1984, pp. 147-148). Dying, his “wisdom consort” says to him, “I shall but love thee better after death. I give you my eternity. … My beloved, you will be my coffin of perfumed, precious wood!” (Serrano, 1984, p. 140).

After he has internalized Allouine within himself, the Tantric Serrano can now overcome his EGO, he can now talk of NOS (WE), since his lover (maha mudra) will dwell in him for ever. Through this love, deadly for the woman, the man gains eternal life. In this context, Serrano plays upon the word AMOR, which does not just mean love, but also A-MOR, i.e., beyond death.

Eternally united with Allouine’s gynergy following her physical death, Serrano buries her corpse and places a stone at her grave into which he has chiseled a leftward hooked cross, the supreme symbol of “esoteric Hitlerism”.

Hitler as a tantric and as king of the world (Chakravartin):

From Serrano’s tantric world view it is only all too easy to assume that Hitler (as a tulku) also conducted sexual magic practices with a wisdom consort (mudra). Eva Braun, the lover of the dictator appears to have only partially performed this duty. Behind her, Serrano says, stood a greater one: “We must thus consider the relationship with Eva Braun to have been like that between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the Christian legend, like that of an alchemist to his mystic sister. ... The presence of the woman, her telepathic, self-communicating energy, the tensions this generates are indispensable for a tantric magician, for this kind of bearer of power. The mystic consort of Hitler was, however, not Eva Braun, but rather another” (Serrano, 1987, p. 25). He refers to her as the “Valkyrie” or as Lilith too. With the name Lilith he draws a connection to Adam. Like Hitler, the biblical first father of humanity (Adam) also possessed two women, an outer Eve and an inner Lilith. Did Hitler perhaps make an decisive tantric mistake, asks the author, in marrying Eva Braun (shortly before his suicide)? “... Since the secret Eve [Braun] of transient flesh and blood was accepted, she now [took] the place of the mystic consort” (Serrano, 1987, p. 25), and Hitler lost part of his magic powers (siddhis).

A according to Serrano the “Führer” of the Third Reich was a tantra master from Shambhala, the “high priest of the occident” (Serrano, 1987, p. 269) He came to earth to fulfill a mission — the control of the world by the Nordic ("hyperborean”) race. But in him Serrano does not just see the incarnation of a warlike archetype who lowered himself into a human frame in the nineteen-thirties and forties. In the dictator he directly recognized a tulku and god sent from Shambhala. Hitler “was a highly developed being, a Bodhisattva, a tulku ... the incarnation of a deity” (Serrano, n.d., p. 119).

Just as a tulku need not only appear in the form of a single person, but can rather produce many emanations of his self, so too the various fascist national “Führers” of the first half of our century were the emanations of the mightiest central tulku and Shambhala prince, Adolf Hitler: Benito Mussolini in Italy; Oliveira Salazar in Portugal; Leon Degrelle in Belgium; José Antonio Primo de Rivera in Spain; Plinio Salgado in Brazil; Doriot in France; Jorge González von Marée in Chile; and Subhash Chandra Bose in India. All the fascist energy of the world was concentrated in the German “Führer” (Hitler): “The tulku”, says Serrano, “ — in this case it is Hitler — radiates out from a center of higher power, which like an enormous sun absorbs everything and draws it into his fire and his fate. If HE falls, then all the others fall too, then HE is of course ALL [of them]" (Serrano, 1987, p. 270).

According to Serrano Hitler must also be seen as the earthly appearance of the Chakravartin: “For the initiates of the SS Hitler was that mysterious prophet or magician who … would restore the sense of royal dignity, where the king of the world is the emperor, the priest of priests and king of kings; it is the leader, who will establish a new golden age for a thousand years and more” (Serrano, 1987, p. 354). This is clearly intended for the future, since– according to Serrano — Hitler will soon return once more to fulfill his cosmic mission. One may think what one will of such prognoses, but it is in any case amazing what a large upturn fascist movements have achieved worldwide since the end of the eighties.

The SS as a tantric warrior order from Shambhala:

For Serrano the tantric initiation is the central rite of a “hyperborean” (Nordic) warrior caste. Shambhala counts as the supreme mystery site for the initiation of the “priest-warriors”. “In Shambhala”, the author says, “ the use of the force through which the mutation of the earth and the people can be carried out is taught, and the latter [the people] are introduced into the martial initiation, which makes this possible. ... Those who follow this initiatory stream have struggled to found a new/old order here on the present-day earth which has its roots in the transcendent origins, with the goal of reawakening the golden age, and they will fight on to the end...” (Serrano, 1987, p. 258). [11]

This order is the secret brotherhood of the Shambhala officers, who have for centuries been incarnated in our world — for instance as knights of the holy grail or as Rosicrucians or finally as the occult elite of the SS, Hitler’s notorious Schutz-Staffel. “Once a year”, we learn, “the inner circle of the SS people met with their supreme leaders for a few days of retreat, the solitude, and meditation. A kind of western yoga was practiced here, but nothing is known about it” (Serrano, 1987, pp. 171-172).

According to Serrano the SS were divided into two sections, an inner esoteric one and an outer one. The “exoteric SS” were selected to “be able to deal with the most difficult tasks and adventures in the external world”. “Nothing of the esoteric of the black order, its practices and teachings, its invisible connections and its occult doctrines was known” to them (Serrano, 1987, p. 264). The “inner circle” of the SS consisted of “sun people, supermen, god-men, the total human, the human magician” (Serrano, n.d., p. 96). The esoteric SS were siddhas (magicians) from the underground kingdom of Shambhala, or at least their messengers In German, SS are the initials of the “black sun” (“schwarze Sonne”), and Serrano did also call the members of the order “the men of the black sun”. We are reminded that the planet of darkness, Rahu, which darkens the sun and moon, is also referred to in the Kalachakra Tantra as the black sun.

The author is convinced, of course, that sexual magic rites were practiced in the SS (the “new aristocracy of the Aryan race”). Like Julius Evola before him, the Chilean makes constant references in his writings to how sexuality may be converted into high-quality aggressive military energy and political power through tantric practices: “Come and take me like a warrior!”, a lover (his karma mudra) says to him at one stage in his key novels, “I give you my heart for you to devour. Let us drink our blood”(Serrano, 1982, p. 54). In EL/ELLA the author recommends to heroes initiated into the tantras that “the warrior should give death the face of his lover; the fiery femininity of death will be thus evoked” (Serrano, 1982, p. 87). For Serrano, tantric practices and the cult life of a fascist/esoteric warrior caste are one.

Additionally, the sexual magic of the SS was connected with racial experiments. These aimed at a mutation of the human race, or better, a regaining of the formerly high-standing Aryan god-men who had in the dim and distant past tarnished themselves through “ordinary” sexual intercourse with human women and produced a lesser race. According to Serrano, such experiments were conducted in the Wewelsburg, the occult center of the SS. “Laboratories of leftward magic” for the re-creation of the original, pure Aryan race were to be found there (Serrano, n.d. pp. 488, 589).
But these were nothing more than the above-ground branches of corresponding establishments in subterranean Shambhala. “In Shambhala they attempted to produce a mutation of their kind which would allow them to return to that which they were before their interbreeding with the sons of man...” — when they still had a white, almost transparent body and blonde hair (Serrano, 1982, p. 54).

As Tantrics, the SS were “beyond good and evil” and for this reason their “terrible deeds” were justified by Serrano, plus that they took place at higher cosmic command (Serrano, 1987, p. 331). The “final solution to the question of the gypsies” (many gypsies perished in the concentration camps), for example, is said to have come directly “from Tibet to Hitler, certainly from Shambhala”. The gypsies used to live in Shambhala and had then been driven out of there. “The reasons for this”, says Serrano, “were known in the Tibet of the Dalai Lama” (Serrano, 1987, p. 366).

Just like the Knights Templar, the inner occult core of the SS were incarnations of the guardians of the holy grail, and “the grail of the siddhas [the magicians], of the solar and martial initiations” is to be found in Shambhala (Serrano, 1987, p. 264). The miracles which radiated from the grail were evident in the achievements of the black order in the course of the Second World War: “If one examines the achievements of the followers of Hitler in all areas of creation within a period of just six years, one cannot avoid admiring this miracle and making a comparison with the Templar order. And one comes to believe that the SS have likewise found the grail and even deciphered it” (Serrano, 1987, p. 278). Even the monumental architecture of the Third Reich is supposed to have been prepared on the building sites of Shambhala. The Hyperboreans (the gods of the north), we may read, “emigrated to two secret cities in the Himalayas, Agarthi and Shambhala. ... In Shambhala they practiced the magic of the giants which made the monumental buildings possible” (Serrano, 1982, p. 54).

In the Second World War the forces of light and the “sun race” (Hitler and the SS) stood opposed to the forces of darkness and the “moon race” (the Allies and the Jews). It was no ordinary war, but rather a global battle between the gods (the Nazis, the light Aryan race) and demons (the Jews, the dark Semitic race), between Odin, the highest god of the Germanic peoples, and Jehovah, the highest god of the Jews. The Nordic (hyperborean) heroes fought the “lord of darkness”, the “satanic demiurge”. At heart, Serrano says, the patriarchal and matriarchal powers were at war.

Admittedly Hitler outwardly lost the war, but through his sacrifice and his example he saved the ideals of the warrior caste from Shambhala. He shall return at the head of his “wild army” to finally liberate the white race from the lord of darkness (Jehovah). It will then come to a terrible final battle. “These are the dimensions of Hitler, the envoy of the hyperborean [Nordic] siddhas, the tulku, the Bodhisattva, the Chakravartin, the Führer of the Aryans, so that the demiurge Jehovah has to mobilize all his earthly and extraterrestrial legions” (Serrano, n.d., p. 50).

One may well dismiss Serrano’s visions as the product of an overactive imagination, but it cannot be denied that modern fascism has found a home and a predecessor in the Shambhala myth and in Tantrism. Its mythological conceptions and visions of power can without difficulty be brought into harmony with the practice and political ideology of the Kalachakra Tantra for all fundamental issues. The occult right wing’s move toward Tibetan Buddhism is thus in no way to be understood as the exploitation of the dharma for ignoble purposes, since there is a profound inner relatedness between these two ways of looking at the world.

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Serrano:

Naturally, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama would simply dismiss any link between the Shambhala myth and Kalachakra Tantra and the “esoteric Hitlerism” of Serrano, regardless of how closely matched even the conceptual principles of the two systems may be. Nonetheless, it is of great interest to our culturally critical study that the Kundun met with the racist Chilean several times (in at least 1959, 1984, and 1992). When His Holiness visited Chile in the year 1992, he was greeted at the airport by, among others, the leader of the National Socialist Party of Chile — Miguel Serrano by name. The principal ideologue of Esoteric Hitlerism told the reporters present that he and the hierarch from Tibet had been good “friends” since his time in India (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 302). Serrano was also a friend of the German living in India whom we have so often cited, Lama Govinda, in whose meditation tower with a view of the Himalayan mountains he was able to immerse himself.

The first encounter with the Kundun took place in 1959. In his own account, the founder of “esoteric Hitlerism” was the sole foreigner to greet the Dalai Lama as he crossed the Indian border after his flight from Tibet. “Shortly before the taking of Tibet by Mao’s troops”, he reports in his own words, “the Dalai Lama succeeded in fleeing to India. I journeyed into the Himalayas to wait for him there. I donned Tibetan clothes which the Maharaja of Sikkim had given me so as to attempt to get to Tibet from there. I made it to the Tibetan border, where — incidentally — I made the acquaintance of one of Roerich’s sons who also gave me a report of the hidden city lying in the mountains (Shambhala). The at that time still very young Dalai Lama later, when everything was over, gave me a small Tibetan dog, as a sign of his gratitude” (Palacio, 1990, p. 4).

It is at any rate interesting that the Kundun, who was introduced to western culture by a member of the SS (Heinrich Harrer), meets as the first (!) Westerner after his crossing of the Indian border the fascist Miguel Serrano, who sees a mythic command from the kingdom Shambhala at the esoteric core of the SS. Serrano says of himself: “I was employed as a tool and continue to be used” (Cedade, 1986). We may recall that upon crossing the border, the Dalai Lama gave vent to the cry of “Victory to the gods!”. The gods that Serrano represented and as whose tool he served were Wotan, Odin, and, in his own words, Adolf Hitler.

Miguel Serrano and the XIV. Dalai Lama in Santiago de Chile (1992)

As far as the “enchanting” Tibetan temple bitch of “honey yellow color” which was given him by the Kundun is concerned, this creature had a most special significance for the Chilean. The lamas, the author says, referred to the petite race as the “lion of the back door of the Temple”. Serrano’s “back door lion” was called Dolma, “the name of a Tibetan goddess; in truth the shakti” (Serrano, n.d., p. 189). Dolma is the Tibetan name for the goddess Tara. As abstruse as it may sound, after some time the Chilean recognized in the Dolma given him by the Kundun the reincarnation of a woman whom he once loved as a “mystic partner” and who (in accordance with the laws of the “tantric female sacrifice”) had had to die (Serrano, n.d., p. 189). As Dolma the bitch one day passed away in his arms — Serrano had flown from Spain to Vienna just to accompany her into eternity — he recalled an event of mythological dimensions from the 16th century. As if he were in a trance he suddenly felt that it was not the Tibetan Dolma but rather the dying sister of the last Aztec emperor Montezuma, Papán by name, whom he held in his arms. Papán — Serrano claimed — originally a high priestess from the north ("Hyperborea”), had in Mexico prophesied- according to legend — the return of the white gods to America. In her final hour, Dolma (the bitch) radiated out the energy of the Aztec princess who had to suffer a ritual sacrificial death.

Thanks to this vision Serrano could once more experience the fascination which habitually flooded through him at the embrace of dying women, even if one of them had this time been incarnated in a bitch. In NOS, a dying dog (the fate of Dolma probably lies behind this) spoke to him like a tantric lover with a human voice: “You don't need me outside anymore. I will howl inside you, like my brother the wolf” (Serrano, 1984, p. 21).

Such central “hermetic” experiences naturally tied the Chilean to the Kundun and his tantric world view profoundly and so it is also not surprising that Serrano linked “esoteric Hitlerism” and the fate of Germany to the Dalai Lama directly: His “skill”, the author says of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is “closely linked to that of Hitler’s Germany ... on account of yet undiscovered connections. A few years after Germany, Tibet also fell” (Serrano, 1987, p. 366).

The Chilean did not yet know about the SS past of Heinrich Harrer, the Kundun’s “best friend” and teacher, since this first became known in 1997 in connection with the film Seven Years in Tibet. But we can be certain that this fact would have been cited by him as further evidence to justify an occult connection between Shambhala and the SS, between the Dalai Lama and Adolf Hitler, particularly as the Chilean indicates at many points in his writings that the SS sent “secret missions” to Tibet in order to search for traces of the Aryan race there.

Serrano allows himself to be celebrated as the “Führer” of the National Socialist Party of Chile. His calendar commences with the year of Adolf Hitler’s birth in 1889. He describes “esoteric Hitlerism” as the “new religion of the young heroes and future warriors and priests, the true myth of the coming century” (Cedade, 1986). In 1989, on the 100th anniversary of Hitler’s birth (the year 100 for Serrano) a commemorative celebration was staged at which the Chilean and representatives of “esoteric Hitlerism” from various countries (Chile, Spain, Italy, Germany) spoke: “On the peak of a mountain in the Andes ranges which dominates Santiago,” the Chilean newspaper, La Epoca, writes, “and to the sounds of the Ride of the Valkyrie from Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), some 100 Chilean followers and foreigners commemorated Adolf Hitler in yesterday’s evening twilight and promised that in the new Hitlerist age the continuing triumph of his ideas would proceed from Chile. ... Hitler, Serrano opined, would be resurrected from in the Andes ('Andes' means 'perfected, total human) and he would do like the Caleuche [a mystic hero of Chile, whose name means 'the man who returns’) and introduce the age of Hitler” (Epoca, April 21, 1989). This event should not be underestimated on the basis of the small number of participants. For Serrano it had a ritual/symbolic significance and was reported in detail in the German neo-Nazi scene, for example.

In fascist circles worldwide, Serrano is a “hot tip” and his bizarre visions do in fact exercise a fascinating attraction on many young people. His nazi books are openly offered for sale in all South American countries. The German translation of Cordón Dorado Hitlerismo Esoterico is available as a hardback (Das goldene Band — esoterischer Hitlerismus). Highly sought after copies of the other works (about Hitlerism) in German translation and individual propaganda essays are in circulation and passed from hand to hand. “Serrano’s mystical neo-Nazism … [has] a distinct appeal to the younger generation”, writes the historian Goodrick Clark, “Here Nazism becomes a pop mythology, severed from the historic context of the Third Reich. The Gnostic Cathars, Rosicrucian mysteries, Hindu Avatars, and extraterrestrial gods add a sensational and occult appeal to powerful myths of elitism, planetary destiny, and the cosmic conspiracy of the Jews that culminate in a global racist ideology of white supremacism. … Books by Serrano … are now circulating among neo-pagans, Satanists, skinheads, and Nazi metal music fans in the United States, Scandinavia, and Western Europe” (Goodrick Clark, 1998, pp. 221-222). The Dalai Lama has never distanced himself from Serrano. Instead of decisively opposing fascism in any country, he recently called for the former Chilean State President and fascist, Augusto Pinochet, to be spared a trial.

In the following chapter, we shall introduce a further case where Tantric Buddhism, the Shambhala myth, and the Dalai Lama have acted as godfather to a modern, extremely radical and aggressive form of fascism. A case which shook the world community — we mean the story of the Japanese doomsday guru, Shoko Asahara.



[1] See Martin Brauen, Traumbild Tibet — Westlicher Trugbilder ["Ideal Tibet — Western Illusions“], Bern 2000.

[2] Clearly under the impression that the swastika would become the emblem of national socialism, a moral category was introduced in that one distinguished between the hooked crosses which are turned to the right and those to the left. The left is supposed to produce evil, the right good (Doucet, 197, p. 74). Without doubt this is based upon misinformation. In the Tibetan ritual system both forms of swastika are common.

[3] Sünner does not name the author, yet it can only have been Ernst Schäfer. This is apparent from the following quotation from Hans Jürgen Lange: “According to his unpublished memoirs that are still in Berlin in the possession of his widow, Ernst Schäfer is said to have witnessed how Wiligut fell into a trance with rolled-back eyes in the Caspar-Theiyß-Strasse. A trance which Schäfer compared with the transported state of the foot messengers in the Tibetan highlands which he had already seen in his previous research trips (in 1930-32 and 1934-36)” (Lange 1998, p. 68).

[4] Historical fascism’s contact with Japanese Zen Buddhism is the topic of Brian Victoria’s book, Zen at War. Victoria’s historical critique reveals that it was not just Shintoism that was characterized by a militaristic world view based on a strong and pervasive concept of the enemy but also Japanese Buddhism in the first half of the last century. With very few exceptions (which Victoria highlights) the Japanese Buddhists professed to the fascistoid system of their state. Even such an undisputed authority in the west as D.T. Suzuki can be counted among them. There was hardly a Buddhist “personality” (the Soto, Rinzai, Shin, Nichirin schools) which did not enthusiastically bring its religious conceptions into line with the dominant system. “Warrior Zen” — “The Unity of Zen and Sword” — “Buddhism of the Imperial Way” — “Imperial Zen” — “Soldier Zen” — “Samurai Zen”; these were the slogans of the time. After the war the martial stance of the Buddhist schools was only hesitantly reviewed. It also partly survived and finds its place in the ideology of Japanese “Corporate Zen”.

[5] The German-language Rascher publishing house in Zurich did not accept the title as such as it feared the book would not attract buyers by sounding too occult. They decided upon Meine Begegnungen mit C.G. Jung und Hermann Hesse in visionärer Schau [My encounters with C.G. Jung und Hermann Hesse from a visionary point of view].

[6] The labels of Agarthi and Shambhala also lead to some confusion in a best-seller novel in right wing circles with the title of The Black Sun of Tashi Lunpho (by Russel McCloud). Here too there is a national socialist secret society in close contact with the Tibetan lamas. Its members are, however, known as the followers of Agarthi, whilst their opponents rally around Shambhala. In the world of appearances, the followers of Shambhala are representatives of western big business and Freemasonry.

[7] Those concerned were most probably a scattered group of Kalmyks who had sided with the Germans in the struggle against the Soviet Union and had been driven back to the capital at the end of the war. But the myth that leading national socialist figures had maintained a connection to Lamaist sects (the “Berlin — Lhasa axis”) has survived to this day and is the topic of a voluminous occult Literature.

[8] According to Serrano “the Siddha or god-man [is] ... the self freed from the influence of the stars, the stellar influences no longer touch him, he is Chakravartin, king of the world” (Serrano, 1987, p. 289).

[9] Serrano was initiated into the Tantras of the Kaula, a Shivaite order. Yet the initiation scenarios from his books which we describe here are completely in keeping with Vajrayana. Serrano is not very fussy about distinguishing between the Hindu and Buddhist Tantra tradition. For him it is a matter of the principle behind the Tantric initiation and he finds this to the same extent among the Buddhists and the Hindus. Tantrism is for him an esoteric world cult which he discovers among the Egyptians, the Knights Templar, the Cathars, the Rosicrucians and the secret societies behind Hitler (the Thule society). At any rate, he sees in Shambhala and Agarthi the two mythic points of origin from which the Tantras come.

[10] Serrano often uses the labels Agarthi and Shambhala ass if they were synonymous. On p. 257 of his book The Golden Ribbon he writes: “Some are of the opinion that Shambhala is the capital of Agarthi.”

[11] Serrano regards Julius Evola and, oddly enough, Herrmann Hesse as well as the two teachers who first made him aware of the warlike spirit of Buddhism: “I am indebted to both that I got to know Buddhism as a way of the warrior. Evola explains that the religion of the Gautama is principally a warlike teaching which came from a prince who belonged to the Indian warrior caste, the Kshatriyas” (Palacio, 1990, p. 11).
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On March 20, 1995 there was a poison gas attack in Tokyo’s underground system that killed a number of people and injured around 5,500 further victims and shook the world public. It was a sect leader, Shoko Asahara, who gave the command. Asahara was born in 1955 as the son of a large Japanese family. As he could barely see, he had to attend a school for the blind. After finishing school he tried without success to gain admittance to Tokyo University. In the following years he became involved in Asian medicine and started to practice various yoga exercises. He married in 1978. This marriage produced six children. The first spiritual group, which he founded in 1984,was known as AUM Shinsen-no-kai, that is, “AUM — Group of the mountain ascetics”.

Shoko Asahara’s relationship to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama:

The „mystic” history of the AUM sect began in India in 1986. Shoko Asahara had wandered through the southern slopes of the Himalayas for weeks visiting Buddhist monasteries. This journey was supposed to mark the end of years of pilgrimage through the most varied esoteric landscapes: „I tried all kinds of practices such as Taoism, Yoga, Buddhism, incorporating their essence into my training. My goal was supreme spiritual realization and enlightenment. I continued the austere practices with Buddhist texts as my only resort. Finally, I reached my goal in the holy vibration of the Himalayas. I attained supreme realization and enlightenment. […] I also acquired supernatural powers” (Asahara, 1991, vol. 2, p. 13). Upon returning to Japan he changed the name of his yoga group and called it AUM Shinrikyo, which means roughly „AUM — Doctrine of the absolute truth”. From this point on, Asahara’s world view was shaped by the compassionate ethos of Mahayana Buddhism: „I could not bear the fact that only I was happy and the other people were still in the world of suffering. I began to think: I will save other people at the sacrifice of my own self. I have come to feel it is my mission. I am to walk the same path as Buddha Shakyamuni” (Asahara, 1991, vol. 2, p. 13).

But the Himalayas did not yet loose their hold over him. Almost a year later, in February 1987, Shoko Asahara stood before the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. He was received by the supreme Kalachakra master in person. He probably first met him in the year 1984, as His Holiness conducted a ceremony in Tokyo at the invitation of the Agon-shu sect. Asahara was at this stage still a member of this religious community.

The Japanese would later report the following of his meeting in Dharamsala: “Imagine my delight at being able to meditate with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, … And in His Holiness’s private meditation room! ‘I’ll sit here where I always sit; you sit there,’ he instructed me. ‘Let me give you a Buddha image.’ … After a few minutes of loud, deep breathing, all traces of the Dalai Lama vanished. He must have completely stopped his breath. At that moment, the astral vision of the golden face of Shakyamuni Buddha radiated from my ajuna chakra. The vision persisted steadily, without a flicker. ‘Ah, this is the Buddha image the Dalai Lama was talking about,’ I thought. I continued my meditation” (Bracket, 1996, p. 68). Smiling, the Dalai Lama then took his leave of him after an intensive exchange of ideas with the following words: “Dear friend, … Look at the Buddhism of Japan today. It has degenerated into ceremonialism and has lost the essential truth of the teachings. … If this situation continues, … Buddhism will vanish from Japan. Something needs to be done” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 13). Thereupon the god-king entrusted him with a spiritual mission: “You should spread real Buddhism there [in Japan]. … You can do that well, because you have the mind of a Buddha. If you do so, I shall be very pleased. It will help me with my mission” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 13). Asahara was indeed more than happy. Afterwards, His Holiness blessed him with water and posed for a photo with him. Eight years later this photo was to appear in all the newspapers of the world. From now on, the Japanese guru referred to himself as a pupil of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. The god-king’s final version of affairs is different. He never commissioned the Japanese to do anything at all, nor established any special relation with him, and definitely did not take him on as a sadhaka. For him Asahara was just one of the many hundreds of worshippers and visitors whom he met with in the course of a year. After the fact, His Holiness made a critical pronouncement with reference to the Japanese guru, which he obviously took to apply to others, but not himself: “I am suspicious of miracles and supernatural powers. Believers in Buddhism should not rely to much on a specific leader. This is unhealthy” (Tibetan Review, May 1995, p. 9).

The Dalai Lama and Shoko Asahara

But Asahara was not a complete nobody for the god-king. According to the German magazine, Stern, they had met five times since 1987 (Stern 36/95, p. 126). Amazingly, weeks after the first poison gas attack, His Holiness still called the guru a “friend, although not necessarily a perfect one” (Stern 36/95, p. 126). Then a document from 1989 came to light in which the Kundun thanked the AUM sect for donations and confirmed that they “encouraged public awareness through religious and social activities” (Focus 38/95, p. 114). On January 21, 1989 Asahara had sent the sum of $100,000 to Dharamsala for the assistance of Tibetan refugees. As a kind of service in return he received an official note from the Council for religious and cultural affairs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in which one can read: “To the best of our knowledge, AUM attempts to promote public well-being through various religious and social activities, for example through instruction in Buddhist doctrines and yoga” (Focus 38/95, p. 116–117).

On February 8, Asahara wrote back: “It is my fervent wish that Tibet will return to the hands of the Tibetans in the near future. I am willing to do whatever I can to be of help” (Shimatsu, I). The Japanese guru’s gratitude is only too easy to understand, then with the aforementioned note in his hand he succeeded in being recognized as a religious body by the Japanese administration and thus exempt from taxes.

Admittedly there was a certain cooling of relations between the two religious leaders before the poison gas attack, since Tibetans in exile from Japan had sharply criticized Asahara’s public appearances. Yet he simply ignored such criticisms. This is shown by his spectacular letter to the Kundun of February 24, 1995, which was sent about a month before the events in Tokyo. The letter leaves no room for doubt about how deeply the Japanese sect leader felt himself to be connected to the Tibetan religious sphere. In it Asahara not without pride announces that his son, Gyokko, is the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama who died in 1989: “May I report to His Holiness most humbly that I am convinced that Gyokko is a reincarnation of Panchen Rinpoche” (Shimatsu, I, HPI 008).

As evidence for this suspicion Asahara appeals to synchronicities and miraculous signs. Like the Panchen Lama, his son was also deaf in one ear. Yet the vision which appeared to the child’s mother was even more unambiguous: “A boy flying in spurts over a snowy mountain range with his legs crossed in a full Lotus posture. A low male voice said: 'Panchen Lama'. The voice continued, 'Tibetan Buddhism is finished. I have come to rebuild it ...'" (Shimatsu, I).

Asahara also met with other high Tibetan tantra masters — Khamtrul Rinpoche, for example, an important Nyingmapa teacher, and Kalu Rinpoche, the Kalachakra specialist of the Kagyupas whose multifarious activities we have already considered. There is supposed to have been a meeting between the Tibetan scholar, Khamtrul (who the Kundun had prophesied to be the future Rudra Chakrin), the Dalai Lama, and a member of the AUM sect (Hisako Ishii) at which the publication of esoteric teachings of Padmasambhava in Japanese was discussed. According to statements by Asahara, Khamtrul Rinpoche confirmed his “perfect, absolute, divine wisdom” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 18). On May 24, 1989, the Tibetan is supposed to have issued the Japanese guru with the following letter of recommendation:

“Teacher Asahara is my old friend, and I consider it an honor to be able to say the following in favor of him and of his religious activities:

1. I am filled with boundless admiration for Teacher Asahara’s innate Buddhist traits, like enthusiasm for his work, goodliness, generosity, and selflessness.

2. He is an experienced and qualified meditation; tantra; and yoga instructor.

3. On the condition that he receives fitting recognition, Teacher Asahara can become a truly well-known teacher of Buddhism, who is capable of re-establishing the true doctrine of the Dharma in Japan.

4. I also know that AUM Shinrikyo, Teacher Asahara’s religious organization, is a religious association that distinguishes itself through discipline and good organization and wide-ranging activities in order to suitably further social well-being.

5. Teacher Asahara’s sympathy and assistance in regard to the people and culture of Tibet is an example of generosity and concern for the poor.

6. It is painful for me to see that AUM, with no regard for its good intentions and activities, has up until now not found the recognition and support it is due from the Japanese government.

7. I emphatically recommend that AUM be accorded the justly deserved status of a tax-free organization, and that it likewise receive all necessary governmental and social privileges. Many thanks, Khamtul Giamjang Dontup Rinpoche.” (AUM Shinrikyo, HPI 013)

In Sri Lanka, the land of Therevada Buddhism, he was additionally praised as the “greatest religious person in Japan” and “the only one who can save the world” (also quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 18). The Prime Minister gave him a Shakyamuni relic, thus equipping him with an important symbol of authority. Then, in the foreword to one of his books it also says “The Buddha of our times is Shoko Asahara” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 18). And the guru preaches to his followers “You ought to become Buddhas yourselves. You should preach my teachings, or rather the cosmic truth, and should produce many Buddhas. Spread the AUM system of training on a global scale and scatter Buddhas around the whole world. If we accomplish this, all battles and conflicts shall come to an end” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 35).

In light of the in hindsight extremely embarrassing meetings of the Kundun and high Lamaist dignitaries with Shoko Asahara, His Holiness’s representative in Japan (Karma Gelek Yuthok) issued a interesting communiqué some weeks after the attack. Before the world press Karma Gelek Yuthok explained that “Whatever little relationship Asahara had with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan lamas fell purely under the religious domain in spirit and deed. I had nothing to do with the world-shocking criminal acts known and alleged to have been committed by the AUM cult. It is unthinkable that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is related with the criminal acts of AUM simply because of his casual spiritual relationship with Asahara” (Samdup).

We see this in a completely different light, however. It was precisely because of these spiritual encounters with the god-king and his “viceroys” and his intensive study of the Tibetan/tantric esoterica and apocalyptica that the inexorable madness developed in Asahara’s mind which made him become the doomsday guru of the western press.

The staged Shambhala war:

Let us begin, then, to present the “spiritual” evidence and incriminating material piece by piece: there is no doubt that Asahara believed himself to be the incarnation of a Shambhala warrior and was absolutely convinced that he was acting as a delegate of the mythic kingdom. “There will be a final battle between Rudra Chakrin, the king of Shambhala, and a foolish being called Vemacitta. The war at the end of this century is the last event seen by many prophets for the past several thousand years. When it happens, I want to fight bravely”, the guru had proclaimed via his radio station four (!) months before the Tokyo assassination (on December 4, 1994) (Archipelago, I, HPI 003). Rudra Chakrin (“the terrible wheel turner”), the militant doomsday king of Shambhala, is also an epithet of the Indian god, Shiva. The destroyer god and the Buddha blend into one figure for Asahara, just as they merge into one as the final Shambhala king, Rudra Chakrin, in the Kalachakra Tantra. As his followers were called upon “to have the purest faith in the guru, the Great Lord Shiva, or the Buddhas”, Asahara declared in December 1990 that “Here, the Buddhas and the Great Lord Shiva mean the guru [Asahara], who is their incarnation” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 18). Or, even more succinctly: “The first thing you should do is to understand the Great Lord Shiva, the Buddhas, and the guru as one, as the embodiment of truth and to take refuge in them. Refuge means to learn their teachings, to make sacrifices, and perform services for them (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 30). As early as in spring 1985, whilst meditating on the beach at Miura, south of Tokyo, he was visited by a vision of Shiva “the god of light who leads the armies of the gods” who “charged him with building an ideal society made up of those who had attained psychic powers, a society called the Kingdom of Shambhala. … Asahara’s seaside epiphany was the origin of his claim to be a messiah and his leadership role in Armageddon, or final war, which would destroy Japan” (Brackett, 1996, p. 66). A sect pamphlet suggests that Asahara himself came from Shambhala and had descended to earth in order to direct and save it: “This kingdom (Shambhala), ruled by the god Shiva, is a world where only those souls which have attained the complete truth of the universe can go. In Shambhala, the ascetic practices of messianic persons have made great advances in order to lead souls to gedatsu (emancipation) and save them. Master Asahara has been reborn from there into the human world so that he might take up his mission as a messiah. Therefore, the Master’s efforts to embody truth throughout the human world have been sanctioned by the great will of the god Shiva” (quoted by Brackett, 1996, 70).

In his own words, Asahara drew up a “Japan Shambhalization Plan . This was said to be “the first step to Shambhalizing the world. … If you take part,” he explained to his readers, “you will achieve great virtue and rise to a higher world” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 18). IN the pamphlet already quoted above, it says, “For that reason Aum Shinri Kyo’s plan to transform Japan into Shambhala was presented. This plan is without equal in its scope, as it wants to extend Aum’s sacred sphere throughout all of Japan, making Japan the base for the salvation of the whole world by fostering the development of multitudes of holy people. This plan cannot be realized without the help of our believers. Please come and join us!” (quoted by Brackett, 1996, p. 70). The two journalists, David E. Kaplan and Andrew Marshall, with somewhat too little fantasy and far too restrictively see this “Shambhala project” as a plan “to open AUM offices and training centers in every major Japanese city and establish a 'Lotus Village' or utopian community where AUM members would survive Armageddon” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 18). But whatever Asahara may have understood by this, Shambhala was for him the guiding star that led him into the abyss and that he deliberately followed. One of the songs the members of the sect had to listen to daily on headphones goes “Shambhala, Shambhala!”

The sect’s system of rituals is Tantric Buddhist:

Asahara became familiar with the teachings of Tantric Buddhism at a very early stage. In the early 1980s he joined a religious group by the name of Agon Shun (founded by Seiyu Kiriyma), which among other things employed sexual magic rites to attain rapid enlightenment. Asahara, despite having been a keen pupil, left the group and turned to the preferred teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. HE saw himself as an orthodox Buddhist who wanted to anchor afresh the “Four Noble Truths”, the “Bodhisattva vow”, and the system of monks and nuns in decadent Japan. After his contacts with the Tibetan lamas, however, this pure Mahayana orientation became increasingly complemented by tantric practices and viewpoints. In the spring of 1990 he introduced what he called the Tantra-Vajrayana System of Practice as a discipline of AUM Shinrikyo. Some time later a journal by the title of Vajrayana Sacca appeared.

Shoko Asahara in Front of a Tantric Deity

From this point on the gateway to the legitimation of any crime lay open. In accordance with the tantric “law of inversion” the low was from now on inverted into the high. „Bad deeds”, the young tantra master wrote, „instantly change into good deeds. This is a tantric way of thinking” (Asahara, 1991, vol. 1, p. 65). At another point it says, “If the guru possesses a crystal clear spirit, if a being can see through everything, then for him there are no lies; lies no longer mean anything to him. […] Good and evil also change according to their circumstances. Somebody who has lied so as to motivate another to follow the practice of truth, for instance. The fact that he has lied will certainly bring him bad karma, but the fact that he led somebody to the truth brings him merit. Hence, what one chooses to stress depends upon what one is aiming for. In the practice of Mahayana, this kind of exercise is not used. From a tantric point of view it is seen as good, then you will be of use to others because of your self-sacrifice” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 32).We also learn of Asahara’s commitment to the “crimes” of Tantric Buddhism from the charges laid against him by the state prosecutor: “The teachings of esoteric Buddhism from Tibet were really quite horrible”, he is supposed to have said, “If, for example, a guru ordered a pupil to kill a thief, the pupil did so, and treated the deed as a virtuous one. In my previous existence I myself killed somebody at the guru’s command” (Quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 33).

True to the tantric doctrine, Asahara explained the sexual magic symbolism of his system as follows: “For normal Japanese sensibilities it is a very obscene image. A man and a woman in sexual embrace. But the facts of the matter are quite different […] This consort can be Parvati [Shiva’s wife] or Dakini, and if one practices guru yoga the union is the holy union to create our astral bodies. It is the union of yin and yang” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 27). He regularly held public lectures about Kundalini Yoga, he even spoke about the “fire serpent” in the Moscow sport stadium — naturally without going into the sexual magic practices of his Tantra-Vajrayana System. As the highest guru, all the women of the organization were at his disposal both on the basis of divine benevolence and de facto, and he made frequent use of this right, but it did not prevent him from granting his wife (Tomoko Ishii) the highest spiritual rank in the sect aside from his own. Just as in Tibet’s monasteries, the tantric union with a karma mudra was for him exclusively the privilege of the highest initiates. In contrast, the main body of AUM members had to submit to a strict commandment of sexual abstinence. Anyone who was caught masturbating had to spend several days in solitary confinement.

This, however, was only the case — and here too we can see how strictly Asahara adhered to Vajrayana laws — if it came to ejaculation; other than that he recommended the exact opposite to his male pupils: “Masturbate daily, but do not ejaculate! … Continue this for ten days. Then start masturbating twice a day ... Find a picture of your favorite entertainment star, preferably nude. Use the photo to activate your imagination and start masturbating four times a day” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 159). The number of daily masturbations is increased further in the course of the initiatory path.

By the sixth week the time has come. A female partner is found and given a little alcohol to drink. Then the couple withdrew together and began first with “some petting” in which the adept stroked the nipples of his mudra and stimulated her clitoris. Afterwards he copulated with the girl according to a predetermined rhythm that was always derived from factors of the number nine: keeping still for 81 breaths, moving the phallus in and out nine times; keeping still for another 81 breath units, 27 times in and out, and so forth. It is not clear from the translation by Kaplan and Marshall whether here too the seed is retained. At any rate they had to “always let her come first” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 160).

The offering up of the wisdom consort to the guru necessary in the high tantras was likewise practiced by the AUM sect. A pupil who made his girlfriend available justified this offertory act as follows: “If she and the guru fuse together her mental level rises. … By sacrificing himself, he pours his energy into a woman. It’s better [for her] than fusing with me” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 161). Asahara also made use of this reason: “This is a Tantric initiation. Your energy will rise quickly and you’ll achieve enlightenment faster”, he is said to have told a reluctant female pupil whilst he tore the clothes from her body (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 158).

Asahara also worked with the tantric fluids of blood and sperm. He had his own blood drawn off and offered it, often for high prices, to the members of the sect as a cure-all. His hair was boiled and drunk as a kind of tea. Even his bathwater is supposed to have been sold as a holy substance. Such practices were also widespread in Tibet’s monasteries, for example the excrement of the great lamas was considered to be a medicine and sold well when manufactured into pills with other substances.

The science department of AUM, it was said one day, had discovered that the “DNA of the master” possessed magic characteristics and would grant anyone who drank it supernatural powers (siddhis). This was about Asahara’s sperm, a small flask of which went for the price of $7000 according to Kaplan and Marshall. Here too there is an allusion to the sperm gnosis of the Kalachakra Tantra, where the master gives the pupil to taste during the “secret initiation”.

Likewise the horror scenarios the members of the sect had to go through in order to practice fearlessness are also tantric. “Delinquents” who transgressed the rules of the order were locked up in small chambers and had to watch videos of one horror film after another. Via a loudspeaker they were inundated with constant death threats.

Already after his first trip to India Asahara believed himself to be in possession of “supernatural powers” (siddhi). He claimed he could make contact with the dead and read the thoughts of others. Like the “maha siddhas” he was said to be able to walk through walls. “In the future … I will be able to fly freely through the sky” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 7), he prophesied. He Later he developed the “Divine Ear” and was, on his own account, in a position “to hear the voices of the gods and humans” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 199).

Asahara’s gods:

The metaphysics and spiritual practices of the sect were primarily dominated by Tibetan Buddhist images and exercise. Basically, “AUM Supreme Truth”, we learn from Kaplan and Marshall, “became a familiar New Age blend of Eastern religion and mysticism. Its beliefs and rituals were drawn heavily from Tibetan Buddhism, its physical rigor from yoga” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 15). He himself referred to his rituals as “Tibetan Buddhism” (Tibetan Review, May 1995, p. 9).

Of course, this is rejected by Dharamsala with protestation, in that the blame for the Japanese’s practices is (as often happens) pinned on the Hindu competition: „The rituals he teaches his disciples include practice of yoga, levitation and other acts that are neither Tibetan nor Buddhism and are more akin to ritual of Indian sadhus (Hindu ascetics). The teacher as well as the disciples wear flowing white robes, something that no practitioner of Buddhism does” (Tibetan Review, May, 1995, p. 9). This too is not entirely correct — in certain scenes from the Kalachakra ritual white robes are worn, and all the priests of Shambhala are dressed in white.

Asahara regarded himself as an incarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni. Publicly he declared that he was “at the same level as Buddha” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 25). In Bihar in India he sat upon the sacred seat and announced to those present, “I am Buddha” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 67). “The Buddha in our times is Master Shoko Asahara”, was the praise of his pupils (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 67). Many of the members of the sect were given Buddhist names. His closest collaborator, the sect’s éminence grise, Kiyohide Hayakawa, was called “Tiropa” (i.e., Tilopa) after the great Kalachakra master. The guru recognized him as “a Bodhisattva in his past life” and declared that “without Master Tiropa’s efforts there would be no AUM Supreme Truth” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 75). It was Asahara’s proclaimed intention to Buddhize the planet. “Spread the training system of AUM on a global scale”, the guru preached, “and scatter Buddhas over the world” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 16).

We have discussed in detail the description of Tantric Buddhism as a solar cult. Asahara also made appearances like a sun priest and like the prophet of a coming empire of light: “After insubstantial religions with pseudo-light, there will be a religion which produces light as the sun does, and it will change the future” (Archipelago, I, NPI 003).

Although his system of rituals was decisively influenced by Tibetan mysticism, this was not universally true of the gods. Here, in accordance with the guru’s world concept, the deities of other religions were also invoked. Since these were, according to the laws of Tantrism, nothing more than the yogi’s projections the doctrine was able to easily overcome the cultural hurdles.

Behind Asahara’s decision to carry out his act of destruction lay the Indian god, Shiva, the lord of destruction. The latter appeared to him a number of times, the guru said, and confirmed his enlightenment in his own words. The members of the sect were from now on expressly required to replace their own wills with the will of Shiva. One epithet of this god who lays waste to the world so as to subsequently produce it anew in the violent cycle of death and rebirth, is Rudra. Translated from the Sanskrit it means the “terrible one “, the “wild one “, the “violent one”. As the Rudra of the apocalyptic fire (Kalagni Rudra) he destroys the universe and time itself (White, 1996, p. 232). “Once it has consumed the waters of the ocean,” it says in a tantric text, “it will become the Kalagni Rudra, the fire that consumes time” (White, 1996, p. 232). There can be no doubt that Asahara adopted Rudra’s will to destroy from Tantric Buddhism. This is probably also true of the name: Rudra Chakrin, the 24th Shambhala king who contests the final battle, undoubtedly combines the characteristics of Buddha and of the wrathful Shiva in his person. That is exactly what Asahara sought to do. Incidentally, the region around Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, is from a Hindu point of view dedicated to the god Shiva.

The Japanese guru does not stop at making loans from Christianity either. After his first reading of the Bible he already announced: “I hereby declare myself to be the Christ” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 67). Afterwards he wrote a book on this topic and in it drew attention to his similarities to Jesus of Nazareth: “Jesus changed water to wine, I changed ordinary water to the water that emits light” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 18). Here, Asahara is referring to a transformatory miracle he performed in the presence of his pupils. From his own lips we learn “I am the last messiah in this century” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 67).


“The guru’s most insistent megalomanic claim was to deity. In addition to declaring himself an avatar of Shiva, he professed to have achieved ‘the state of a Buddha who has attained mirror-like wisdom’ and to be the ‘divine emperor’ of Japan and the world; the declared Christ, who will ‘disclose the meaning of Jesus’ gospel’; the ‘last twentieth-century savior’; the ‘holiest holy man’, one ‘beyond the Bible’; and the being who will inaugurate the Age of Aquarius and preside over a ‘new era of supreme truth’. For disciples transfixed by guruism, he could indeed be all these things (Lifton, 2000, p. 167)


The fantasy worlds of certain comics also had an influence upon him. It is a fact that Asahara and members of the sect took the virtual reality of the comic strips for real. The same is true of science fiction novels. Isaac Asimov’s famous Foundation epic was declared to be a kind of holy book. In it we can read the following sentences: “The Empire will vanish and all its good with it. Its accumulated knowledge will decay and the order it has imposed will vanish” (quoted by Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 29). Additionally Asahara was convinced that extraterrestrials constantly visit our planet. He was, however, not on a friendly footing with them, as he believed among other things that they fed themselves with human flesh. From the world of “esoteric fascism” he had his reverence for Adolf Hitler, who was said to be still alive and be landing with an escort of UFOs in the near future.

The Japanese Chakravartin:

Within his group the “Buddha of our times” had an absolute power monopoly. He was lord over life and death in the truest sense of the word, the there were cases where members who resisted his will were tormented to death. In accordance with the absolutification of the teacher drawn from the tantras, he demanded that his pupils replace their own will with his own.

But for Asahara power was not just spiritual in nature. He combined practical political concepts with it very early on. When as a younger man he applied albeit unsuccessfully for admission to Tokyo University, he wanted to become the prime minister of Japan. Later he saw himself at the head of a Japanese Buddhocracy. He prophesied that he would soon ascend the imperial throne and created a shadow cabinet from among his people. Yet the guru was not even to be content with this role as a Tennos. Asahara intended to establish a “millennial kingdom” (!) which was to span the entire planet. He called his political model the “Supreme State”. Kaplan and Marshall comment that this description “leaves no doubt about who would inherit the world. And on top of the great empire, ruling serenely over the cosmos, sat Shoko Asahara, now deemed the Holy Monk Emperor” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 157). The claim to the world throne of the Chakravartin was thus a political program: “I intend to become a spiritual dictator … A dictator of the world”, the doomsday guru openly proclaimed (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 25).

The financial motivations which Kaplan and Marshall attribute to him were thus not his first priority. He considered them to be only means to an end. A Japanese expert on the sect has expressed this most clearly: “Asahara distinguished himself from the other cult leaders in that he did not spend large sums of money upon himself. ... His primary goal was to attain power” (Repp, 1996b, p. 195).

Murder, violence, and religion:

Only a few months before it came to an explosion of violence, Shoko Asahara attempted to gain power via legal means — he founded a party (the Truth Party) and stood for election. Even this short sequence in his religious political career demonstrates how deeply allied to Buddhism in general and Tibetan Buddhism in particular he felt himself to be. He formed a shadow cabinet from among the members of his sect and gave these the names of either pupils of the historical Buddha or of high Tibetan lamas. [1] The ostentatious election campaign ended in a disastrous defeat. It is said that not even all the members of the sect voted for him. Soon afterwards he turned to the tactics of terror.

Asahara’s aggression arose from its opposite. Everything began with his proclaimed self-sacrifice in the sense of Mahayana Buddhism. One of the mantras which the members of the sect had to repeat constantly went as follows: “I make a joy of my suffering; I make the suffering of others my own suffering” (Repp, 1996a, p. 45). Completely in the Buddhist tradition, the guru wanted “to rescue people from their suffering” and “to lead the world to enlightenment”.(Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, pp. 14-15). Thus, in this early phase the rejection of violence was one of his highest ethical principles: “Nonviolence”, Asahara said, “means to love every living creature”, and at another point he declaimed that “killing insects means accumulating the bad karma of killing” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 50).

But in accordance with the tantric “law of inversion”, and thanks to the fact that the Buddha can also appear in his terrible form as Heruka, this nonviolence soon became transformed into its exact opposite — cold-blooded terrorism. We spare ourselves the details of the sect’s numerous crimes. These include cases of imprisonment, extortion, bodily harm, child abuse, torture and all kinds of murder. The police charged Asahara’s followers with a total of 27 murders.

The murder of certain individuals was legitimated by a ritual which Asahara called phowa and which he had also imported from Tibetan cultural circles. This was understood to involve the deliberate leading of a soul to a higher spiritual level so that it could be freed from the harmful karma which clung to it in this current life. From a Tibetan point of view phowa practices can also include the murder of an individual. Asahara committed his followers to murder through an oath in the form of a prayer known as the “Vajrayana Vow” that required complete subjugation to the guru and the practice of phowa. It was recommended that the following prayer be recited “a thousand, a million, a billion times” (Brackett, 1996, p. 96).

I take refuge in the Tantra Vajrayana!
(repeated four times)
What is the first law?
To be mindful of the Buddha.
And in Tantra Vajrayana,
the Buddha and the Guru are identical.
I take refuge in the Guru!
(repeated four times)
What is the Guru?
The Guru is a life form born to phowa all souls.
Any method that leads to salvation is acceptable.
My life will come to an end sometime.
It makes no difference if the end comes in twenty years,
thirty years, or eighty years,
It will come regardless.
What’s important is how I give my life.
If I give it for salvation,
eliminating all the evil karma I have accumulated,
freeing myself from all karma, the Guru and Shiva
and all winners of truth
will without fail lead me to a higher realm.
So I practice the Vajrayana without fear.
The Armageddon taught in the Bible approaches,
The final battle is upon us.
I will be among the holy troops of this last great battle
And phowa the evil ones.
I will phowa one or two evil ones.
Phowa is the highest virtue
And phowa is the path to the highest level of being.

(Brackett, 1996, pp. 96-97)

In the end, the Tibetan phowa ritual became the guiding principle behind the acts of terrorism and also played a significant role in the prosecution’s case against Asahara. There, the following incriminating quotations from the guru were also tabled: “If your guru commands you to take somebody’s life it is an indication that this person’s time is already up. With other words you are killing this person at precisely the right time and making possible the phowa of this person. […] The end justifies the means. Take the example of a person who is burdened by so many sins that he is certain to go to hell. If an enlightened person decides that it would be best to put an end to his life and to really kill him, this act would generally be seen by society as a straightforward murder. But in the light of our teachings the killing comes to the same thing as making his phowa possible for this person. Every enlightened person would see at once that both the murderer and the murdered benefit from the deed” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 33).

The guru justified all of his orders to kill by appealing to the Tibetan practice of phowa, even in the case of the one-year-old son of the lawyer, Sakomoto, who took the sect on legally: “The child ended up not being raised by Sakomoto, who tried to repeat bad deeds”. It would be “born again in a higher world” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 42). According to Kaplan and Marshall, the guru is also supposed to have said that “it is good to eliminate people who continue to do bad things and are certain to go to hell” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 50). This was primarily directed at the immediate opponents of the sect, like the parents of members, lawyers and journalists.


“Within Aum, Asahara’s attack guruism was anchored in what was called the mahamudra. In Tibetan Buddhism, the term refers to a state in which a devotee achieves ‘the unity of emptiness and luminosity’ and, thereby, ‘the purification ... [of] the transitory contamination of confusion.’ The concept was sometimes conceived in this way in Aum, and a few of of Asahara’s closest disciples were described as achieving mahamudra. But given Aum’s atmosphere, attaining mahamudra came largely to mean the overcoming of all resistances to an absolute and unquestioned dedication to the guru himself” (Lifton, 2000, p. 63).

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The Japanese Armageddon:

Asahara made himself familiar with the “theologies of destruction” early on. A year after his visit to the Dalai Lama (in 1988) he began with his study of the Apocalypse of St. John. The Prophecies of Nostradamus followed soon after. This French prophet became a leading light for the sect. On the basis of inspirations whispered to him by the terror gods, the guru now developed his own apocalyptic prognostications.

At first they concerned rescue plans. The planet was supposed to be in danger and AUM had been chosen to secure world peace. But then the prognoses became increasingly gloomy. The planetary countdown was said to be in the offing: „In my opinion” Asahara said, „the realm of desire by the law of this universe, has already entered the process of going back to its original form to where it all started. In short, we are heading for Armageddon” (Asahara, 1996, vol. 2, p. 103). He actually used the Hebrew word “Armageddon”. But even now there was still talk of compassion and assistance and Asahara believed that “If AUM tries hard , we can reduce the victims of Armageddon to a fourth of the world’s population. … However, at present, my rescue plan is totally delayed. The rate of survivors is getting smaller and smaller” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 31). “And what will happen after Armageddon?”, he asked in one of his sermons, “After Armageddon the beings will be divided into two extreme types: the ones who will go to the Heaven of Light and Sound, and the ones who will go to Hell”(Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, pp. 48-49).

His apocalyptic visions are dated precisely: in one of his prophecies from 1987, the year of enlightenment, he says that “Japan will rearm herself in 1992. Between 1999 and 2003, a nuclear war is sure to break out. I, Asahara, have mentioned the outbreak of nuclear war for the first time. We have only fifteen years before it” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 16).


“Any imagined Armageddon is violent, but the violence tends to be distant and mythic, to be brought about by evil forces that leave God with no other choice but total cleansing of this world. With Aum’s Armageddon the violence was close at hand and palpable. Aum was always an actor in its own Armageddon drama, wheter as a target of world-destroying enemies or as a fighting force in a great battle soon to begin or already under way. As time went on, however, Aum increasingly saw itself as the initiator, the trigger of the final event” (Lifton, 2000, p. 59).


Somewhat later, in his book Day of Annihilation, there was no longer so much time left. According to this text, Japan would sink into the ocean already in 1996. The end of the world would begin in 1998/99. A pupil saw in a vision how a branch of AUM would move to Jerusalem in 1998 and that members of the sect would be imprisoned there and then tortured. In a triumphant campaign the fellow believers would be freed. Asahara, this prophecy predicted, would die the death of a martyr during the liberation and set off a final world war.

In order to introduce his “Shambhalization of the world”, it was only natural that Asahara would want to lead a great apocalyptic army, then that is integral to the script of the tantric myth. Hence, as he was meditating on the Japanese Pacific coast, one day a powerful voice told him, “I have chosen you to lead God’s army” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 12). From this point in time on the sect’s music also changed; in place of the old harmonic New Age music of the spheres, military marches now sounded over the loudspeakers. “The time has come … We have to fight ... Defeat means death for the guru”, Asahara’s closest intimate wrote in his notebook (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 154). The connection between the destruction of the world and emptiness invoked by the Kalachakra Tantra also had a decisive influence on Shoko Asahara, and even found expression in the title of one of his writings, From Destruction to Emptiness: A Sequel to the Day of Destruction.

Religion and chemical laboratories:

The final war could not be fought without effective weapons. Asahara recruited a small group of highly qualified scientists, all university graduates in the natural sciences: chemists, biochemists, electronic engineers. They were commissioned to establish large laboratories for the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons. According to Kaplan and Marshall colonies of all sorts of deadly bacteria were cultivated there, anthrax, influenza, and even the notorious Ebola virus. The young people dreamed of gigantic laser cannons. “When the power of this laser is increased,” Asahara says, “a perfectly white belt, or sword can be seen. This is the sword referred to in the Book of Revelations. This sword will destroy virtually all life” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 207). He was especially fascinated by a “microplasm” weapon with which all living things could be vaporized in seconds. “The weapons used in World War III” he wrote in 1993, “will make the atomic and hydrogen bombs look like toys. At present, the centerpiece of the Russian arsenal is called the star-reflector cannon. The United States has the Strategic Defense Initiative and the extension of this is 'microplasma’" (Archipelago, I, HPI 003).

In particular, Asahara’s ingenious scientist, Hideo Murai reveled at the idea of all kinds of apocalyptic weapons of destruction. He was a specialist in electromagnetic (EM) phenomena. For him too, and for his work, the tantric law of inversion would one day take effect. At first Murai began by constructing weapons to defend the cult against the military apparatus of the superpowers. For years his paranoid guru believed himself to be the target of electromagnetic and chemical attacks by the most varied worldly and religious secret services. It was only thanks to his elevated spirituality that he was still alive at all. As redeemer of the world he wanted to rescue humanity from an imminent war of destruction and hence he devoted his thoughts to what countermeasures could be developed. But then came the moment when defense turned into attack. Hideo Murai was commissioned by his guru to develop miraculous weapons that were no longer defensive, but would rather accelerate the end of the world.

The sect now focused on the physical theories and experiments of the famous Serbo-Croatian inventor, Nikola Tesla (1846-1943), who had undertaken extensive research into the enormous electromagnetic (EM) energy fields that are said to span the globe. Tesla believed that influence could be gained over these and that earthquakes could thus be triggered or the weather changed. He is supposed to have designed appropriate machines and conducted successful experiments. In the course of his investigations he reached the conclusion that it would be possible to split the world into two halves like an apple with an “EM experiment”. This tempting apocalyptic conception motivated the young scientists at AUM to write to the Tesla Society in New York and to visit the Tesla Museum in Belgrade so as to be able to examine his notes.

In March 1994 Hideo Murai went to Australia with several assistants and carried out electromagnetic (EM) experiments on a sheep station bought by the sect. He is supposed to have built an all round machine, which could both evoke earthquakes and act as a shield against nuclear warheads. This apparatus proved to be the ideal weapon of mass destruction for the “final war” (Archipelago, I). There are speculations that the Japanese earthquake in Kobe (in 1995) had an artificial origin and was staged by the technicians of the AUM sect. This may well sound just too fantastic, but on this occasion one of Asahara’s prophesies, which were otherwise very rarely fulfilled, came true. Nine days before the big earthquake which shook the Hanshin region, on January 8, 1995 the guru announced on a radio program that “Japan will be attacked by an earthquake in 1995. The most likely place is Kobe” (Archipelago, II, HPI 004). After the event AUM announced that the infrastructure of the province of Kobe with its skyscrapers and major bridges had been “the best place for simulating an earthquake-weapon attack against a big city such as Tokyo. Kobe was the appropriate guinea pig” (Archipelago, II, HPI 004).

But at the foot of the holy Mount Fuji conventional weapons were also being mass produced. Members of the sect there were producing Russian automatic rifles (the AK-47) in factories disguised as spiritual centers. Sources purchased a military helicopter in Russia that was then dismantled and shipped to Japan piece by piece.

But, as should be self-evident, the tantra master Asahara saw the explosive force of his own mind as the most dangerous weapon of all. “In Tantrayana vows,” we hear from the man himself, “ there is one that prohibits attainers from destroying villages and towns. This means that the power to destroy a town or village is obtained through Tantrayana and Vajrayana practice” (Archipelago, I, HPI 003). In accordance with the tantric logic of inversion that we have described in detail, the guru believed he was thoroughly justified in breaking this vow.

Fundamentally, Asahara’s factories corresponded conceptually to the alchemical laboratories of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, although they were incomparably more technical. In both cases scientists did not just experiment with chemical substances, rather they combined their findings with religious concepts and symbols. Let us recall how the couple, Nicholas and Helena Ivanovna Roerich, described the temple structures of Shambhala as “laboratories” and glorified the monastic priests of the wonderland as “adepts of a sacred alchemy”.

Asahara also gave his chemical factory holy names and called it the “Clear Stream Temple” or “Supreme Science” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 87). Several altars were to be found in the three-story building in which the poison gases were created. Shortly after entering one reached a mezzanine and came face to face with a golden figure of the destroyer god Rudra Shiva. To the left of this stood a small devotional shrine which according to Asahara housed some of the bones of the historical Buddha. He had brought them back with him from Sri Lanka to Japan. The room in which a wide variety of tinctures for the production of poisonous gases were stored was referred to as the “Room of Genesis”. Things were more matter of fact on the ground floor, there were tanks, extruders, reactors, ducting systems, circulating pumps. The main hall was called Satian 7, which meant “Truth 7". But it also had a nickname. The young scientists referred to it simply as “the magician”. In the last days before the fateful attack on the underground a gigantic statue of Buddha was erected there.

The Song of Sarin

Since it is not difficult to manufacture and the ingredients were easy for AUM to obtain, research and production were concentrated upon a highly effective nerve gas by the name of Sarin. This poison had been developed by the German national socialists in the Second World War. Asahara’s relation to the deadly substance proved to be very multi-layered. It followed a fiendish three-stage cycle. At first there was constant talk of how the sect itself was the victim of poison gas attacks. “Wherever I go,” the Guru announced, “I have been sprayed from helicopters or planes. The hour of my death has been foretold. The gas phenomenon has already happened. Next time it might be an atomic bomb” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 125). As a consequence of this paranoia it was decided to hit back with the same weapon. In the third phase the poison became independent and developed into a quasi-divine substance. It was given half-ironic names like “Magic, Witch, and Sally” (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 121) and sung about in the following hymn:

It came from Nazi Germany, a dangerous little chemical weapon,
Sarin! Sarin!
If you inhale the mysterious vapor, you will fall with bloody vomit
from your mouth,
Sarin! Sarin! Sarin — the chemical weapon.
Song of Sarin, the brave.
In the peaceful night of Matsumoto City
People can be killed, even with our own hands,
Everywhere there are dead bodies,
There! Inhale Sarin, Sarin,
Prepare Sarin! Prepare Sarin! Immediately poisonous gas weapons
will fill the place.
Spray! Spray! Sarin, the brave Sarin

(Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, pp. 212-213)

The original plan was to spray the poison gas over the parliament and government buildings with a helicopter so as to paralyze the Japanese apparatus of state. The attack on the underground system was therefore regarded as only a preparatory exercise.

Interestingly, 60 years before the events in Tokyo the Russian whom we have already portrayed in detail, Nicholas Roerich, had linked the Shambhala myth to poison gases. He was convinced that the wonderland was protected from invaders by a gaseous substance that he called “sur”. Here is his story, told to him on his travels through Central Asia in search of Shambhala by a Buddhist monk: “A lama, leader of a caravan, covers his mouth and nose with a scarf. He is asked why, since it is not cold. He reports: 'Caution is needed now. We are approaching the forbidden zone of Shambhala. We shall soon notice 'sur', the poisonous gas that protects the border of Shambhala. Konchok, our Tibetan, rides up to us and says in a subdued voice: 'Not far from here, as the Dalai Lama was traveling to Mongolia, all the people and animals in the caravan began to tremble and the Dalai Lama explained that they should not be alarmed since they had entered the forbidden zone of Shambhala and the vibrations of the air were strange to them” (Schule der Lebensweisheit, 1990, p. 73). A plume of toxic gas is also supposed to have streamed out of one of the famous Indian crematoria, the meeting place of many Maha Siddhas. It was assimilated by the submarine fire of the doomsday mare (Kalagni) also mentioned in the Kalachakra Tantra (White, 1996, p. 234).

Since Auschwitz , the terror of gas is also associated with the fate of the Jews and it is not surprising that Asahara as an admirer of Hitler integrated an aggressive anti-Semitism into his system. In a special issue of the AUM journal, Vajrayana Sacca, entitled “Manual of Fear”, war is declared on the Jewish people: “On behalf of the world’s 5.5 billion people, Vajrayana Sacca hereby declares war on the ‘world shadow government’ that murders untold numbers of people and, while hiding behind sonorous phrases and high-sounding principles, plans to brainwash and control the rest. Japanese awake! The hidden enemy’s plot has long since torn our lives to shreds” (Brackett, 1996, pp. .107-108).

The international contacts:

AUM Shinrikyo was not a purely Japanese phenomenon but rather an international one that spread explosively through several countries, principally Russia. The starving nation, hungry for any spiritual message after so many years of communist dictatorship, became a paradise on earth for the guru from the Far East. In 1992 he stood in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow with 300 of his followers, smiling and giving the victory salute. The pose had its effect. Within just a few months AUM was experiencing an unbroken rise in popularity across all of Russia. At its peak the number of members exceeded 30,000. Asahara enjoyed a surprisingly broad public recognition. He held a sermon on “Helping The World to Happiness with the Truth” before a packed crowd at the University of Moscow. He was introduced to the nascent capitalist power elite as “Japan’s representative Buddhist leader (Kaplan and Marshall, 1996, p. 70).

The guru even gained influence over leading Russian politicians. He maintained an especially warm relationship with the influential chairman of the Russian Security Council, Oleg Ivanovich Lobov, at this stage one of Boris Yeltsin’s close friends. Lobov is said to have done not a little to assist the spread of the sect. Asahara also knew how to cultivate contacts with well-known scientists. Things were similarly successful on the propaganda front: in 1992, the government station Radio Moscow broadcast his program “The Absolute Truth of Holy Heaven” twice a day.

Of course, Asahara was not tightfisted when it came to donations, a gesture which at that time in Russia opened all doors. But that doesn’t explain the large influx of enthusiasts who received nothing other than the pretty words of the “last messiah”. One gains the impression that here an heir of Agvan Dorjiev’s Shambhala vision- where the hidden kingdom was to be sought in Russia — was at work.

AUM Shinrikyo was the first religious sect from a highly industrialized country which with deliberate terror tactics turned on humanist society as such. It came from a religious milieu which espoused like no other the principle of nonviolence — that of Buddhism. Until then, people had known only occult groups like the 900 followers of Jim Jones in Jonestown, or the Sun Temple in Switzerland and Canada or the Branch Davidians from Waco, who had exterminated themselves but not uninvolved bystanders. Because of this new quality of religious violence, the events in Tokyo caused much dismay all around the world.

One might have thought that this would provoke global research into and discussion of the causes of and background to the Asahara phenomenon. If so one would have been forced to recognize the major influence Vajrayana had had upon the system of the doomsday guru. One would also have discovered the close connection between the Shambhala myth and the Kalachakra Tantra. Although such links are overt, since Asahara refers to them explicitly in his writings, both the Western and the Eastern public have chosen to act blind and passively await the next catastrophe. In the press of the world the event has already been forgotten repressed. In Japan too, nobody wants to look behind the scenes, although Asahara’s trial is currently in progress: “In general this contradiction between religion and violence is resolved here by simply saying that AUM is not a religion at all” writes Martin Repp, and continues, “One cannot make it so easy for oneself, then AUM Shinrikyo is in its own understanding and in its practice [a] religion and has an essentially Buddhist creed” (Repp, 1996b, p. 190).

The two different brothers:

In the light of our study one could rightly say that the AUM sect was a consistent and true to the letter pupil of the tantric teachings. The occult magic world view, kundalini yoga, sexual magic, the linkage of power and seed retention, the grasping for the Siddhis, the invocation of the gods, the hastening of the end of the universe, the glorification of destruction, the great fascination with fantastic machines of destruction, the military obsessions, the idea of redemption, hope for a paradise, the claim to world domination, the Shambhala myth — all of these leitmotifs that were so significant for Asahara are melodies from the repertoire of Tibetan Buddhism, in particular that of the Kalachakra Tantra. For Asahara, the tantric path to enlightenment began in the Himalayas and was supposed to also end there. In 1988 he wrote that “After the United States we will go to Europe. Finally we will establish a center in the Himalayas, the origin of Buddhism and yoga. At this point my mission will be at an end” (quoted by Repp, 1997, p. 27).

The story of Asahara demonstrates clearly that Vajrayana and the Shambhala myth contain an extremely demonic potential that can be activated at any moment. For the Asian side, especially for the Mongolians (as we have seen), the aggressive warrior ethos nascent in the idea of Shambhala has never been questioned and still continues to exist today in the wishful thinking of many. There is a definite danger — as we shall show in the next chapter — that it could develop into a pan-Asian vision of fascist-like character.

Things are different with Tibetan Buddhism in the West: there the lamas play only the pacifist card with much success. It is almost the highest trump with which His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama wins the hearts of the people. He is thus revered all over the planet as the “greatest prince of peace of our time”.

What is the Kundun’s position on Shoko Asahara now? The Dalai Lama needs the support of religious groups in Japan since the majority of Buddhist schools in the country are friendly to China and foster frequent changes with Chinese monasteries. It is said of the very influential Soka Gakkai sect that they are in constant contact with the Chinese leadership. The Agon Shun sect (to which Asahara originally belonged) which was formerly friendly to the Dalai Lama has also switched loyalties and is now oriented towards Beijing (Repp 1997, p. 95). Additionally, Asahara had transferred large sums of money to the Tibetans in exile — official sources put the total at US $1.7 million. All of these are factors in the political calculations which might help explain the contact between the Dalai Lama and the Japanese guru. If, however, we regard the meeting (with Asahara) from a tantric point of view, we are forced to conclude that at one of their meetings the Dalai Lama, as the supreme master of the Time Tantra, initiated the doomsday guru directly into the secrets of his “political mysticism” (the Shambhala myth). The reports of people who have because of his magical aura experienced an audience with the Kundun as a kind of initiation are by now legion. Indeed, how could it be otherwise in the light of an “omnipotent” and “omniscient deity” in the figure of a “simple Tibetan monk”. Hence, in interpreting the encounter between the two gurus in tantric terms, we have to assume it was an occult relation between a “god” (the Dalai Lama) and a “demon” (Asahara).

Now, in what does the relationship between these two unequal brothers consist? From a symbolic point of view the two share the duties laid out in the tantric world view: the one plays the compassionate Bodhisattva (the Dalai Lama), the other the wrathful Heruka (Asahara); the one the “mild” Avalokiteshvara who “looks down from above” (the Dalai Lama), the other the god of death and prince of hell, Yama (Asahara). The anthropologist and psychoanalyst, Robert A. Paul, has been able to demonstrate with convincing arguments how profoundly this two-facedness of the “good” and the “evil” Buddha has shaped Tibetan culture. The two Buddha beings (the light and the dark) are considered to be the counterposed forms of appearance of the one and the same divine substance which has both a light and a shadowy side. We may recall that Palgyi Dorje wore a white/black coat when he carried out the ritual murder of King Langdarma.

On this basis then, is Asahara the outwardly projected shadow of the Dalai Lama? His two most important predecessors also had such “shadow brothers” in whom cruelty and criminality were concentrated. Under the Fifth Dalai Lama it was the Mongol, Gushri Khan. This counterpart transformed Tibet into a “sea of boiling blood”. The thirteenth hierarch was accompanied by the bloodthirsty Kalmyk “Vengeful Lama”, Dambijantsan. Is it really only a coincidence that the Fourteenth Dalai Lama appeared on the world stage together with the Japanese doomsday guru, Shoko Asahara?



[1] The names of the other members of the shadow cabinet aside from Shoko Asahara were Maha Kheema, Maitreya, Maha Angulimala, Milarepa, Sakula, Kisa Gotami, Punna.mantaniputta Saitama 3rd, Machig Lapdrön, Manjushrimitra, Mahakasappa, Kankha-Revata, Marpa, Naropa, Uruvela-kasappa, Siha, Vangisha, Sukka, Jivaka, Ajita, Tissa, Dharmavajiri, Vajiratissa, Bhaddakapilani, Sanjaya (Bracket, 1996, p. 80).
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The Central Asian power which for centuries engaged the Tibetan Buddhocracy in the deepest rivalry was the Chinese Empire. Even if the focus of current discussions about historical relations between the two countries is centered on questions of territory, we must upon closer inspection regard this as the projected object of the actual dispute. Indeed, hidden behind the state-political facade lies a much more significant, metaphysically motivated power struggle. The magic/exotic world of Lamaism and the outflow of the major and vital rivers from the mountainous countries to the west led to the growth of an idea in the “Middle Kingdom” that events in Tibet had a decisive influence on the fate of their own country. The fates of the “Land of Snows” and China were seen by both sides as being closely interlinked. At the beginning of the twentieth century, leading Tibetans told the Englishman, Charles Bell, that Tibet was the “root of China” (Bell, 1994, p.114). As absurd as it may sound, the Chinese power elite never completely shook off this belief and they thus treated their Tibetan politics especially seriously.

In addition the rulers of the two nations, the “Son of Heaven” (the Chinese Emperor) and the “Ocean Priest” (the Dalai Lama), were claimants to the world throne and made the pretentious claim to represent the center of the cosmos, from where they wanted to govern the universe. As we have demonstrated in the vision guiding and fate of the Empress Wu Zetian, the Buddhist idea of a Chakravartin influenced the Chinese Empire from a very early stage (700 C.E.). During the Tang dynasty the rulers of China were worshipped as incarnations of the Bodhisattva Manjushri and as “wheel-turning kings” (Chakravartin).

Besides, it was completely irrelevant whether the current Chinese Emperor was of a more Taoist, Confucian, or Buddhist inclination, as the idea of a cosmocrat was common to all three systems. Even the Tibetans apportioned him this role at times, such as the Thirteenth Dalai Lama for example, who referred to the Manchu rulers as Chakravartins (Klieger, 1991, p. 32).

We school also not forget that several of the Chinese potentates allowed themselves to be initiated into the tantras and naturally laid claim to the visions of power articulated there. In 1279 Chögyel Phagpa, the grand abbot of the Sakyapa, initiated the Mongolian conqueror of China and founder of the Yuan dynasty, Kublai Khan, into the Hevajra Tantra. In 1746 the Qian Long ruler received a Lamaist tantric initiation as Chakravartin. Further it was an established tradition to recognize the Emperor of China as an emanation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri. This demonstrates that two Bodhisattvas could also fall into earnest political discord.

Tibetan culture owes just as much to Chinese as it does to that of India. A likeness of the great military leader and king, Songtsen Gampo (617–650), who forged the highlands into a single state of a previously unseen size is worshipped throughout all of Tibet . It shows him in full armor and flanked by his two chief wives. According to legend, the Chinese woman, Wen Cheng, and the Nepalese, Bhrikuti, were embodiments of the white and the green Tara. Both are supposed to have brought Buddhism to the “Land of Snows”. [1]

History confirms that the imperial princess, Wen Cheng, was accompanied by cultural goods from China that revolutionized the whole of Tibetan community life. The cultivation of cereals and fruits, irrigation, metallurgy, calendrics, a school system, weights and measures, manners and clothing — with great open-mindedness the king allowed these and similar blandishments of civilization to be imported from the “Middle Kingdom”. Young men from the Tibetan nobility were sent to study in China and India. Songtsen Gampo also made cultural loans from the other neighboring states of the highlands.

These Chinese acts of peace and cultural creativity were, however, preceded on the Tibetan side by a most aggressive and imperialist policy of conquest. The king was said to have commanded an army of 200,000 men. The art of war practiced by this incarnation of the “compassionate” Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara, was considered extremely barbaric and the “red faces”, as the Tibetans were called, spread fear and horror through all of Central Asia. The size to which Songtsen Gampo was able to expand his empire corresponds roughly to that of the territory currently claimed by the Tibetans in exile as their area of control.

Since that time the intensive exchange between the two countries has never dried up. Nearly all the regents of the Manchu dynasty (1644–1912) right up to the Empress Dowager Ci Xi felt bound to Lamaism on the basis of their Mongolian origins, although they publicly espoused ideas that were mostly Confucian. Their belief led them to have magnificent Lamaist temples built in Beijing. There have been a total of 28 significant Lama shrines built in the imperial city since the 18th century. Beyond the Great Wall, in the Manchurian — Mongolian border region, the imperial families erected their summer palace. They had an imposing Buddhist monastery built in the immediate vicinity and called it the “Potala” just like the seat of the Dalai Lama. In her biography, the imperial princess, The Ling, reports that tantric rituals were still being held in the Forbidden City at the start of the twentieth century (quoted by Klieger, 1991, p. 55). [2]

If a Dalai Lama journeyed to China then this was always conducted with great pomp. There was constant and debilitating squabbling about etiquette, the symbolic yardstick for the rank of the rulers meeting one another. Who first greeted whom, who was to sit where, with what title was one addressed — such questions were far more important than discussions about borders. They reflect the most subtle shadings of the relative positions within a complete cosmological scheme. As the “Great Fifth” entered Beijing in 1652, he was indeed received like a regnant prince, since the ruling Manchu Emperor, Shun Chi, was much drawn to the Buddhist doctrine. In farewelling the hierarch he showered him with valuable gifts and honored him as the “self-creating Buddha and head of the valuable doctrine and community, Vajradhara Dalai Lama” (Schulemann, 1958, p. 247), but in secret he played him off against the Panchen Lama.

The cosmological chess game went on for centuries without clarity ever being achieved, and hence for both countries the majority of state political questions remained unanswered. For example, Lhasa was obliged to send gifts to Beijing every year. This was naturally regarded by the Chinese as a kind of tribute which demonstrated the dependence of the Land of Snows. But since these gifts were reciprocated with counter-presents, the Tibetans saw the relationship as one between equal partners. The Chinese countered with the establishment of a kind of Chinese governorship in Tibet under two officials known as Ambane. Form a Chinese point of view they represented the worldly administration of the country. So that they could be played off against one another and avoid corruption, the Ambane were always dispatched to Tibet in pairs.

The Chinese also tried to gain influence over the Lamaist politics of incarnation. Among the Tibetan and Mongolian aristocracy it was increasingly the case that children from their own ranks were recognized as high incarnations. The intention behind this was to make important clerical posts de facto hereditary for the Tibetan noble clans. In order to hamper such familial expansions of power, the Chinese Emperor imposed an oracular procedure. In the case of the Dalai Lama three boys were to always be sought as potential successors and then the final decision would be made under Chinese supervision by the drawing of lots. The names and birth dates of the children were to be written on slips of paper, wrapped in dough and laid in a golden urn which the Emperor Kien Lung himself donated and had sent to Lhasa in 1793.

Mao Zedong: The Red Sun:

But did the power play between the two countries over the world throne end with the establishment of Chinese Communism in Tibet? Is the Tibetan-Chinese conflict of the last 50 years solely a confrontation between spiritualism and materialism, or were there “forces and powers” at work behind Chinese politics which wanted to establish Beijing as the center of the world at Lhasa’ expense? “Questions of legitimation have plagued all Chinese dynasties”, writes the Tibetologist Elliot Sperling with regard to current Chinese territorial claims over Tibet, „Questions of legitimation have plagued all Chinese dynasties”, writes the Tibetologist Elliot Sperling with regard to current Chinese territorial claims over Tibet, „Traditionally such questions revolved around the basic issue of whether a given dynasty or ruler possessed 'The Mandate of Heaven’. Among the signs that accompanied possession of The Mandate was the ability to unify the country and overcome all rival claimants for the territory and the throne of China. It would be a mistake not to view the present regime within this tradition” (Tibetan Review, August 1983, p. 18). But to put Sperling’s interesting thesis to the test, we need to first of all consider a man who shaped the politics of the Communist Party of China like no other and was worshipped by his followers like a god: Mao Zedong.

According to Tibetan reports, the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese was presaged from the beginning of the fifties by numerous “supernatural” signs: whilst meditating in the Ganden monastery the Fourteenth Dalai Lama saw the statue of the terror deity Yamantaka move its head and look to the east with a fierce expression. Various natural disasters, including a powerful earthquake and droughts befell the land. Humans and animals gave birth to monsters. A comet appeared in the skies. Stones became loose in various temples and fell to the ground. On September 9, 1951 the Chinese People’s Liberation Army marched into Lhasa.

The Panchen Lama, Mao Zedong, the Dalai Lama

Before he had to flee, the young Dalai Lama had a number of meetings with the “Great Chairman” and was very impressed by him. As he shook Mao Zedong by the hand for the first time, the Kundun in his own words felt he was “in the presence of a strong magnetic force” (Craig, 1997, p. 178). Mao too felt the need to make a metaphysical assessment of the god-king: “The Dalai Lama is a god, not a man”, he said and then qualified this by adding, “In any case he is seen that way by the majority of the Tibetan population” (Tibetan Review, January 1995, p. 10). Mao chatted with the god-king about religion and politics a number of times and is supposed to have expressed varying and contradictory opinions during these conversations. On one occasion, religion was for him “opium for the people” in the classic Marxist sense, on another he saw in the historical Buddha a precursor of the idea of communism and declared the goddess Tara to be a “good woman”.

The twenty-year-old hierarch from Tibet looked up to the fatherly revolutionary from China with admiration and even nurtured the wish to become a member of the Communist Party. He fell, as Mary Craig puts it, under the spell of the red Emperor (Craig, 1997, p. 178). “I have heard chairman Mao talk on different matters”, the Kundun enthused in 1955, “and I received instructions from him. I have come to the firm conclusion that the brilliant prospects for the Chinese people as a whole are also the prospects for us Tibetan people; the path of our entire country is our path and no other” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 142)

Mao Zedong, who at that time was pursuing a gradualist politics, saw in the young Kundun a powerful instrument through which to familiarize the feudal and religious elites of the Land of Snows with his multi-ethnic communist state. In a 17-point program he had conceded the “ national regional autonomy [of Tibet] under the leadership of the Central People's Government”, and assured that the “existing political system”, especially the “status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama”, would remain untouched (Goldstein, 1997, p. 47).

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution:

After the flight of the Dalai Lama, the 17-point program was worthless and the gradualist politics of Beijing at an end. But it was first under the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” (in the mid-sixties) that China’s attitude towards Tibet shifted fundamentally. Within a tantric conception of history the Chinese Cultural Revolution has to be understood as a period of chaos and anarchy. Mao Zedong himself had– like a skilled Vajra master — deliberately evoked a general disorder so as to establish a paradise on earth after the destruction of the old values: “A great chaos will lead to a new order”, he wrote at the beginning of the youth revolt (Zhisui, 1994, p. 491). All over the country, students, school pupils, and young workers took to the land to spread the ideas of Mao Zedong. The “Red Guard” of Lhasa also understood itself to be the agent of its “Great Chairman”, as it published the following statement in December 1966: “We a group of lawless revolutionary rebels will wield the iron sweepers and swing the mighty cudgels to sweep the old world into a mess and bash people into complete confusion. We fear no gales and storms, nor flying sands and moving rocks ... To rebel, to rebel, and to rebel through to the end in order to create a brightly red new world of this proletariat” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 183).

Although it was the smashing of the Lamaist religion which lay at the heart of the red attacks in Tibet, one must not forget that it was not just monks but also long-serving Chinese Party cadres in Lhasa and the Tibetan provinces who fell victim to the brutal subversion. Even if it was triggered by Mao Zedong, the Cultural Revolution was essentially a youth revolt and gave expression to a deep intergenerational conflict. National interests did not play a significant role in these events. Hence, many young Tibetans likewise participated in the rebellious demonstrations in Lhasa, something which for reasons that are easy to understand is hushed up these days by Dharamsala.

Whether Mao Zedong approved of the radicality with which the Red Guard set to work remains doubtful. To this day — as we have already reported — the Kundun believes that the Party Chairman was not fully informed about the vandalistic attacks in Tibet and that Jiang Qing, his spouse, was the evildoer. [3] Mao’s attitude can probably be best described by saying that in as far as the chaos served to consolidate his position he would have approved of it, and in as far as it weakened his position he would not. For Mao it was solely a matter of the accumulation of personal power, whereby it must be kept in mind, however, that he saw himself as being totally within the tradition of the Chinese Emperor as an energetic concentration of the country and its inhabitants. What strengthened him also strengthened the nation and the people. To this extent he thought in micro/macrocosmic terms.

The “deification” of Mao Zedong:

The people’s tribune was also not free of the temptations of his own “deification”: “The Mao cult”, writes his personal physician, Zhisui, “spread in schools, factories, and communes — the Party Chairman became a god” (Li Zhisui, 1994, p. 442). At heart, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution must be regarded as a religious movement, and the “Marxist” from Beijing reveled in his worship as a “higher being”.

Numerous reports of the “marvels of the thoughts of Mao Zedong”, the countless prayer-like letters from readers in the Chinese newspapers, and the little “red book” with the sacrosanct words of the great helmsman, known worldwide as the “ bible of Mao “, and much more make a religion of Maoism. Objects which factory workers gave to the “Great Chairman” were put on display on altars and revered like holy relics. After “men of the people” shook his hand, they didn’t wash theirs for weeks and coursed through the country seizing the hands of passers by under the impression that they could give them a little of Mao’s energy. In some Tibetan temples pictures of the Dalai Lama were even replaced with icons of the Chinese Communist leader.

In this, Mao was more like a red pontiff than a people’s rebel. His followers revered him as a god-man in the face of whom the individuality of every other mortal Chinese was extinguished. “The 'equality before god'", Wolfgang Bauer writes in reference to the Great Chairman Mao Zedong, “really did illuminate, and allowed those who felt themselves moved by it to become ‘brothers’, or monks [!] of some kind clothed in robes that were not just the most lowly but thus also identical and that caused all individual characteristics to vanish” (Bauer, 1989, p. 569).

The Tibetans, themselves the subjects of a god-king, had no problems with such images; for them the “communist” Mao Zedong was the “Chinese Emperor”, at least from the Cultural Revolution on. Later, they even transferred the imperial metaphors to the “capitalist” reformer Deng Xiaoping: “Neither the term 'emperor' nor 'paramount leader' nor ‘patriarch’ appear in the Chinese constitution but nevertheless that is the position Deng held ... he possessed political power for life, just like the emperors of old” (Tibetan Review, March 1997, p. 23).

Mao Zedong’s “Tantrism”:

The most astonishing factor, however, is that like the Dalai Lama Mao Zedong also performed “tantric” practices, albeit à la chinoise. As his personal physician, Li Zhisui reports, even at great age the Great Chairman maintained an insatiable sexual appetite. One concubine followed another. In this he imitated a privilege that on this scale was accorded only to the Chinese Emperors. Like these, he saw his affairs less as providing satisfaction of his lust and instead understood them to be sexual magic exercises. The Chinese “Tantric” [4] is primarily a specialist in the extension of the human lifespan. It is not uncommon for the old texts to recommend bringing younger girls together with older men as energetic “fresheners”. This method of rejuvenation is spread throughout all of Asia and was also known to the high lamas in Tibet. The Kalachakra Tantra recommends “the rejuvenation of a 70-year-old via a mudra [wisdom girl]" (Grünwedel, Kalacakra II, p. 115).

Mao also knew the secret of semen retention: “He became a follower of Taoist sexual practices,” his personal physician writes, “through which he sought to extend his life and which were able to serve him as a pretext for his pleasures. Thus he claimed, for instance, that he needed yin shui (the water of yin, i.e., vaginal secretions) to complement his own yang (his masculine substance, the source of his strength, power, and longevity) which was running low. Since it was so important for his health and strength to build up his yang he dared not squander it. For this reason he only rarely ejaculated during coitus and instead won strength and power from the secretions of his female partners. The more yin shui the Chairman absorbed, the more powerful his male substance became. Frequent sexual intercourse was necessary for this, and he best preferred to go to bed with several women at once. He also asked his female partners to introduce him to other women — ostensibly so as to strengthen his life force through shared orgies” (Li Zhisui, 1994, pp. 387-388). He gave new female recruits a handbook to read entitled Secrets of an Ordinary Girl, so that they could prepare themselves for a Taoist rendezvous with him. Like the pupils of a lama, young members of the “red court” were fascinated by the prospect of offering the Great Chairman their wives as concubines (Li Zhisui, 1994, pp. 388, 392).

The two chief symbols of his life can be regarded as emblems of his tantric androgyny: the feminine “water” and masculine “sun”. Wolfgang Bauer has drawn attention to the highly sacred significance which water and swimming have in Mao’s symbolic world. His demonstrations of swimming, in which he covered long stretches of the Yangtze, the “Yellow River”, were supposed to “express the dawning of a new, bold undertaking, through which a better world would arise: it was”, the author says, “a kind of cultic action” which he “... completed with an almost ritual necessity on the eve of the 'Cultural Revolution'" (Bauer, 1989, p. 566).

One of the most popular images of this period was of Mao as the “Great Helmsman” who unerringly steered the masses through the waves of the revolutionary ocean. With printruns in the billions (!), poems such as the following were distributed among the people:

Traveling upon the high seas we trust in the helmsman
As the ten thousand creatures in growing trust the sun.
If rain and dew moisten them, the sprouts become strong.
So we trust, when we push on with the revolution,
in the thoughts of Mao Zedong.
Fish cannot live away from water,
Melons do not grow outside their bed.
The revolutionary masses cannot stay apart
From the Communist Party.
The thoughts of Mao Zedong are their never-setting sun.

(quoted by Bauer, 1989, p. 567)

In this song we encounter the second symbol of power in the Mao cult alongside water: the “red sun” or the “great eastern sun”, a metaphor which — as we have already reported — later reemerges in connection with the Tibetan “Shambhala warrior”, Chögyam Trungpa. „Long life to Chairman Mao, our supreme commander and the most reddest red sun in our hearts”, sang the cultural revolutionaries (Avedon, 1985, p. 349). The “thoughts of Mao Zedong” were also “equated with a red sun that rose over a red age as it were, a veneration that found expression in countless likenesses of Mao’s features surrounded by red rays” (Bauer, 1989, p. 568). In this heliolatry, the Sinologist Wolfgang Bauer sees a religious influence that originated not in China but in the western Asian religions of light like Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism that entered the Middle Kingdom during the Tang period and had become connected with Buddhist ideas there (Bauer, 1989, p. 567). Indeed, the same origin is ascribed to the Kalachakra Tantra by several scholars.

Mao Zedong as the never setting sun

Mao Zedong’s theory of “blankness” also seems tantric. As early as 1958 he wrote that the China’s weight within the family of peoples rested on the fact that “first of all [it] is poor and secondly, blank. ... A blank sheet of paper has no stains, and thus the newest and words can be written on it, the newest and most beautiful images painted on it” (quoted by Bauer, 1989, pp. 555-556). Bauer sees explicit traces of the Buddhist ideal of “emptiness” in this: “The 'blank person', whose presence in Mao’s view is especially pronounced among the Chinese people, is not just the 'pure', but also at the same time also the 'new person’ in whom ... all the old organs in the body have been exchanged for new ones, and all the old convictions for new ones. Here the actual meaning of the spiritual transformation of the Chinese person, deliberately imbuing all facets of the personality, bordering on the mystic, encouraged with all the means of mass psychology, and which the West with horror classifies as 'brainwashing', becomes apparent” (Bauer, 1989, p. 556).

As if they wanted to exorcise their own repellant tantra practices through their projection onto their main opponent, the Tibetans in exile appeal to Chinese sources to link the Cultural Revolution with cannibalistic ritual practices. Individuals who were killed during the ideological struggles became the objects of cannibalism. At night and with great secrecy members of the Red Guard were said to have torn out the hearts and livers of the murdered and consumed them raw. There were supposed to have been occasions where people were struck down so that their brains could be sucked out using a metal tube (Tibetan Review, March 1997, p. 22). The anti-Chinese propaganda may arouse doubts about how much truth there is in such accounts, yet should they really have taken place they too would bring the revolutionary events close to a tantric pattern.

A spiritual rivalry between the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Mao Zedong?:

The hidden religious basis of the Chinese Cultural Revolution prevents us from describing the comprehensive opposition between Mao Zedong and the Dalai Lama as an antinomy between materialism and spirituality — an interpretation which the Tibetan lamas, the Chinese Communists, and the West have all given it, albeit all with differing evaluations. Rather, both systems (the Chinese and the Tibetan) stood — as the ruler of the Potala and the regent of the Forbidden City had for centuries — in mythic contest for the control of the world, both reached for the symbol of the “great eastern sun”. Mao too had attempted to impose his political ideology upon the whole of humanity. He applied the “theory of the taking of cities via the land” and via the farmers which he wrote and put into practice in the “Long March” as a revolutionary concept for the entire planet, in that he declared the non-industrialized countries of Asia, Africa, and South America to be “villages” that would revolt against the rich industrial nations as the “cities”.

But there can only be one world ruler! In 1976, the year in which the “red pontiff” (Mao Zedong) died, according to the writings of the Tibetans in exile things threatened to take a turn for the worse for the Tibetans. The state oracle had pronounced the gloomiest predictions. Thereupon His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama withdrew into retreat, the longest that he had ever made in India: “An extremely strict practice”, he later commented personally, “which requires complete seclusion over several weeks, linked to a very special teaching of the Fifth Dalai Lama” (Levenson, 1992, p. 242). The result of this “practice” was, as Claude B. Levenson reports, the following: firstly there was “a major earthquake in China with thousands of victims. Then Mao made his final bow upon the mortal stage. This prompted an Indian who was close to the Tibetans to state, 'That’s enough, stop your praying, otherwise the sky will fall on the heads of the Chinese'" (Levenson, 1992, p. 242). In fact, shortly before his death the “Great Chairman” was directly affected by this earthquake. As his personal physician (who was present) reports, the bed shook, the house swayed, and a nearby tin roof rattled fearsomely.

Whether or not this was a coincidence, if a secret ritual of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was conducted to “liberate” Mao Zedong, it can only have been a matter of the voodoo-like killing practices from the Golden Manuscript of the “Great Fifth”. Further, it is clear from the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s autobiography that on the day of Mao’s death he was busy with the Time Tantra. At that time [1976], the Kundun says. „I was in Ladakh, part of the remote Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir, where I was conducting a Kalachakra initiation. On the second the ceremony’s three days, Mao died. And the third day, it rained all morning. But, in the afternoon, there appeared one of the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen. I was certain that it must be a good omen” (Dalai Lama XIV, 1990, 222)

The post-Maoist era in Tibet:

The Chinese of the Deng era recognized the error of their politics during the Cultural Revolution and publicly criticized themselves because of events in Tibet. An attempt was made to correct the mistakes and various former restrictions were relaxed step by step. As early as 1977 the Kundun was offered the chance to return to Tibet. This was no subterfuge but rather an earnest attempt to appease. One could talk about everything, Deng Xiaoping said, with the exception of total independence for Tibet.

Thus, over the course of years, with occasional interruptions, informal contacts sprang up between the representatives of the Tibetans in exile and the Chinese Party cadres. But no agreement was reached.

The Communist Party of China guaranteed the freedom of religious practice, albeit with certain restrictions. For example, it was forbidden to practice “religious propaganda” outside of the monastery walls, or to recruit monks who were under 18 years old, so as to protect children from “religious indoctrination”. But by and large the Buddhist faith could be practiced unhampered, and it has bloomed like never before in the last 35 years.

In the meantime hundreds of thousands of western tourists have visited the “roof of the world”. Individuals and travel groups of exiled Tibetans have also been permitted to visit the Land of Snows privately or were even officially invited as “guests of state”. Among them has been Gyalo Thondup, the Dalai Lama’s brother and military advisor, who conspired against the Chinese Communists with the CIA for years and counted among the greatest enemies of Beijing. The Chinese were firmly convinced that the Kundun’s official delegations would not arouse much interest among the populace. The opposite was the case. Many thousands poured into Lhasa to see the brother of the Dalai Lama.

But apparently this “liberal” climate could not and still cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted after the invasion and during the Chinese occupation.

Up until 1998, the opposition to Beijing in Tibet was stronger than ever before since the flight of the Dalai Lama, as the bloody rebellion of October 1987 [5] and the since then unbroken wave of demonstrations and protests indicates. For this reason a state of emergency was in force in Lhasa and the neighboring region until 1990. The Tibet researcher Ronald Schwartz has published an interesting study in which he convincingly proves that the Tibetan resistance activities conform to ritualized patterns. Religion and politics, protest and ritual are blended here as well. Alongside its communicative function, every demonstration thus possesses a symbolic one, and is for the participants at heart a magic act which through constant repetition is supposed to achieve the expulsion of the Chinese and the development of a national awareness among the populace.

The central protest ceremony in the country consists in the circling of the Jokhang Temple by monks and laity who carry the Tibetan flag. This action is known as khorra and is linked to a tradition of circumambulation. Since time immemorial the believers have circled shrines in a clockwise direction with a prayer drum in the hand and the om mani padme hum formula on their lips, on the one hand to ensure a better rebirth, on the other to worship the deities dwelling there. However, these days the khorra is linked — and this is historically recent — with protest activity against the Chinese: Leaflets are distributed, placards carried, the Dalai Lama is cheered. At the same time monks offer up sacrificial cakes and invoke above all the terrible protective goddess, Palden Lhamo. As if they wanted to neutralize the magic of the protest ritual, the Chinese have begun wandering around the Jokhang in the opposite direction, i.e., counterclockwise.

Those monks who were wounded and killed by the Chinese security forces whilst performing the ritual in the eighties are considered the supreme national martyrs. Their sacrificial deaths demanded widespread imitation and in contrast to the Buddhist prohibition against violence could be legitimated without difficulty. To sacrifice your life does not contradict Buddhism, young monks from the Drepung monastery told western tourists (Schwartz, 1994, p. 71).

Without completely justifying his claims, Schwartz links the circling of the Jokhang with the vision of the Buddhist world kingship. He refers to the fact that Tibet’s first Buddhist ruler, Songtsen Gampo, built the national shrine and that his spirit is supposed to be conjured up by the constant circumambulation: „Tibetans in succeeding centuries assimilated Songtsen Gampo to the universal [!] Buddhist paradigm of the ideal king, the Chakravartin or wheel-turning king, who subdues demonic forces and establishes a polity committed to promoting Dharma or righteousness” (Schwartz, 1994, p. 33).

A link between the world ruler thus evoked and the “tantric female sacrifice” is provided by the myth that the living heart of Srinmo, the mother of Tibet, beats in a mysterious lake beneath the Jokhang where it was once nailed fast with a dagger by the king, Songtsen Gampo. In the light of the orientation of contemporary Buddhism, which remains firmly anchored in the andocentric tradition, the ritual circling of the temple can hardly be intended to free the earth goddess. In contrast, it can be assumed that the monk’s concern is to strengthen the bonds holding down the female deity, just as the earth spirits are nailed to the ground anew in every Kalachakra ritual.

After a pause of 25 years, the Tibetan New Year’s celebration (Monlam), banned by the Chinese in 1960, are since1986 once more held in front of the Jokhang. This religious occasion, which as we have shown above is symbolically linked with the killing of King Langdarma, has been seized upon by the monks as a chance to provoke the Chinese authorities. But here too, the political protest cannot be separated from the mythological intention. „Its final ceremony,” Schwartz writes of the current Mönlam festivals, „which centres on Maitreya, the Buddha of the next age, looks forward to the return of harmony to the world with the re-emergence of the pure doctrine in the mythological future. The demonic powers threatening society, and bringing strife and suffering, are identified with the moral degeneration of the present age. The recommitment of Tibet as a nation to the cause of Buddhism is thus a step toward the collective salvation of the world” (Schwartz, 1994, p. 88) The ritual circling of the Jokhang and the feast held before the “cathedral” thus do not just prepare for the liberation of Tibet from the Chinese yoke, but also the establishment of a worldwide Buddhocracy (the resurrection of the pure doctrine in a mythological future).

Considered neutrally, the current social situation in Tibet proves to be far more complex than the Tibetans in exile would wish. Unquestionably, the Chinese have introduced many and decisive improvements in comparison to the feudal state Buddhism of before 1959. But likewise there is no question that the Tibetan population have had to endure bans, suppression, seizures, and human rights violations in the last 35 years. But the majority of these injustices and restrictions also apply throughout the rest of China. The cultural and ethnic changes under the influence of the Chinese Han and the Islamic Hui pouring in to the country may well be specific. Yet here too, there are processes at work which can hardly be described (as the “Dalai Lama” constantly does) as “cultural genocide”, but rather as a result of the transformation from a feudal state via communism into a highly industrialized and multicultural country.

A pan-Asian vision of the Kalachakra Tantra?:

In this section we would like to discuss two possible political developments which have not as far as we know been considered before, because they appear absurd on the basis of the current international state of affairs. However, in speculating about future events in world history, one has to free oneself from the current position of the fronts. The twentieth century has produced unimaginable changes in the shortest of times, with the three most important political events being the collapse of colonialism, the rise and fall of fascism, and that of communism. How often have we had to experience that the bitterest of enemies today become tomorrow’s best friends and vice versa. It is therefore legitimate to consider the question of whether the current Dalai Lama or one of his future incarnations can with an appeal to the Shambhala myth set himself up as the head of a Central Asian major-power block with China as the leading nation. The other question we want to consider is this — could the Chinese themselves use the ideology of the Kalachakra Tantra to pursue an imperialist policy in the future?

The Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth had and still have a quite exceptional popularity in Central Asia. There, they hardly fulfill a need for world peace, but rather –especially in Mongolia –act as a symbol for dreams of becoming a major power. Thus the Shambhala prophecy undoubtedly possesses the explosive force to power an aggressive Asia’s imperialist ideology. This idea is widespread among the Kalmyks, the various Mongolian tribes, the Bhutanese, the Sikkimese, and the Ladhakis.

Even the Japanese made use of the Shambhala myth in the forties in order to establish a foothold in Mongolia. The power-hungry fascist elite of the island were generous in creating political-religious combinations. They had known how to fuse Buddhism and Shintoism together into an imposing imperialist ideology in their own country. Why should this not also happen with Lamaism? Hence Japanese agents strove to create contacts with the lamas of Central Asia and Tibet (Kimura, 1990). They even funded a search party for the incarnation of the Ninth Jebtsundampa Khutuktu, the “yellow pontiff of the Mongolians”, and sent it to Lhasa for this purpose (Tibetan Review, February 1991, p. 19). There were already close contacts to Japan under the Thirteenth Dalai Lama; he was advised in military questions, for example, was a Japanese by the name of Yasujiro Yajima (Tibetan Review, June 1982, pp. 8f.).

In line with the worldwide renaissance in all religions and their fundamentalist strains it can therefore not be excluded that Lamaism also regain a foothold in China and that after a return of the Dalai Lama the Kalachakra ideology become widespread there. It would then — as Edwin Bernbaum opines — just be seeds that had been sown before which would sprout. „Through the Mongolians, the Manchus, and the influence of the Panchen Lamas, the Kalachakra Tantra even had an impact on China: A major landmark of Peking, the Pai t’a, a white Tibetan-style stupa on a hill overlooking the Forbidden City, bears the emblem of the Kalachakra Teaching, The Ten of Power. Great Kalachakra Initiations were also given in Peking.” (Bernbaum, 1980, p. 286, f. 7) These were conducted in the thirties by the Panchen Lama.
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Taiwan: A springboard for Tibetan Buddhism and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama?:

Yet as a decisive indicator of the potential “conquest” of China by Tibetan Buddhism, its explosive spread in Taiwan must be mentioned. Tibetan lamas first began to missionize the island in 1949. But their work was soon extinguished and could only be resumed in 1980. From this point in time on, however, the tantric doctrine has enjoyed a triumphal progress. The Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa) estimates the number of the Kundun’s followers in Taiwan to be between 200 and 300 thousand and increasing, whilst the Tibetan Review of May 1997 even reports a figure of half a million. Over a hundred Tibetan Buddhist shrines have been built. Every month around 100 Lamaist monks from all countries visit Taiwan “to raise money for Tibetan temples around the world” there (Tibetan Review, May 1995, p. 11).

Increasingly, high lamas are also reincarnating themselves in Taiwanese, i.e., Chinese, families. To date, four of these have been “discovered” — an adult and three children — in the years 1987, 1990, 1991, and 1995. Lama Lobsang Jungney told a reporter that “Reincarnation can happen wherever there is the need for Buddhism. Taiwan is a blessed land. It could have 40 reincarnated lamas.” (Tibetan Review, May 1995, pp. 10-11).

In March 1997 a spectacular reception was prepared for the Dalai Lama in many locations around the country. The political climate had shifted fundamentally. The earlier skepticism and reservation with which the god-king was treated by officials in Taipei, since as nationalists they did not approve of a detachment of the Land of Snows from China, had given way to a warm-hearted atmosphere. His Holiness was praised in the press as the “most significant visionary of peace” of our time. The encounter with President Lee Teng-hui, at which the two “heads of government” discussed spiritual topics among other things, was celebrated in the media as a “meeting of the philosophy kings” (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 15). The Kundun has rarely been so applauded. “In fact,” the Tibetan Review writes, “the Taiwan visit was the most politically charged of all his overseas visits in recent memory” (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 12). In the southern harbor city of Kaohsiung the Kundun held a rousing speech in front of 50,000 followers in a sport stadium. The Tibetan national flag was flown at every location where he stopped. The Taiwanese government approved a large sum for the establishment of a Tibet office in Taipei. The office is referred to by the Tibetans in exile as a “de facto embassy”.

At around the same time, despite strong protest from Beijing, Tibetan monks brought an old tooth of the Buddha, which fleeing lamas had taken with them during the Cultural Revolution, to Taiwan. The mainland Chinese demanded the tooth back. In contrast a press report said, “Taiwanese politicians expressed the hope [that] the relic would bring peace to Taiwan, after several corruption scandals and air disasters had cost over 200 people their lives” (Schweizerisch Tibetische Freundschaft, April 14, 1998 - Internet).

The spectacular development of Lamaist Buddhism in Nationalist China (Taiwan) shows that the land could be used as an ideal springboard to establish itself in a China freed of the Communist Party. Ultimately, the Kundun says, the Chinese had collected negative karma through the occupation of Tibet and would have to bear the consequences of this (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 19). How could this karma be better worked off than through the Middle Kingdom as a whole joining the Lamaist faith.

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama and the Chinese:

The cultural relationships of the Kundun and of members of his family to the Chinese are more complex and multi-layered than they are perceived to be in the West. Let us recall that Chinese was spoken in the home of the god-king’s parents in Takster. In connection with the regent, Reting Rinpoche, the father of the Dalai Lama showed such a great sympathy towards Beijing that still today the Chinese celebrate him as one of their “patriots” (Craig, 1997, p. 232). Two of His Holiness’s brothers, Gyalo Thundup and Tendzin Choegyal, speak fluent Chinese. His impressive dealings with Beijing and his pragmatic politics have several times earned Gyalo Thundup the accusation by Tibetans in exile that he is a traitor who would sell Tibet to the Chinese (Craig, 1997, pp. 334ff.). Dharamsala has maintained personal contacts with many influential figures in Hong Kong and Taiwan since the sixties.

Since the nineties, the constant exchange with the Chinese has become increasingly central to the Kundun’s politics. In a speech made in front of Chinese students in Boston (USA) on September 9, 1995, His Holiness begins with a statement of how important the contact to China and its people is for him. The usual constitutional statements and the well-known demands for peace, human rights, religious freedom, pluralism, etc. then follow, as if a western parliamentarian were campaigning for his country’s democracy. Only at the end of his speech does the Kundun let the cat out of the bag and nonchalantly proposes Tibetan Buddhism as China’s new religion and thus, indirectly, himself as the Buddhist messiah: “Finally it is my strong believe and hope that however small a nation Tibet might be, we can still contribute to the peace and the prosperity of China. Decades of communist rule and the commercial activities in recent years both driven by extreme materialism, be it communist or capitalist, are destroying much of China's spiritual and moral values. A huge spiritual and moral vacuum is thus being rapidly created in the Chinese society. In this situation, the Tibetan Buddhist culture and philosophy would be able to serve millions of Chinese brothers and sisters in their search for moral and spiritual values. After all, traditionally Buddhism is not an alien philosophy to the Chinese people” (Tibetan Review, October 1995, p. 18). Advertising for the Kalachakra initiation organized for the year 1999 in Bloomington, Indiana was also available in Chinese. Since August 2000 one of the web sites run by the Tibetans in exile has been appearing in Chinese.

In recent months (up until 1998), “pro-Chinese” statements by the Kundun have been issued more and more frequently. In 1997 he explained that the materialistic Chinese could only profit from an adoption of spiritual Lamaism. Everywhere, indicators of a re-Buddhization of China were already to be seen. For example, a high-ranking member of the Chinese military had recently had himself blessed by the Mongolian great lama, Kusho Bakula Rinpoche, when the latter was in Beijing briefly. Another Chinese officer had participated in a Lamaist event seated in the lotus position, and a Tibetan woman had told him how Tibetan Buddhism was flourishing in various regions in China.

"So from these stories we can see”, the Dalai Lama continued, “that when the situation in China proper becomes more open, with more freedom, then definitely many Chinese will find useful inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist traditions” (Shambhala Sun, Archive, November 1996). In 1998, in an interview that His Holiness gave the German edition of Playboy, he quite materialistically says: “If we remain a part of China we will also profit materially from the enormous upturn of the country” (Playboy, German edition, March 1998, p. 44). The army of monks who are supposed to carry out this ambitious project of a “Lamaization of China” are currently being trained in Taiwan.

In 1997, the Kundun wrote to the Chinese Party Secretary, Jiang Zemin, that he would like to undertake a “non-political pilgrimage” to Wutaishan in Shanxi province (not in Tibet). The most sacred shrine of the Bodhisattva Manujri, who from a Lamaist point of view is incarnated in the person of the Chinese Emperor, is to be found in Wutaishan. Thus for the lamas the holy site harbors the la, the ruling energy of the Chinese Empire. In preparing for such a trip, the Kundun, who is a consistent thinker in such matters, will certainly have considered how best to magically acquire the la of the highly geomantically significant site of Wutaishan.

The god-king wants to meet Jiang Zemin at this sacred location to discuss Tibetan autonomy. But, as we have indicated, his primary motive may well be an esoteric one. A “Kalachakra ritual for world peace” is planned there. Traditionally, the Wutai mountains are seen as Lamaism’s gateway to China. In the magical world view of the Dalai Lama, the construction of a sand mandala in this location would be the first step in the spiritual conquest of the Chinese realm. Already in 1987, the well-known Tibetan lama, Khenpo Jikphun conducted a Kalachakra initiation in front of 6000 people. He is also supposed to have levitated there and floated through the air for a brief period (Goldstein, 1998, p. 85).

At the end of his critical book, Prisoners of Shangri-La, the Tibetologist and Buddhist Donald S. Lopez addresses the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s vision of “conquering” China specifically through the Kalachakra Tantra. Here he discusses the fact that participants in the ritual are reborn as Shambhala warriors. “The Dalai Lama”, Lopez says, “may have found a more efficient technique for populating Shambhala and recruiting troops for the army of the twenty-fifth king, an army that will defeat the enemies of Buddhism and bring the utopia of Shambhala, hidden for so long beyond the Himalayas, to the world. It is the Dalai Lama’s prayer, he says, that he will some day give the Kalachakra initiation in Beijing” (Lopez, 1998, p. 207).

The “Strasbourg Declaration” (of June 15, 1988), in which the Dalai Lama renounces a claim on state autonomy for Tibet if he is permitted to return to his country, creates the best conditions for a possible Lamaization of the greater Chinese territory. It is interesting in this context that with the renouncement of political autonomy, the Kundun at the same time articulated a territorial expansion for the cultural autonomy of Tibet. The border provinces of Kam and Amdo, which for centuries have possessed a mixed Chinese-Tibetan population, are now supposed to come under the cultural political control of the Kundun. Moderate circles in Beijing approve of the Dalai Lama’s return, as does the newly founded Democratic Party of China under Xu Wenli.

Also, in recent years the numerous contacts between exile Tibetan politicians and Beijing have not just been hostile, rather the contacts sometimes awake the impression that here an Asian power play is at work behind closed doors, one that is no longer easy for the West to understand. For example, His Holiness and the Chinese successfully cooperated in the search for and appointment of the reincarnation of the Karmapa, the leader of the Red Hats, although here a Kagyupa faction did propose another candidate and enthrone him in the West.

Since Clinton’s visit to China (in 1998) events in the secret diplomacy between the Tibetans in exile and the Chinese are becoming increasingly public. On Chinese television Clinton said to Jiang Zemin, “I have met the Dalai Lama. I think he is an upright man and believe that he and President Jiang would really get on if they spoke to one another” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, July 17, 1998). Thereupon, His Holiness publicly admitted that several “private channels” to Peking already existed which produce “fruitful contacts” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, July 17, 1998). However, since 1999 the wind has turned again. The “anti Dalai Lama campaigns” of the Chinese are now ceaseless. Owing to Chinese interventions the Kundun has had to endure several political setbacks throughout the entire Far East. During his visit to Japan in the Spring of 2000 he was no longer officially received. Even the Mayor of Tokyo (Shintaro Isihara), a friend of the religious dignitary, had to cancel his invitation. The great hope of being present at the inauguration of the new Taiwanese president, Chen Shui-Bian on May 20, 2000, was not to be, even though his participation was originally planned here too. Despite internal and international protest, South Korea refused the Dalai Lama an entry visa. The Xchinese even succeeded in excluding the Kundun from the Millennium Summit of World Religions held by the UN at the end of August 2000 in New York. The worldwide protests at this decision remained quite subdued.

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama and communism:

The Kundun’s constant attestations that Buddhism and Communism have common interests should also be seen as a further currying of favor with the Chinese. One can thus read numerous statements like the following from His Holiness: „The Lord Buddha wanted improvement in the spiritual realm, and Marx in the material; what alliance could be more fruitful?” (Hicks and Chogyam, 1990, p. 143); “I believe firmly there is common ground between communism and Buddhism” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 188); “Normally I describe myself as half Marxist, half monk” (Zeitmagazin 1988, no. 44, p. 24; retranslation). He is even known to have made a plea for a communist economic policy: “As far as the economy is concerned, the Marxist theory could possibly complement Buddhism...” (Levenson, 1992, p. 334). It is thus no wonder that at the god-king’s suggestion , the “Communist Party of Tibet” was founded. The Dalai Lama has become a left-wing revolutionary even by the standards of those western nostalgics who mourn the passing of communism.

Up until in the eighties the Dalai Lama’s concern was to create via such comments a good relationship with the Soviet Union, which had since the sixties become embroiled in a dangerous conflict with China. As we have seen, even the envoy of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Agvan Dorjiev, was a master at changing political fronts as he switched from the Tsar to Lenin without a problem following the Bolshevist seizure of power. Yet it is interesting that His Holiness has to continued to make such pro-Marxist statements after the collapse of most communist systems. Perhaps this is for ethical reasons, or because China at least ideologically continues to cling to its communist past?

These days through such statements the Kundun wants to keep open the possibility of a return to Tibet under Chinese control. In 1997 in Taiwan he explained that he was neither anti-Chinese nor anti-communist (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 14). He even criticized China because it had stepped back from its Marxist theory of economics and the gulf between rich and poor is thus becoming ever wider (Martin Scheidegger, speaking at the Gesellschaft Schweizerisch Tibetische Freundschaft [Society for Swiss-Tibetan Friendship], August 18, 1997).

Are the Chinese interested in the Shambhala myth?:

Do the Chinese have an interest in the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth? Let us repeat, since time immemorial China and Tibet have oriented themselves to a mythic conception of history which is not immediately comprehensible to Americans or Europeans. Almost nobody here wants to believe that this archaic way of thinking continued to exist, even increased, under “materialistic” communism. For a Westerner, China today still represents “the land of materialism” vis-à-vis Tibet as “the land of spirituality”. There are, however, rare exceptions who avoid this cliché, such as Hugh Richardson for example, who establishes the following in his history of Tibet: “The Chinese have ... a profound regard for history. But history, for them was not simply a scientific study. It had the features of a cult, akin to ancestor worship, with the ritual object of presenting the past, favorably emended and touched up, as a model for current political action. It had to conform also to the mystical view of China as the Centre of the World, the Universal Empire in which every other country had a natural urge to become a part … The Communists … were the first Chinese to have the power to convert their atavistic theories into fact” (quoted by Craig, 1997, p. 146).

If it was capable of surviving communism, this mythically based understanding of history will hardly disappear with it. In contrast, religious revivals are now running in parallel to the flourishing establishment of capitalist economic systems and the increasing mechanization of the country. Admittedly the Han Chinese are as a people very much oriented to material things, and Confucianism which has regained respectability in the last few years counts as a philosophy of reason not a religion. But history has demonstrated that visionary and ecstatic cults from outside were able to enter China with ease. The Chinese power elite have imported their religious-political ideas from other cultures several times in the past centuries. Hence the Middle Kingdom is historically prepared for such ideological/spiritual invasions, then up to and including Marxist communism it has been seen, the Sinologist Wolfgang Bauer writes, “that, as far as religion is concerned, China never went on the offensive, never missionized, but rather the reverse, was always only the target of such missionizations from outside” (Bauer, 1989, p. 570). Nevertheless such religious imports could never really monopolize the country, rather they all just had the one task, namely to reinforce the idea of China as the center of the world. This was also true for Marxist Maoism.

Let us also not forget that the Middle Kingdom followed the teachings of the Buddha for centuries. The earliest evidence of Buddhism can be traced back to the first century of our era. In the Tang dynasty many of the Emperors were Buddhists. Tibetan Lamaism held a great fascination especially in the final epoch, that of the Manchus. Thus for a self-confident Chinese power elite a Chinese reactivation of the Shambhala myth could without further ado deliver a traditionally anchored pan-Asian ideology to replace a fading communism. As under the Manchus, there is no need for such a vision to square with the ideas of the entire people.

The Panchen Lama:

Perhaps the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet is not even needed at all for the Time Tantra to be able to spread in China. Perhaps the Chinese are already setting up their own Kalachakra master, the Panchen Lama, who is traditionally considered friendly towards China. „Tibetans believe,” Edwin Bernbaum writes, „that the Panchen Lamas have a special connection with Shambhala, that makes them unique authorities on the kingdom.” (Bernbaum, 1980, p. 185). In addition there is the widespread prophecy that Rudra Chakrin, the doomsday general, will be an incarnation of the Panchen Lama.

As we have already reported, the common history of the Dalai Lama and the ruler from Tashi Lunpho (the Panchen Lama) exhibits numerous political and spiritual discordances, which among other things led to the two hierarchs becoming allied with different foreign powers in their running battle against one another. The Panchen Lamas have always proudly defended their independence from Lhasa. By and large they were more friendly with the Chinese than were the rulers in the Potala. In 1923 the inner-Tibetan conflict came to a head in the Ninth Panchen Lama’s flight to China. In his own words he was „unable to live under these troubles and suffering” inflicted on him by Lhasa (Mehra, 1976, p. 45). Both he and the Dalai Lama had obtained weapons and munitions in advance, and an armed clash between the two princes of the church had been in the air for years. This exhausted itself, however, in the unsuccessful pursuit of the fleeing hierarch from Tashilunpho by a body of three hundred men under orders from Lhasa. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama was so enraged that he denied the Buddhahood of the fleeing incarnation of Amitabha, because this was selfish, proud, and ignorant. It had, together „with his sinful companoins, who resembled mad elephants and followed wrong path,” made itself scarce (Mehra, 1976, p. 45).

In 1932 the Panchen Lama is supposed to have planned an invasion of Tibet with 10,000 Chinese soldiers to conquer the Land of Snows and set himself up as its ruler. Only after the death of the “Great Thirteenth” was a real reconciliation with Lhasa possible. In 1937 the weakened and disappointed prince of the church returned to Tibet but died within a year. His pro-China politics, however, still found expression in his will in which he prophesied that “Buddha Amitabha’s next incarnation will be found among the Chinese” (Hermanns, 1956, p. 323).

In the search for the new incarnation the Chinese nation put forward one candidate and the Tibetan government another. Both parties refused to recognize the other’s boy. However, under great political pressure the Chinese were finally able to prevail. The Tenth Panchen Lama was then brought up under their influence. He was thus with some justification described as a marionette of Beijing. After the Dalai Lama had fled in 1959, the Chinese appointed the hierarch from Tashilunpho as Tibet’s nominal head of state. However, he only exercised this office in a very limited manner and was persuaded to make declarations of solidarity with the Dalai Lama on several occasions. This earned him years of house arrest and a ban on public appearances. Even if the Tibetans in exile now promote such statements as patriotic confessions, by and large the Tenth Panchen Lama played either his own or Beijing’s part. In 1978 he broke the vow of celibacy imposed upon him by the Gelugpa order, marrying a Chinese woman and having a daughter with her.

Shortly before his death he actively participated in the capitalist economic policies of the Deng Xiaoping era and founded the Kangchen in Tibet in 1987. This was a powerful umbrella organization that controlled a number of companies and businesses, distributed international development funds for Tibet, and exported Tibetan products. The neocapitalist business elite collected in the Kangchen was for the most part recruited from old Tibetan noble families and were opposed to the politics of the Dalai Lama, whilst from the other side they enjoyed the supportive benevolence of Beijing.

As far as the Tibetan protest movement of recent years is concerned, the Tenth Panchen Lama tried to exert a conciliatory influence upon the revolting monks, but regretted that they would not listen to him. “We insist upon re-educating the majority of monks and nuns who become guilty of minor crimes [i.e., resistance against the Chinese authorities]" he announced publicly and went on, “But we will show no pity to those who have stirred up unrest” (MacInnes, 1993, p. 282).

In 1989 the tenth incarnation of the Amitabha died. The Chinese made the funeral celebrations into a grandiose event of state [!] that was broadcast nationally on radio and television. They invited the Fourteenth Dalai Lama to the burial which took place in Beijing, but did not want him to visit Tibet afterwards. For this reason the Kundun declined. At the same time the Tibetans in exile announced that the Panchen Lama had been poisoned.

The political power play entered a spectacular new round in the search for the eleventh incarnation. At first it seemed as if the two parties (the Chinese and the Tibetans in exile) would cooperate. But then there were two candidates: one proposed by the Kundun and one by Beijing. The latter was enthroned in Tashi Lunpho. A thoroughly power-conscious group of pro-Chinese lamas carried out the ceremonies, whilst the claimant designated by the Dalai Lama was sent home to his parents amid protests from the world public. At first, Dharamsala spoke of a murder, and then a kidnapping of the boy.

All of this may be considered an expression of the running battle between the Tibetans and the Chinese, yet even for the Tibetans in exile it is a surprise how much worth the Chinese laid on the magic procedure of the rebirth myth and why they elevated it to become an affair of state, especially since the upbringing of the Dalai Lama’s candidate would likewise have lain in their hands. They probably decided on this course out of primarily pragmatic political considerations, but the magic religious system possesses a dynamic of its own and can captivate those who use it unknowingly. A Lamaization of China with or without the Dalai Lama is certainly a historical possibility. In October 1995 for example, the young Karmapa was guest of honor at the national day celebrations in Beijing and had talks with important heads of the Chinese government. The national press reported in detail on the subsequent journey through China which was organized for the young hierarch by the state. He is said to have exclaimed, “Long live the People’s Republic of China!” (Tibetan Review, November 1994, p. 9).

What a perspective would be opened for the politics of the Kalachakra deities if they were able to anchor themselves in China with a combination of the Panchen and Dalai Lamas so as to deliver the foundations for a pan-Asian ideology! At last, father and son could be reunited, for those are the titles of the ruler from Tashilunpho (the father) and the hierarch from the Potala (the son) and how they also refer to one another. Then one would have taken on the task of bringing the Time Tantra to the West, the other of reawakening it in its country of origin in Central Asia. Amitabha and Avalokiteshvara, always quarreling in the form of their mortal incarnations, the Panchen and the Dalai Lama, would now complement one another — but this time it would not be a matter of Tibet, but China, and then the world.

The Communist Party of China:

The Communist Party of China’s official position on the social role of religion admittedly still shows a Marxist-Leninist influence. “Religious belief and religious sentiments, religious ceremonies and organizations that are compatible with the corresponding beliefs and emotions, are all products of the history of a society.

The beginnings of religious mentality reflect a low level of production... “, it says in a government statement of principle, and the text goes on to say that in pre-communist times religion was used as a means “to control and still the masses” (MacInnes, 1993, p. 43). Nevertheless, religious freedom has been guaranteed since the seventies, albeit with some restrictions. Across the whole country a spreading religious renaissance can be observed that, although still under state control, is in the process of building up hugely like an underground current, and will soon surface in full power.

All religious orientations are affected by this — Taoism, Chan Buddhism, Lamaism, Islam, and the various Christian churches. Officially , Confucianism is not considered a faith but rather a philosophy. Since the Deng era the attacks of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution upon religious representatives have been self-critically and publicly condemned. At the moment, more out of a bad conscience and touristic motives than from religious fervor, vast sums of money are being expended on the restoration of the shrines destroyed.

Everyone is awaiting the great leap forwards in a religious rebirth of the country at any moment. “China’s tussle with the Dalai Lama seems like a sideshow compared to the Taiwan crisis” writes the former editor of the Japan Times Weekly, Yoichi Clark Shimatsu, “But Beijing is waging a political contest for the hearts and minds of Asia's Buddhists that could prove far more significant than its battle over the future democracy in Taiwan” (Shimatsu, HPI 009).

It may be the result of purely power political considerations that the Chinese Communists employ Buddhist constructions to take the wind out of the sails of the general religious renaissance in the country via a strategy of attack, by declaring Mao Zedong to be a Bodhisattva for example (Tibetan Review, January 1994, p. 3). But there really are — as we were able to be convinced by a television documentary — residents of the eastern provinces of the extended territory who have set up likenesses of the Great Chairman on their altars beside those of Guanyin and Avalokiteshvara, to whom they pray for help in their need. A mythification of Mao and his transformation into a Bodhisattva figure should become all the easier the more time passes and the concrete historical events are forgotten.

There are, however, several factions facing off in the dawning struggle for Buddha’s control of China. For example, some of the influential Japanese Buddhist sects who trace their origins to parent monasteries in China see the Tibetan clergy as an arch-enemy. This too has its historical causes. In the 13th century and under the protection of the great Mongolian rulers (of the Yuan dynasty), the lamas had the temples of the Chinese Buddhist Lotus sect in southern China razed to the ground. In reaction the latter organized a guerilla army of farmers and were successful in shaking off foreign control, sending the Tibetans home, and establishing the Ming dynasty (1368). “This tradition of religious rebellion”, Yoichi Clark Shimatsu writes, “did not disappear under communism. Rather, it continued under an ideological guise. Mao Zedong's utopian vision that drove both the Cultural Revolution and the suppression of intellectuals in Tiananmen Square bears a striking resemblance with the populist Buddhist policies of Emperor Zhu Yuanthang, founder of the Ming Dynasty and himself a Lotus Sect Buddhist priest” (Shimatsu, HPI 009).

Many Japanese Buddhists see a new “worldly” utopia in a combination of Maoist populism, the continuation of Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms, and the familiar values of (non-Tibetan) Buddhism. At a meeting of the Soka Gokkai sect it was pointed out that the first name of the Chinese Premier Li Peng was “Roc”, the name of the mythic giant bird that protected the Buddha. Li Peng answered allegorically that in present-day China the Buddha “is the people and I consider myself the guardian of the people” (Shimatsu, HPI 009). Representatives of Soka Gokkai also interpreted the relationship between Shoko Asahara and the Dalai Lama as a jointly planned attack on the pro-Chinese politics of the sect.

Like the Tibetans in exile , the Chinese know that power lies in the hands of the elites. These will decide which direction future developments take. It is doubtful whether the issue of national sovereignty will play any role at all among the Tibetan clergy should they be permitted to advance into China with the toleration and support of the state. Since the murder of King Langdarma, Tibetan history teaches us, the interests of monastic priests and not those of the people are preeminent in political decisions. This was likewise true in reverse for the Chinese Emperor. The Chinese ruling elite will in the future also decide according to power-political criteria which religious path they will pursue: “Beijing clearly looks to a Buddhist revival to fill the spiritual void in the Asian heartland so long as it does not challenge the nominally secular authorities. Such a revival could provide the major impetus into the Pacific century. Like all utopias, it could also be fraught with disaster” (Shimatsu, HPI 009).

The West, which has not reflected upon the potential for violence in Tantric/Tibetan Buddhism or rather has not even recognized it, sees — blind as it is — a pacifist and salvational deed by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in the spread of Lamaism in China. The White House Tibet expert, Melvyn Goldstein, all but demands of the Kundun that he return to Tibet. In this he is probably voicing the unofficial opinion of the American government: “If he [the Dalai Lama] really wants to achieve something,” says Goldstein, “he has to stop attacking China on the international stage, he has to return and publicly accept the sovereignty over his home country” (Spiegel 16/1998, p. 118).

Everything indicates that this will soon happen, and indeed at first under conditions dictated by the Chinese. In his critique of the film Kundun, the journalist Tobias Kniebe writes that, “As little real power as this man [the Dalai Lama] may have at the moment — as a symbol he is unassailable and inextinguishable. The history of nonviolent resistance is one of the greatest, there is, and in it Kundun [the film] is a kind of prelude. The actual film, which we are waiting for, may soon begin: if an apparently impregnable, billion-strong market is infiltrated by the power of a symbol [the Dalai Lama] whose evidence it is unable to resist for long. If this film is ever made, it will not be shown in the cinemas, but rather on CNN” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 17, 1998). Kniebe and many others thus await a Lamaization of the whole Chinese territory.

A wild speculation? David Germano, Professor of Tibetan Studies in Virginia, ascertained on his travels in Tibet that “The Chinese fascination with Tibetan Buddhism is particularly important, and I have personally witnessed extremes of personal devotion and financial support by Han Chinese to both monastic and lay Tibetan religious figures [i.e., lamas] within the People's Republic of China” (Goldstein, 1998, p. 86).

Such a perspective is expressed most clearly in a posting to an Internet discussion forum from April 8, 1998: “"Easy, HHDL [His Holiness the Dalai Lama]", it says, “can turn the people of Taiwan and China [into] becoming conformists of Tibetan Buddhism. Soon or later, there will be the Confederate Republics of Greater Asia. Republic of Taiwan, People's Republic of China, Republic of Tibet, Mongolia Democratic Republic, Eastern Turkestan Republic, Inner Mongolian Republic, Nippon, Korea ... all will be parts of the CROGA. Dalai Lama will be the head of the CROGA” (Brigitte, Newsgroup 10).

But whether the Kundun returns home to the roof of the world or not, his aggressive Kalachakra ideology is not a topic for analysis and criticism in the West, where religion and politics are cleanly and neatly separated from one another. The despotic idea of a world ruler, the coming Armageddon, the world war between Buddhism and Islam, the establishment of a monastic dictatorship, the hegemony of the Tibetan gods over the planets, the development of a pan-Asian, Lamaist major-power politics — all visions which are laid out in the Kundun’s system and magically consolidated through every Kalachakra initiation — are simply not perceived by politicians from Europe and America. They let the wool be pulled over their eyes by the god-king’s professions of democracy and peace. How and by what means His Holiness seeks to culturally conquer the West is what we want to examine in the next chapter.



[1] This is probably an invented historia sacra, as contemporary documents found in the library of Tunhuang do not say a word about the teaching of the Buddha being the state religion of the time. In the sources, the latter first emerges 150 years later under Trisong Detsen. It is also clear that Songtsen Gampo did not just marry two women, but rather five, from various neighboring states in order to bind these to himself and his dynasty.

[2] This sympathy of the Manchus for the Lamaist teachings was the sole reason why the Buddhist and yet very militant Mongolians remained peaceful for so long and bowed to the Chinese dominance. Shortly before its declaration of independence (in 1911), nobles and high lamas from the country sent a petition to the Russian Tsar, in which among other things it said: “Earlier, we respectfully subjected ourselves to the Manchu Khan because they fostered the Buddhist religion and spread the blessings” (Onon, 1989, p. 10).

[3] It has been adequately proven that the human rights violations exercised out by the Chinese forces of occupation between 1953 and the present day were significant. Monks were beaten, tortured, taken away, and executed, Nuns and girls were violated. During the rebellions villages were bombed and mass executions were carried out. The many and varied methods of torture included skinning alive. The scenes were terrible and are documented in numerous places (see for example, Joseph Campbell, 1973, pp. 509ff.). It is thus not in any way our intention to gloss over or hush up the attacks by the Chinese soldiery. All forms of killing and torture, but especially when it is inflicted on the helpless, must be condemned as strongly as possible. However, the bad politics of the Chinese Communists does not nullify their criticism of repressive social behavior in feudalistic Tibet. But it has led to a situation in which the Tibetans in exile can now offer a distorted history that in no way corresponds to historical reality prior to 1950.

[4] Strictly speaking, we are dealing with Taoist practices here. Nevertheless there are numerous similarities between the two systems, especially with regard to the male practices.

[5] The demonstrators burnt down a police station and a number of automobiles and shops. Between 6 and 20 Tibetans were killed when the police fired into the crowd. Some of the policemen on duty were also Tibetan.
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In the view of the Tibetan lamas, the spread of Buddhism in the West is predicted by an ancient prophecy. The historical Buddha is said to have made the following prognosis: “Two thousand and five hundred years after my passing the Dharma will spread to the land of the red-faced people” (Mullin, 1991, p. 145). This they take to be a reference to the USA and the continent’s native inhabitants, the North American Indians. There is an astonishingly similar prophecy by the founder of Tibetan culture, Padmasambhava: “When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels … the Dharma will come to the land of the Red Man” (Bernbaum, 1982, p. 33). Western cultural figures like the director Martin Scorsese cite a famous pronouncement of the Tibetan state oracle prior to the flight of the Kundun in the 1950s: “The jewel that grants wishes shines in the West” says the prophecy (Focus, 46/1997, p. 168) “The jewel that grants wishes” is an epithet for the Dalai Lama.

In the 1960s and 70s the spread of Tantric Buddhism in the West still proved difficult, especially with regard to its social acceptance. The Buddhist groups shared more or less the same fate as all the other “exotic” sects. No distinction was drawn in public between Hare Krishna, Bhagwan followers or Gelugpa monks. Yet thanks to the mobility, political skill, sophisticated manner and charismatic aura of the Dalai Lama, Lamaism’s isolation has in the meantime become transformed into its opposite and in recent years it has become a triumphal parade. Whilst for the other Eastern sects the number of new members has been stagnating or even declining since the 90s, Tibetan Buddhism has been growing “like an ocean wave” the news magazine Spiegel reports, continuing, “In the wake of sects and esoterica, Germans have [found] a new haven from the crisis of senselessness: Buddhism. In the [German] Federal Republic 300,000 people are sympathetic towards the far Eastern religion which discriminates against women, requires celibacy of its monks and nuns, and whose western teachers preach banalities as truths.” (Spiegel, 6/1994) Four years later the same magazine reports, this time in a leading article which over many pages reads like a hymn of praise for the Kundun, that half a million Germans now follow the Buddhist path already. The Spiegel says that, “Advertising copywriters and heads of business, university professors and housewives profess their faith in the far Eastern religion — a rapidly increasing tendency. ... Even in the new federal states, in Menz in Brandenburg for instance, prayer flags now flutter, freshly converted mumble mantras [and] work on gilded Buddha figures” (Spiegel, 16/1998, p. 109). The number of Tibetan centers in the Federal Republic increased from 81 to 141 within just six years (1998).

The German press has — probably unknowingly — become an instrument of propaganda for Tibetan Buddhism. The following short (!) collection of quotations is offered as a demonstration: “Tibet is booming in the West. Buddhism is the religion à la mode.” (Spiegel, 13.4.1998); “In Germany too, Buddhism is becoming more and more of a topic” (Gala, 21.3.1998); “The victory march of the Dalai Lama leaves even the Pope pale with envy. In Hollywood the leader of is currently worshipped like a god ” (Playboy [German edition], March 1998); “Buddhism is booming and no-one is really sure why” (Bild 19.3.1998); “ In Buddha’s arms more and more power women discover their souls behind the facade of success” (Bunte, 1.11.1997); “Buddhism is becoming a trend religion in Germany” (Focus 5/1994).

The USA and other western countries exhibit even higher growth rates than Germany. In the United States there are said to be 1.5 million Buddhists in the meantime. “An ancient religion grows ever stronger roots in a new world, with the help of the movies, pop culture and the politics of repressed Tibet” writes the news magazine Time. (Time, vol. 150 no. 15, October 13, 1997). Between New York and San Francisco Buddhist centers are springing up one after another, “religious refuges in which actors, but also managers and politicians flee for inner reflection. ... Nowhere outside of the Vatican do so many prominent pilgrims meet as in this ‘little Lhasa’ [i.e., Dharamsala]. Tibet is booming in the West. Buddhism is the religion à la mode. An audience with the god-king is considered the non plus ultra” reports the Spiegel (Spiegel 16/1998, pp. 109, 108). Tens of thousands of Americans and Europeans have performed some tantric practices, many hundreds have undertaken the traditional three-year retreat, and the number of ordained “Westerners” is constantly growing.

Tibetan Buddhism confronts Western civilization with an image of longing which invokes the buried and forgotten legacy of theocratic cultures (which in pre-modern times defined European politics as well). Here, after the many sober years of rationalism (since the French Revolution), half dead of thirst for divine revelation, the modern person comes across a bubbling spring. Lamas from “beyond the horizon”, revered in occult circles up until the middle of this century as enigmatic Eastern masters of a secret doctrine and who rarely met an ordinary person, have now descended from the “Roof of the World” and entered the over-sophisticated cities of western materialism. With them they have brought their old teachings of wisdom, their mystical knowledge, their archaic rites and secret magical practices. We can meet them in flesh and blood in London, New York, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, even in Jerusalem — as if a far Eastern fairytale had become true.

We have described often enough the political goal of this much-admired religious movement. It involves the establishment of a global Buddhocracy, a Shambhalization of the world, steered and governed, where possible, from Potala, the highest “Seat of the Gods” From there the longed-for Buddhist world ruler, the Chakravartin, ids supposed to govern the globe and its peoples. Of course, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama would never speak so directly about this vision. But his prophet in the USA, Robert Thurman, is less circumspect.

Robert A. Thurman: “the academic godfather of the Tibetan cause”:

Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, the founder and current head of the Tibet House in New York, traveled to Dharamsala in the early 1960s. There he was introduced to the Dalai Lama as “a crazy American boy, very intelligent, and with a good heart” who wanted to become a Buddhist monk. The Tibetan hierarch acceded to the young American’s wish, ordained him as the first Westerner to become a Tibetan monk, and personally supervised his studies and initiatory exercises. He considered Thurman’s training to be so significant that he required a weekly personal meeting. Thurman’s first teacher was Khen Losang Dondrub, Abbot of the Namgyal monastery which was specifically commissioned to perform the so-called Kalachakra ritual. Later, the Kalmyk Geshe Wangal (1901–1983) was appointed as teacher of the “crazy” American (born 1941), who today maintains that he will be able to celebrate the Buddhization of the USA within his lifetime.

Having returned from India to the United States, Thurman began an academic career, studying at Harvard and translating several classic Buddhist texts from Tibetan. He then founded the “Tibet House” in New York, a missionary office for the spread of Lamaism in America disguised as a cultural institute.

Alongside the two actors Richard Gere and Steven Segal, Thurman is the crowd puller of Tibetan Buddhism in the USA. His famous daughter, the Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, who as a small child sat on the lap of the Tibetan “god-king”, has made no small contribution to her father’s popularity and opened the door to Hollywood celebrities. The Herald Tribune called Thurman “the academic godfather of the Tibetan cause” (Herald Tribune, 20 March 1997, p. 6) and in 1997 Time magazine ranked him among the 25 most influential opinion makers of America. He is described there with a telling ironic undertone as the “Saint Paul or Billy Graham of Buddhism” (Time, 28 April 1997, p. 42) Thurman is in fact extremely eloquent and understands how to fascinate his audience with powerful polemics and rhetorical brilliance. For example, he calls the Tibetans “the baby seals of the human right movement”.

In the Shugden affair, Thurman naturally took the side of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and proceeded with the most stringent measures against the “sectarians”, publicly disparaging them as the “Taliban of Buddhism”. When three monks were in stabbed to death in Dharamsala he saw this murder as a ritual act: “The three were stabbed repeatedly and cut up in a way that was like exorcism” (Newsweek, 5 May 1997, p. 43).

Thurman is the most highly exposed intellectual in the American Tibet scene. His profound knowledge of the occult foundations of Lamaism, his intensive study of Tibetan language and culture, his initiation as the first Lamaist monk from the western camp, his rhetorical brilliance and not least his close connection to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, which is more than just a personal friendship and rests upon a religious political alliance, all make this man a major figure in the Lamaist world. The American is — as we shall see — the exoteric protagonist of an esoteric drama, whose script is written in what is known as the Kalachakra Tantra. He promotes a “cool revolution of the world community” and understands by this “a cool restoration of Lamaist Buddhism on a global scale”.

We met Robert Thurman in person at a Tibet Conference in Bonn (“Myth Tibet” in 1996). He was without doubt the most prominent and theatrical speaker and far exceeded the aspirations laid out by the conference. The organizers wanted to launch an academically aseptic discussion of Tibet and its history under the motto that our image of Tibet is a western projection. In truth, Tibet was and is a contradictory country like any other, and the Tibetans like other peoples have had a tumultuous history. The image of Tibet therefore needs to be purged of any occultism and one-sided glorification. Thus the most well-known figures of modern international Tibetology were gathered in Bonn. The proceedings were in fact surprisingly critical and an image of Tibet emerged which was able to peel away some illusions. There was no more talk of a faultless and spiritual Shangri-La up on the roof of the world.

Despite this apparently critical approach, the event must be described as a manipulation. First of all, the cliché that the West alone is responsible for the widespread image of Tibet found here was reinforced. We have shown at many points in our book that this blissful image is also a creation of the lamas and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself. Further, the fact that Lamaism possesses a world view in which western civilization is to be supplanted via a new Buddhist millennium and that it is systematically working towards this goal was completely elided from the debate in Bonn. It appears the globalizing claims of Tibetan Buddhism ought to be passed over silently. At this conference Tibet continued to be portrayed as the tiny country oppressed by the Chinese giant, and the academics, the majority of whom were practicing Buddhists, presented themselves as committed ethnologists advocating, albeit somewhat more critically than usual, the rescue of an endangered culture of a people under threat. By and large this was the orientation of the conference in Bonn. It was hoped to create an island of “sober” scholarliness and expertise in order to inject a note of realism into the by now via the media completely exaggerated image of Tibet — in the justifiable fear that this could not be maintained indefinitely.

This carefully considered objective of the assembled Tibetologists was demolished by Thurman. In a powerfully eloquent speech entitled “Getting beyond Orientalism in approaching Buddhism and Tibet: A central concept”, he sketched a vision of the Buddhization of our planet, and of the establishment of a worldwide “Buddhocracy”. Here he dared to go a number of steps further than in his at that stage not yet published book, Inner Revolution. The quintessence of his dedicated presentation was that the decadent, materialistic West would soon go under and a global monastic system along Tibetan lines would emerge in its stead. This could well be based on traditional Tibet, which today at the end of the materialistic age appears modern to many: “Three hundred years before, this is the time, what I called modern Tibet, which is the Buddhocratic, unmilitaristic, mass-monastic society …” (Thurman at the conference in Bonn).

Such perspectives clearly much irritated the conference organizers and immensely disturbed their ostensible attempt to introduce a note of academic clarity. The megalomaniac claims of Tibetan neo-Buddhism plainly and openly forced their way into the limelight during Thurman’s speech. A spectacular row with the officials resulted and Thurman left Bonn early.

Irrespective of one’s opinion of Thurman, his speech in Bonn was just plain honest; it called a spade a spade and remains an eminently important record since it introduced the term “Buddhocracy” into the discussion as something desirable, indeed as the sole safety anchor amid the fall of the Western world. Those who are familiar with the background to Lamaism will recognize that Thurman has translated into easily understood western terms the religious political global pretensions of the Tibetan system codified in the Kalachakra Tantra. The American “mouthpiece of the Dalai Lama” is the principal witness for the fact that a worldwide “Buddhocracy” is aspired to not just in the tantric rituals but also by the propagandists of Tibetan Buddhism. Thurman probably revised and tamed down his final manuscript for Inner Revolution in light of events in Bonn. There, the emotive terms Buddhocracy and Buddhocratic are no longer so central as they were in his speech in Bonn. Nonetheless a careful reading of his book reveals the Buddhocratic intentions are not hidden in any way. In order to more clearly give prominence to these intentions, however, we will review his book in connection with his speech in Bonn.

The stolen revolution:

Anybody who summarizes the elements of the political program running through Thurman’s book Inner Revolution from cover to cover will soon recognize that they largely concern the demands of the “revolutionary” grass roots movement of the 70s and 80s. Here there is talk of equality of the sexes, individual freedom, personal emancipation, critical thought, nonconformity, grass roots democracy, human rights, a social ethos, a minimum income guaranteed by the state, equality of access to education, health and social services for all, ecological awareness, tolerance, pacifism, and self-realization. In an era in which all these ideas no longer have the same attraction as they did 20 years ago, such nostalgic demands are like a balsam. The ideals of the recent past appear to have not been in vain! The utopias of the 1960s will be realized after all, indeed, according to Thurman, this time without any use of violence. The era of “cool revolution” has just begun and we learn that all these individual and social political goals have always been a part of Buddhist cultural tradition, especially Tibetan-style Lamaism.

With this move, Thurman incorporates the entire set of ideas of a protest generation which sought to change the world along human-political lines and harnesses it to a Tibetan/Buddhist world view. In this he is a brilliant student of his smiling master, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Tens of thousands of people in Europe and America (including Petra Kelly and the authors) became victims of this skillful manipulation and believed that Lamaism could provide the example of a human-politically committed religion. Thousands stood up for Tibet, small and oppressed, because they revered in this country a treasure trove of spiritual and ethical values which would be destroyed by Chinese totalitarianism. Tibetan Buddhism as the final refuge of the social revolutionary ideals of the 70s, as the inheritance of the politically involved youth movement? This is — as we shall show — how Lamaism presents itself in Thurman’s book, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama gives this interpretation his approval. “Thurman explained to me how some Western thinkers have assumed that Buddhism has no intention to change society ... Thurman’s book provides a timely correction to any lingering notions about Buddhism as an uncaring religion.” (Thurman1998, p. xiii)

But anyone who peeps behind the curtains must unfortunately ascertain that with his catalog of political demands Thurman holds a mirror up to the ideals of the “revolutionary” generation of the West, and that he fails to inform them about the reality of the Lamaist system in which used to and still does function along completely contrary social political lines.

Thurman’s forged history:

In order to prevent this abuse of power becoming obvious, the construction of a forged history is necessary, as Thurman conscientiously and consistently demonstrates in his book. He presents the Tibet of old as a type of gentle “scholarly republic” of introspective monks, free of the turbulence of European/imperialist politics of business and war. In their seclusion these holy men performed over centuries a world mission, which is only now becoming noticeable. Since the Renaissance, Thurman explains, the West has effected the “outer modernity”, that is the “outer enlightenment” through the scientific revolution. At the same time (above all since the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century) an “inner revolution” has taken place in the Himalayas, which the American boldly describes as “inner modernity”: “So we must qualify what we have come to call ‘modernity’ in the West as ‘materialistic’ or ‘outer’ modernity, and contrast it with a parallel but alternative Tibetan modernity qualified as ‘spiritualistic’ or ‘inner’ modernity” (Thurman 1998, p. 247). At the 1996 conference in Bonn he did in fact refer to the “inner modernization of the Tibetan society”.

Committed Buddhism, according to Thurman, is instigating a “cool revolution” (in the sense of ‘calm’).It is “cool” in contrast to the “hot” revolutions of the Western dominated history of the world which demanded so many casualties. The five fundamental principles of this “cool revolution” are cleverly assigned anew to a Western (and not Oriental) system of values: transcendental individualism, nonviolent pacifism, educational evolutionism, ecosocial altruism, universal democratism.

For Thurman, the Tibetan culture of “sacralization”, “magic”, “enlightenment”, “spiritual progress”, and “peaceful monasticism” stands in opposition to a Western civilization of “secularization”, “disenchantment”, “rationalization”, “profane belief in material progress”, and “materialism, industrialism, and militarism” (Thurman 1998, p. 246).Even though the “inner revolution” is unambiguously valued more highly, the achievements of the West ought not be totally abandoned in the future. Thurman sees the world culture of the dawning millennium in a hierarchical (East over West) union of both. Upon closer inspection, however, this “cool revolution” reveals itself to be a “cool restoration” in which the world is to be transformed into a Tibetan-style Buddhist monastic state.

To substantiate Lamaism’s global mission (the “cool revolution”) in his book, Thurman had to distort Tibetan history, or the history of Buddhism in general. He needed to construct a pure, faultless and ideal history which from the outset pursued an exemplary, highly ethical task of instruction, aimed to culminate eschatologically in the Buddhization of the entire planet. The Tibetan monasteries had to be portrayed as bulwarks of peace and spiritual development, altruistically at work in the social interests of all. The image of Tibet of old needed to appear appropriately noble-minded, “with”, Thurman says, “the cultivation of scholarship and artistry; with the administration of the political system by enlightened hierarchs; with ascetic charisma diffused among the common people; and with the development of the reincarnation institution. It was a process of the removal of deep roots in instinct and cultural patterns” (Thurman 1998, p. 231). A general misrepresentation in Thurman’s historical construction is the depiction of Buddhist society and especially Lamaism as fundamentally peaceful (to be played out in contrast to the deeply militaristic West): “[T]he main direction of the society was ecstatic and positive; intrigues, violence and persecution were rarer than in any other civilization” (Thurman 1998, p.36). Although appeals may be made to relevant sutras in support of such a pacifist image of Tibetan Buddhism, as a social reality it is completely fictive.

As we have demonstrated, the opposite is the case. Lamaism was caught up in bloody struggles between the various monastic factions from the outset. There was a terrible “civil war” in which the country’s two main orders faced one another as opponents. Political murder has always been par for the course and even the Dalai Lamas have not been spared. Even in the brief history of the exiled Tibetans it is a constant occurrence. The concept of the enemy was deeply anchored in ancient Tibetan culture, and persists to this day. Thus the destruction of “enemies of the teaching” is one of the standard requirements of all tantric ritual texts. The sexual magic practices which lie at the center of this religion and which Thurman either conceals or interprets as an expression of cooperation and sexual equality are based upon a fundamental misogyny. The social misery of the masses in old Tibet was shocking and repulsive, the authority of the priestly state was absolute and extended over life and death. To present Tibet’s traditional society as a political example for modernity, in which the people had oriented themselves toward a “broad social ethic” and in which anybody could achieve “freedom and happiness” (Thurman 1998, p. 138) is farcical.

Thus one shudders at the thought when Thurman opens up the following perspective for the world to come: “In the sacred history of the transformation of the wild frontier [pre-Buddhist] land of Tibet [into a Buddhocracy], we find a blueprint for completing the taming of our own wild world” (Thurman 1998, p. 220)

Thurman introduces the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (regnant from 272 to 236 B.C.E.), who “saw the practical superiority of moral and enlightened policy” (Thurman 1998, p. 115), as a political example for the times ahead. He portrays this Indian emperor as a “prince of peace” who — although originally a terrible hero of the battlefield — following a deep inner conversion abjured all war, transformed hate and pugnacity into compassion and nonviolence, and conducted a “spiritual revolution” to the benefit of all suffering beings. In the chapter entitled “A kingly revolution” (Thurman 1988, pp.109ff.), the author suggests that the Ashoka kingdom’s form of government, oriented along monastic lines, could today once again function as a model for the establishment of a worldwide Buddhist state. Thurman says that “[t]he politics of enlightenment since Ashoka proposes a truth-conquest of the planet—a Dharma-conquest, meaning a cultural, educational, and intellectual conquest” (Thurman 1998, p. 282).

Thurman wisely remains silent about the fact that this Maurya dynasty ruler was responsible for numerous un-Buddhist acts. For instance, under his reign the death penalty for criminals was not abolished, among whom his own wife, Tisyaraksita, must have been counted, as he had her executed. In a Buddhist (!) description of his life, a Sanskrit work titled Ashokavandana, it states that he at one stage had 18,000 non-Buddhists, presumably Jainas, put to death, as one of them had insulted the “true teaching”, albeit in a relatively mild manner. In another instance he is alleged to have driven a Jaina and his entire family into their house which he then ordered to be burnt to the ground.

Nonetheless, Emperor Ashoka is a “cool revolutionary” for Thurman. His politics proclaimed “a social style of tolerance and admiration of nonviolence. They made the community a secure establishment that became unquestioned in its ubiquitous presence as school for gentleness, concentration, and liberation of critical reason; asylum for nonconformity; egalitarian democratic community, where decisions were made by consensual vote” (Thurman 1998, p. 117). To depict the absolutist emperor Ashoka as a guarantor and exemplar of an “egalitarian democratic community”, is a brilliant feat of arbitrary historical interpretation!

With equal emphasis Thurman presents the Indian/Buddhist Maha Siddhas (‘Grand Sorcerers’) as exemplary heroes of the ethos for whom there was no greater wish than to make others happy. However, as we have described in detail, these “ascetics who tamed the world” employed extremely dubious methods to this end, namely, they cultivated pure transgression in order to prove the vanity of all being. Their tantric, i.e., sexual magic, practices, in which they deliberately did evil (murder, rape, necrophagy) with the ostensible intention of creating something good, should, according to Thurman, be counted among the most significant acts of human civilization. Anyone who casts a glance over the “hagiographies” of these Maha Siddhas will be amazed at the barbaric consciousness possessed by these “heroes” of the tantric path. Only very rarely can socially ethical behavior be ascertained among these figures, who deliberately adopted asociality as a lifestyle.

But for Thurman these Maha Siddhas and their later Tibetan imitations are “radiant bodies of energy” upon whom the fate of humanity depends. “It is said that the hillsides and retreats of central Tibet were ablaze with the light generated by profound concentration, penetrating insights, and magnificent deeds of enthusiastic practitioners. The entire populace was moved by the energy released by individuals breaking through their age-old ignorance and prejudices and realizing enlightenment.” (Thurman 1998, pp. 227-228) When one compares the horrors of Tibetan history with the horrors in the tantric texts followed by the “enthusiastic practitioners”, then Thurman may indeed be correct. It is just that it was primarily dark energies which affected the Tibetan population and kept them in ignorance and servitude. Serfdom and slavery are attributes of old Tibetan society, just like an inhumane penal code and a pervasive oppression of women.

Padmasambhava, the supreme ambivalent founding figure of Tibetan Buddhism, is also celebrated by Thurman as a committed scholar of enlightenment. (Thurman 1998, 210). Nothing could be less typical of this sorcerer, who covered the Land of Snows with his excommunications and introduced the wrathful gods of pre-Buddhist Tibet in a horror army of aggressive protective spirits, not so that their terrible character could be transformed, but rather so that they could now protect with sword and fright the “true teaching of Buddha” from its enemies. Great scholars of the Gelugpa order have time and again pointed out the ambivalence of this iridescent “cultural founder” (Padmasambhava), among whose deeds are two brutal infanticides, and expressly distanced themselves from his barbaric lifestyle.

When the Indian scholar Atisha began his work in Tibet in the 11th century, he encountered a completely dissolute monastic caste in total chaos and where one could no longer speak of morals. At least this is what the historical records (the Blue Annals) report. Thurman suppresses this Lamaist moral collapse and simply maintains the opposite: “When Atisha arrived in Tibet, monastic practitioners were limiting themselves to strict moral and ritual observances” (Thurman 1998, p. 226). This is indeed a very euphemistic representation of the whoring and secularized monasteries against which Atisha took to the field with a new moral codex.

For Thurman, the Great Prayer Festival (Mönlam) institutionalized by Tsongkhapa and reactivated by the Fifth Dalai Lama, a raw Lamaist carnival in which monks were allowed absolutely everything and a truly horrible scapegoat ritual was performed, was a sacred event where “the power of compassion is manifest, the immediacy of grace is experienced” (Thurman 1998, p. 235). At another stage he says that, “[i]n Tibet, the Great Prayer Festival guaranteed the best of possibilities for everyone. People’s feelings of being in an apocalyptic time in a specially blessed and chosen land—in their own form of a “New Jerusalem”, a Kingdom of Heaven manifest on earth—had a powerful effect on the whole society” (Thurman 1998, pp. 238-239). When we compare this apotheosis of the said event with the already cited eyewitness report by Heinrich Harrer, we see the lack of restraint with which Thurman reveres the Tibet of old. Harrer, whose portrayal is confirmed by many other travel accounts, regarded the scenario completely differently: “As if emerging from hypnosis”, writes the mentor of the young Dalai Lama, “at this moment the tens of thousands spring from order in to chaos. The transition is so sudden, that one is speechless. Shouting, wild gesticulation .. they trample over one another, almost murder each other. The still-weeping prayers, ecstatically absorbed, become ravers. The monastic soldiers begin their duty! Huge fellows with stuffed shoulders and blackened faces — so that the deterrent effect becomes even stronger. Ruthlessly they lay into the crowd with their batons ... one takes the blows wailing, but even the beaten return again. As if they were possessed by demons” (Heinrich Harrer, 1984, p. 142). — Thurman’s “New Jerusalem”, possessed by demons on the roof of the world? —an interesting scenario for a horror film!

We find a further pinnacle of Thurman’s historical falsification in the portrait of the greatest Lamaist potentate, the Fifth Dalai Lama. Of all people, this “Priest-King” attuned to the accumulation of external power and pomp is built up by the author in to a hero of the “inner revolution”. He paints the picture of a prudent and farsighted fathers of his country (“a gentle genius, scholar, and reincarnate saint” — Thurman 1998, p. 248), who is compelled — against his will and his fundamentally Buddhist attitude — to conduct a horrific “civil war” (in which he lets great numbers of monks from other orders be massacred by the Mongol warriors summoned to the country). Thurman presents the conflict as a quarrel between various warlords in which the “peaceful” monks become embroiled.

Here again, the opposite was the case: the two chief Tibetan Buddhist orders of the time (Gelugpa and Kagyupa) were pulling the strings, even if they let worldly armies battle for them. Thurman misrepresents this monastic war as a battle between cliques of nobles and ultimately “the final showdown in Tibet between militarism and monasticism” (Thurman 1998, p. 249), whereby the latter as the party of peace is victorious thanks to the genius of the Fifth Dalai Lama and goes on to all but establish a “Buddha paradise” on earth.

All this is a pious/impudent invention of the American Tibetologist. The merciless warrior mentality of the Fifth Dalai Lama spread fear and alarm among his foes. His dark occult side, his fascination for the sexual magic of the Nyingmapa (which he himself practiced), his unrestrained rewriting of history and much more; these are all highly unpleasant facts, which are deliberately concealed by Thurman, since an historically accurate portrait of the “Great Fifth” could have embarrassing consequences, as the Fourteenth Dalai Lama constantly refers to this predecessor of his and has announced him to be his greatest example.

It would be wrong to deny the Fifth Dalai Lama any political or administrative skill; he was, just like his contemporary, Louis the Fourteenth, to whom he is often compared, an “ingenious” statesman. But this made him no prince of peace. His goal consisted of resolutely placing the fate of the country in the hands of the clergy with himself as the undisputed spiritual and secular leader. To this end (like the Fourteenth Dalai Lama today) he played the various orders off against one another. The Fifth Dalai Lama formulated the political foundations of a “Buddhocracy” which Robert Thurman would be glad to see as the model for a future worlds community, and which we wish to examine more closely in the next section.

A worldwide Buddhocracy:

At the conference on Tibet in Bonn mentioned above (“Mythos Tibet”, 1996) Robert Thurman with stirring pathos prophesied the “fall of the West” and left no doubt that the future of our planet lies in a worldwide, as he stressed literally, “Buddhocracy”. Europe has renounced its sacred past, demystified its natural environment, established a secular realm, and closed off access to the sacred “represented by monasticism and its organized striving for perfection”. Materialism, industrialization and militarization have taken the place of the sacred (Thurman 1998, p. 246).

At the same time a reverse process has taken place in Tibet. Society has become increasingly sacralized and devoted itself to the creation of a “buddhaverse”. (In the wake of the Tibetologists’ criticisms in Bonn, Thurman appears to have opted for his own neologism “buddhaverse” in place of the somewhat offensive “Buddhocracy”; the meaning intended remains the same.) A re-enchantment of reality has taken place in Tibet, and the system is dedicated to the perfection of the individual. The warrior spirit has been dismantled. All these claims are untrue, and can be disproved by countless counterexamples. Nevertheless, Thurman presumes to declare them expressions of traditional Tibet’s “inner modernity”, which is ultimately superior to Europe’s “outer modernity”: “As Europe was pushing away the Pope, the Church, and the enchantment of everyday life, Tibet was turning over the reins of its country to a new kind of government, which cannot properly be called ‘theocratic’, since the Tibetans do not believe in an omnipotent God, but which can be called ‘Buddhocratic’” (Thurman 1998, p. 248). This form of government is supposed to guide our future. At the Tibet conference in Bonn, Thurman made this clearer: “Yes, not theocratic, because that brings [with it a] comparison to the Holy Roman Empire ... because it has the conception of an authoritarian God controlling the universe” (Thurman at the conference in Bonn). Thurman seems to think the concept of an “authoritarian Buddha” does not exist, although this is precisely what may be found at the basis of the Lamaist system.

For the author, the monasticization of Tibetan society was a lucky millennial event for humanity which reached its preliminary peak in the era in which the Gelugpa order was founded by Tsongkhapa (1357–1419) and the institution of the Dalai Lama was established. In Bonn Thurman praised this period as “the millennium of the fifteenth century of the planetary unique form of modern Tibetan society ... [which] led to the unfolding in the seventeenth century [of] what I call post-millennial, inwardly modern, mass-monastic, or even Buddhocratic [society]”. Tsongkhapa is presented as the founding father of this “modern Tibet”: he “was a spiritual prodigy. ... He perceived a cosmic shift from universe to buddhaverse” (Thurman 1998, pp. 232–233).

The Tibet of old was, according to Thurman, just such a buddhaverse, an earthly “Buddha paradise”, governed by nonviolence and wisdom, generosity, sensitivity, and tolerance. An exemplary enlightened consciousness was cultivated in the monastic Jewel Community. The monasteries provided the guarantee that politics was conducted along ethical lines: “The monastic core provides the cocoon for the free creativity of the lay Jewel Community” (Thurman 1998, p. 294).

This “monastic form of government”, pre-tested by Old Tibet, provides a vision for the future for Thurman: “I am very interested in this. I feel a very strong trend in this [direction]” (Thurman’s presentation in Bonn). The “monasticization” which was then (i.e., in the fifteenth century) spreading through Asia whilst the doors to the monasteries of Europe were closing, has once again become significant on a global political level. “And if you study Max Weber carefully... in fact what secularization and industrial progress brought had a lot to do with the slamming of the monastery doors. ... So, a monastic form of government is an unthinkable thing for Western society. We often say Tibet is frozen in the Middle Ages because Tibet is not secularized in the way the Western world is! It moved out of the balance between sacred and secular and went into a sacralization process and enchanted the universe. The concrete proof of that was that the monasteries provided the government” (Thurman in Bonn).

Here, Thurman is paraphrasing Weber’s thesis of the “disenchantment of the world” which accompanied the rise of capitalism. The “re-enchantment of the world” is a political program for him, which can only be carried out by Lamaist monks. Monasticism “is the shelter and training ground for the nonviolent ‘army’, the shock troops for the sustained social revolution the Buddha initiated ...” (Thurman 1998, p. 294, § 15). The monastic clergy would progressively assume control of political matters via a three-stage plan. In the final phase of this plan, “the society is able to enjoy the universe of enlightenment, and Jewel Community institutions [the monasteries] openly take responsibility for the society’s direction” (Thurman 1998, p. 296, § 24).

But this is no unreal utopia, since “Tibetan society is the only one in planetary history in which this third phase has been partially reached” (Thurman 1998, p. 296, § 25).In this sentence Thurman quite plainly proclaims a Buddhocracy along Lamaist lines to be the next model for the world community! Elsewhere, the Tibetologist is more precise: “The countercultural monastic movement no longer needs to lie low and is able to give the ruling powers advice, spiritual and social. Enlightened sages can begin to advise their royal disciples on how to conduct the daily affairs of society, such as what should be their policies and practices. Likewise, after a long period of such evolution, the entire movement can reach a cool fruition, when the countercultural enlightenment movement becomes mainstream and openly takes responsibility for the whole society, which eventually happened in Tibet” (Thurman 1998, p. 166, footnote).

According to Thurman, the Lamaist clergy assumes political power with — as we shall see — the incarnation of a super-being at its helm, an absolute monarch, who unites spiritual and worldly power within himself. The triumphant advance of the monastic system began in India in around 500 B.C.E. and spread throughout all of Asia in the intervening years. But this, Thurman says, is only a prelude: “The phenomenal success of monasticism, eventually Eurasia-wide, can be understood as the progressive truth-conquest of the world” (Thurman 1998, p. 105). Pie in the sky, or a event soon to come? Thurman’s statements on this are contradictory. In his book he talks of a “hope for the future”. But in interviews with the press, he has let it be known that he will experience the Buddhization of America in his own lifetime. In 1997, his friend, the Hollywood actor Richard Gere, was also convinced that the transformation of the world into a Buddhocracy would occur suddenly, like an atomic explosion, and that the “critical mass” would soon be reached (Herald Tribune, 20 March 1997, p. 6).

According to the author, the Lamaist power elite of the coming “Buddhocracy” is basically immortal because of the incarnation system. They already pulled the political strings in Tibet in the past, and will, in the author’s opinion, assume this role for the entire world in future: “Whatever the spiritual reality of these reincarnations, the social impact of this form of leadership was immense. It sealed the emerging spirituality of Tibetan society, in that death, which ordinarily interrupts progress in any society, could no longer block positive development. Just as Shakyamuni could be present to the practitioner through the initiation procedure and the sophisticated visualization techniques, so fully realized saints and sages were not withdrawn by death from their disciples, who depended on them to attain fulfillment (Thurman 1998, p. 231).

One can only be amazed — at the impudence with which Thurman praises the “Buddhocracy” of the Lamas as the highest form of “democracy”; at how he portrays Tibetan Buddhism, which is based upon a ritual dissolution of the individual, as the highest level of individual development; at how he depicts Tantrism, with its morbid sexual magic techniques for male monks to absorb feminine energies, as the only religion in which god and goddess are worshipped as balanced equals; at how he glorifies the cruel war gods and warrior monks of the Land of Snows as pacifists; at how he presents the medieval/monastic social form of Tibet as an expression of the modern and as offering the only model for a global world-society.

Tibet a land of enlightenment?:

The Tibet of old, with its monastic culture was, according to Thurman, the cosmic energy body which irradiated our world in enlightened consciousness. “Hidden in the last thousand years of Tibet’s civilization”, the author says, “is a continuous process of inner revolution and cool evolution. In spiritual history, Tibet has been the secret dynamo that throughout this millennium has slowly turned the outer world toward enlightenment. Thus Tibetan civilization’s unique role on the inner plane of history assumes a far greater importance than material history would indicate” (Thurman 1998, p. 225). In Thurman’s version of history, it was not the Western bourgeoisie which fought for its freedoms and human rights in battle with the institutions of the Church; rather, all this was thought out in advance by holy men meditating among the Himalayan peaks: “The recent appearance of modern consciousness in the industrial world is not something radically new or unprecedented. Modern consciousness has been developed all over Asia in the Buddhist subcultures for thousands of years” (Thurman 1998, p. 255). —And it flowed into the consciousness of the modern, Western cultural elite as an Eastern energy source. That is, to speak clearly, the Tibetan monks meditating were one of the causes of the European Enlightenment. A bold thesis indeed, in which a Tibet controlled by a belief in ghosts, oracles, torture chambers, the oppression of women, and human super-beings becomes the cradle of modern rationalism.

The enlightening radiation began, says Thurman, with the Tibetan scholar Tsongkhapa’s edifice of teachings and the founding of the Gelugpa order: “This tremendous release of energy caused by thousands of minds becoming totally liberated in a short time was a planetary phenomenon, like a great spiritual pulsar emitting enlightenment in waves broadcast around the globe” (Thurman 1998, p. 233). Accordingly, Thurman considers all of the great Tibetan scholars of past centuries to be more significant and comprehensive than their European “peers”. They were “scientific heroes”, “”the quintessence of scientists in this nonmaterialistic civilization [i.e., Tibet]” (quoted by Lopez in Prisoners of Shangri-La, p. 81). As “psychonauts” they conquered inner space in contrast to the western “astronauts” (again quoted by Lopez, 1998, p. 81). But the “stars” of modern European philosophy like Hume and Kant, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, Hegel and Heidegger, Thurman speculates, could also at some future time turn out to be line-holders for and emanations of the Bodhisattva of knowledge, Manjushri (Lopez, 1998, p. 264). Ex oriente lux — now also true for occidental science.

This incorporation of the Western cultural heroes is an underground current which flows through the entire neo-Buddhist scene. It is outwardly strictly denied, through the Dalai Lama’s demands for tolerance in broad publicity. In contrast, writings accumulate in the milieu, which celebrate Jesus Christ as an avatar of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara for example, the same super-being who has also been incarnated as the Dalai Lama. A recurrent image of modern myth building is the placement of the Tibetans on a par with the Nazarene.

Thurman as “high priest” of the Kalachakra Tantra:

A worldwide Buddhocratic vision of Tibetan Buddhism is contained in what is known as the Kalachakra Tantra (the “Wheel of Time”). We have studied and commented upon this central Lamaist ritual in detail. The goal of the Kalachakra Tantra is the construction of a superhuman being, the ADI BUDDHA, whose control encompasses the entire universe, both spiritually and politically, “a mythical world-conqueror” (Thurman 1998, p. 292, § 5).

From a metapolitical point of view, Robert Thurman appears to have been appointed to implant the ideas of the Kalachakra Tantra in the West. We have already noted that the teacher the Dalai Lama assigned him to was Khen Losang Dondrub, Abbot of the Namgyal monastery which is especially commissioned to perform the Kalachakra ritual. In the USA he was in constant contact with the Kalmyk lama Geshe Wangyal (1901–1983). Lama Wangyal was Robert Thurman’s actual “line guru”, and this line leads via Wangyal directly to the old master Agvan Dorjiev (Lama Wangyal’s guru). Dorjiev the Buriat, Wangyal the Kalmyk, and Thurman the American thus form a chain of initiation. From a tantric point of view the spirit of the master lives on in the form of the pupil. One can thus assume that Thurman as Dorjiev’s successor represents an emanation of the extremely aggressive protective divinity Vajrabhairava who is supposed to have become incarnate in the Buriat. At any rate the American must be drawn into the context of the global Shambhala utopia, which was the principal concern of Dorjiev’s metapolitics.

What Thurman understands by this can be most clearly illustrated by a vision which was bestowed upon him in a dream in September 1979, before he saw the Dalai Lama again for the first time in eight years: “The night before he landed in New York, I dreamed he was manifesting the pure land mandala palace of the Kalachakra Buddha right on top of the Waldorf Astoria building. The entire collection of dignitaries of the city, mayors and senators, corporate presidents and kings, sheikhs and sultans ,celebrities and stars—all of them were swept up into the dance of 722 deities of the three buildings of the diamond palace like pinstriped bees swarming on a giant honeycomb. The amazing thing about the Dalai Lama’s flood of power and beauty was that it appeared totally effortless. I could feel the space of His Holiness’s heart, whence all this arose. It was relaxed, cool, an amazing well of infinity” (Thurman 1998, p. 18).

The magic projection of the Tibetan “god-king” as ADI BUDDHA and world ruler cannot be illustrated more vividly. He reigns as some kind of queen bee in the middle of New York, and lets the world’s greatest, whom he has bewitched with sweet honey, dance to his tune. It is typical that there is no mention of grass roots democracy here, and that it is just the political, business, and show business Establishment which performs the sweet dance of the bees. Anyone who is aware how much significance is granted to such dreams in the world of Tibetan initiation will without further ado recognize a metapolitical program in Thurman’s vision. [1]

In 1992, as Director of Tibet House in New York City which he co-founded with Richard Gere, he sponsored “the Kalachakra Initiation at New York’s Madison Square Garden.” (Farrer-Halls 1998, p. 92) The Tibet Center houses a three dimensional Kalachakra Mandala and the only life sized statue of the Kalachakra deity outside of Tibet. Following the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, “The Samaya Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Port Authority jointly sponsored the Wheel of Time (Kalachakra) Sand Mandala, or Circle of Peace, in the lobby of Tower 1.” (Darton 1999, p. 219) For over thirty days, many of the World Trade Center workers and visitors were invited by the Namgyal Monks to participate in the construction of the mandala. It is said that, “ Its shape symbolized nature’s unending cycle of creation and destruction and in the countless grains of its material, it celebrated life’s energy taking ephemeral form, then returning to its source. At the end of the mandala’s month long lifespan, the monks swept up the sand and “offered it to the Hudson River.” This ritual, they believed, purified the environment. (Darton 1999, p. 219)


Report of a former participant of the Kalachakra Ceremony in New York: “Get a call from one of my Kalachakra sisters I haven't heard from since the Indiana Kalachakra in '99. […] The topic shifted to the Kalachakra mandala that was made at One World Trade Center. I was at the dissolution ceremony there, may be around '96. The monks gathered up all the sand from the mandala at 1WTC, put it in a vase, then carried it across the bridge into World Financial Center through the Winter Garden, then dumped the sand ceremoniously into the Hudson River for the sake of World Peace. The surface of the river glittered with the afternoon sun, and I cried. 5 years later, the whole building is gone, just like the sand mandala.” See:


Thurman’s devoted commitment as Lamaist initiand, his absolute loyalty to the Dalai Lama, his consistent vision of an earthly “Buddha paradise”, his uncompromising affirmation of a Buddhocratic state, his involvement with the world of the Tibetan gods which reaches even into his own dreams, his systematic training by the highest Tibetan lamas over many years—all these certify Thurman to be a “Shambhala warrior”, a Buddhist hero, who according to legend prepares for the establishment of the kingdom of Shambhala over our globe. This is the goal of the Kalachakra ritual (the “Wheel of Time” ritual) performed all over the world by the Dalai Lama. Thurman has, he reports, seen the Dalai Lama in a vision as the supreme time god above the Waldorf Astoria. But even here he conceals that the Shambhala myth is not peaceful, and can only be realized after a world war in which all nonbelievers (non-Buddhists) are destroyed.

Perhaps such a perspective frightens some Western intellectuals? No worries, Thurman reassumes them, “who is afraid of the Dalai Lama? Who is afraid of Avalokiteshvara? No Tibetans are afraid” (Thurman in Bonn). How could one be afraid of the supreme enlightened being currently on earth? He, in whom all three levels are compressed, “that of the selfless monk, the king, and the great adept” (Thurman), who is (as great adept) preparing the creation of “a buddhaversal human society” (Thurman 1998, p. 39), even if he (as king and statesman) is still concentrating chiefly on the concerns of Tibet. Then, “Tibet’s unique focus on enlightenment civilization makes the nation crucial to the world’s development of spiritual and social balance” (Thurman 1998, p. 39).

Thurman is convinced that the Dalai Lama represents a projection of the ADI BUDDHA, who can liberate the world from its valley of sorrows. He describes very precisely the micro- and macrocosmic dimensions of such a redemptive being in the form of the Fifth Dalai Lama. If humanity were to recognize the divine presence behind the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, it could calmly place its political matters in his hands, just as the Tibetan populace did in the time of the “Great Fifth”: “Small wonder”, Thurman tells his readers. “Suppose the people of a catholic country were to share a perception of a particular spiritual figure as not simply a representative of God, as in the Pope being the vicar of Christ, but as an actual incarnation of the Savior—or, say an incarnation of the Archangel Gabriel. In such a situation it would not be strange for the nation to reach a point where the divine would actually take responsibility for the government. In Tibet, this moment was the culmination of centuries of grass-roots millennial consciousness, the political ratification of the millennial direction that had been intensifying since the Great Prayer Festival tradition had begun in 1409. The sense of the presence of an enlightened being was widespread enough for the people to join together after the last conflict and entrust to him their land and their fate” (Thurman 1998, pp. 250–251).

There is no need to read between the lines, simply paying close attention to the text of his book is enough to be able to recognize that, for Thurman, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama represents the quintessence of political wisdom and decisive power for the coming millennium. The author draws attention to the five principles of his planetary political program: “nonviolence, individualism, education, and altruistic correctedness. The fifth [principle], global democratism, is exemplified in His Holiness the Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself” (Thurman 1998, p. 279). The Tibetan “god-king” as the incarnation of universal democracy—a true piece of bravura in Thurman’s “political theology”. No wonder the “god-king” applauds him so roundly in his foreword: “I commend him for his careful study and clear explanations, and I recommend his insights for your own reflections” (Thurman 1998, p. xiv).

According to Thurman, the USA is the first western country in which the lamas’ Buddhocratic vision will prevail: “Most of the teachers from the various enlightenment movements seem to agree on one thing: If there is to be a renaissance of enlightenment sciences in our times, it will have to begin in America. America is the land of extreme dichotomies: the great materialism and the greatest disillusionment with materialism; great self-indulgence and great self-transcendence” (Thurman 1998, p. 280). The Dalai Lama (“the fifth [principle of] global democratism”) as the next American president? —But if he dies?—No worries, thanks to the system of incarnation he may remain among us as priest and king for ever.

Thurman’s methods, adapting himself to the point of self-deception to the consciousness and the customs of his environment (in this case the western democratic environment), but without losing sight of the actual grand metapolitical goal, has a long tradition in Tibet. Padmasambhava, for instance, Buddhized the Land of Snows by integrating with aplomb the various tribal cultures which he encountered on his missionary travels into his tantric system, together with their particular ideas and cultic practices. In doing so he was so skillful that the pre-Buddhist inhabitants of Tibet believed Buddhism to be no more than the realization of their own traditional expectations of salvation. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is masterfully repeating this heuristic principle from his eighth-century incarnation on the world stage. In the meantime he knows all the variations and rules of the game of Western civilization and has managed to generate a public image as a great reformer and democrat who brilliantly combines modern political fundamentals with old Eastern teachings of wisdom. There are countless sermons from him in which he strongly advises his audience to stay true to their own religious tradition, since in the end they all come to the same thing. Such superior invitations have as we shall see a double-bind effect. People are so enthused by the ostensible tolerance of Tibetan Buddhism and its supreme representative that they become converts to the Dharma and ensnared in the tantric web.



[1] During the UN-organized Millennium Festival of Religions at the end of August 2000, at which over a thousand religious representatives were present, the Dalai Lama was supposed to stay in the Waldorf Astoria. Without doubt, thanks to his charisma and pretended precept of tolerance, the Kundun would have become the center of the entire occasion. But after great pressure was applied by the Chinese he was not invited. At this, a segment of the organizers resolved to encourage him to take part in a kind of private rally at the end of the assembly in the Waldorf Astoria hotel. But the Kundun declined. Robert Thurman’s vision of the Kalachakra Buddha at the summit of the Waldorf Astoria did not eventuate.
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From a western point of view, religion and politics have been neatly and cleanly separated from one another since the modern era (18th century). In this sense a clear distinction is drawn here between the spread of Tantric Buddhism and the question of Tibet’s international legal status. However, for an ancient culture like the Tibetan one, such a division is just not possible. In it, all levels — the mystic, the mythic, the symbolic, and the ritual — are addressed by every political event. From a Tibetan viewpoint it is thus completely logical that the liberation of the Land of Snows from the claws of the Chinese dragon be blown up into an exemplary deed that should benefit the whole planet. “To save Tibet means to save the world!” is a widespread slogan, even among committed Westerners.

Just like the teachings of the Buddha, the political issue of Tibet at first evoked little resonance among the western public. Those who broached the topic of the fate of the Tibetan people in American and European governmental circles generally encountered rejection and disinterest. But this dismissive stance changed in the mid-eighties. With increasing frequency, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was officially received by western heads of state who had previously refused to be in public contact with him for fear of Chinese protests.

The “Tibet Lobby”:

Since 1985 the so-called Tibet lobby has been at work in numerous countries. This is a cross-party collection of parliamentary representatives who in their respective parliaments advocate a Tibet resolution that morally condemns China for its constant human rights abuses and “cultural genocide”. A recognition of Tibet as an autonomous state is not linked to such resolutions. At the Tibet Support Groups Conference in Bonn (in 1996), Tim Nunn from England gave a paper on the methods (the upaya) of successful lobbying: well-groomed appearance, diplomatic language, proper dress, skilled presentation, and the like. Mr. Nunn was able to point to successes — 131 members of the British Lower House had engaged themselves for the cause of the Land of Snows in London (Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, 1996, pp. 77ff.).

In the USA the lawyer Michael van Walt van Praag has successfully argued the interests of the Tibetan government in exile to both Senators and Congressmen. He succeeded in getting a resolution on Tibet passed in the U.S. Senate. One of his greatest political successes was when in 1991 the Kundun was permitted to take his place in the rotunda and address the American House of Congress. Afterwards he met with President George Bush. Bush signed an official document in which Tibet was described as am “occupied country”. Since 1990 The Voice of America has begun broadcasting programs in Tibetan. A new broadcaster, Free Asia, which also has a Tibet department, has recently been approved by Congress. As of 1997, the State Department appointed a “special representative for Tibet” who is supposed to have the task of negotiating between the Kundun and China.

In early September 1995, the Dalai Lama smilingly embraced Senator Jesse Helms, renowned for his ultra-conservative stance. This was a high point in the thoroughgoing reverence the Republicans have shown him.

The Democrats barely acknowledged such conservative solidarity, since it was they who smoothed the way for the “liberal” god-king to reach a broad public. The American President, Bill Clinton, and his Vice-president, Al Gore, were initially reserved and ambivalent towards the Dalai Lama, whom they have met several times. The American government’s position is expressed unambiguously in a statement from 1994: „Because we do not recognize Tibet as an independent state, the United States does not conduct diplomatic relations with the self-styled the ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’“ it says there (Goldstein, 1997, p. 121).

But after several meetings with President Clinton and his wife Hillary the god-king was able to make a lasting impression on the presidential couple. Clinton committed himself as never before to resolving the question of Tibet. One of the major points of his trip to China (in 1998) was to encourage Jiang Zemin to take up contact with the Dalai Lama. Every western head of state who visits the Middle Kingdom now reiterates this, which has led to success: in the meantime the two parties (Beijing and Dharamsala) confer constantly behind closed doors.

In 1989 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel peace prize. The fact that he received this high accolade has less to do with the political situation in Tibet than, above all, the bloody events in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where numerous Chinese students protesting against the regime lost their lives. The West wanted to morally condemn China and the Tibet lobby was successful in proposing an honoring of His Holiness as the best means of doing so.

From now on the god-king possessed an international prominence like never before. The Oslo award could almost be said to have granted him a passport and access to the majority of world heads of state. There was hardly a president who still in the face of Chinese protests refused to officially receive the god-king, at least as a religious representative. In Ireland, France, Liechtenstein, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Russia, the USA, Canada, England, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Gabun, Australia, New Zealand, several South American countries — everywhere the “modest monk” was honored like a pontiff.

In 1996 the lobbyists succeeded in maneuvering Germany into a spectacular confrontation with China through the passing of a resolution Tibet in the Bundestag (the German lower house). The resolution was supported by all parties in parliament, be they green, left, liberal, or conservative. The paradoxical side to this move was that both the Dalai Lama and the Chinese were able to profit from it whilst the naïve Germans had to pay up. This coup represents the Kundun’s party’s greatest political success in the West to date. On the other hand, the Chinese succeeded in inducing the intimidated German federal government into continuing to grant China the much desired Hermes securities formerly refused them. For Beijing, with this agreement in hand, the question of Tibet in its relations with Germany was resolved for now. Even if we cannot speak of a direct cooperation here, according to the cui bonum principle the two Asian parties profited greatly by drawing an essentially uninvolved nation into the conflict.

The media management of the Kundun’s followers is by now perfect. Numerous offices in all countries, above all the Tibet Information Network (TIN) in London, supply the press with material about the serious shortcomings in the Land of Snows, life in the community of Tibetan exiles, and the activities of the god-king. There is successful cooperation with Chinese dissidents. Reports from Beijing, which admittedly can only be treated with great caution but nonetheless include much important information, are uniformly dismissed by Dharamsala as communist propaganda. This one-sidedness in the assessment of Tibetan affairs has in the meantime also been adopted by the western press corps.

For example, when at the invitation of the Chinese the German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, visited Lhasa as the first western head of government and afterwards announced that the situation in the Tibet capital was by no means so criminal as it was portrayed to be by the Dalai Lama’s office, he was lambasted in the media, who declared that he was prepared to sell his morals for financial considerations. But when he was there, the former American President Jimmy Carter, renowned for his great commitment to human rights, also gained the same impression (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 232).

The issue of Tibet has become an important means of anchoring Tantric Buddhism in the West. As a political issue it appears in the West to be completely divorced from any religious instrumentalization. The Kundun appears in public as a campaigner for peace, a democrat, a humanist, as an advocate of the oppressed. This skillfully adapted western/ethical “mixture” gains him unrestricted access to the highest levels of government. Although some politicians may see a confirmation of their ideals in the (ostensible) behavior of the Dalai Lama, fundamentally it is probably power-political motives which determine Western policy on Asia. The West’s relationship with China is namely extremely ambivalent. On the one hand there is a hope for good economic and political ties to the prospering country with its unbounded markets, on the other a deep-seated fear of a future Chinese superpower. The political situation in Tibet and the circumstances of the Tibetans in exile afford sufficient grounds to be employed as an argument against a potential Chinese imperialism.

The “Greens”:

In Germany the issue of Tibet was first taken up by green politicians, primarily by the parliamentary representatives Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian. Their pro-Tibetan intervention is still marked by a continuing success. “Major entertainers and environmentalists”, wrote the Spiegel magazine, “have found a common denominator in their commitment to the kingdom on the roof of the world. Hollywood meets Robin Hood — Tibet’s Buddhism is the common denominator” (Spiegel, 16/1998, p. 109). Petra Kelly’s selfless engagement was later interpreted as a form of “engaged Buddhism” whose principle concerns were said to include the defense of human rights, ecological responsibility, and sexual equality. [1] The Kundun cleverly co-opted all these western demands and suddenly (at the end of the eighties) appeared on the political stage as a spearhead of the global ecological movement.

"Green politics” and environmental issues have in the meantime attained a central place within the political propaganda of the Tibetans in exile. There are hundreds of conferences such as the one introduced by His Holiness in 1993 under the title of „Ecological responsibility: A dialog with Buddhism”. The Kundun is a member of the ecologically oriented Goal Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival. In 1992 he visited the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior. And at the „global forum” in Rio de Janeiro the Dalai Lama had far-reaching things to say about the earth’s problems: „This blue planet of ours is a delightful habitat. Its life is our life; its future our future. Indeed, the earth acts like a mother to all. Like children, we are dependent on them. ... Our Mother Earth is teaching us a lesson in universal responsibility”, the god-king announced emotionally. (

Since the late eighties it has become normal at international environmental meetings all around the world to describe the Tibet of old as an ecological paradise, where wild gazelles and “snow lions” eat from the monks’ hands, as the Dalai Lama’s brother (Thubten Jigme Norbu) put it at a Tibet conference in Bonn (in 1996). For thousands of years, it says in edifying writings, the Tibetans have revered plants and animals as their equals. “Historical” idylls such as the following are taken literally by innocently trusting Westerners: „The Tibetan traditional heritage, which is known to be over three thousand years old[!], can be distinguished as one of [the] foremost traditions of the world in which … humankind and its natural environment have persistently remained in perfect harmony” (Huber, 2001, p. 360).

What glowed in the past should also shine in the future. Accordingly many western followers of the Kundun imagine how the once flourishing garden will bloom again after his return to the Land of Snows. His Holiness is also generously accommodating towards this image of desire and promises to found the first ecological state on earth in a “liberated” Tibet — for many “Greens” a glimmer of hope in a world that constantly neglects its environmental responsibilities.

Today, among many committed members of the international “ecological scene”, being green, environmentally friendly, nature-loving, vegetarian, and Tibetan Buddhist, are all but identical. But is there any truth in such an equivalence? Was the Tibet of old really an “earthly garden of paradise”? Is the essence of Tantric Buddhism pro-nature and animal-loving?

Tibetan Buddhism’s hostility towards nature:

No complicated research is required to establish that the inhabitants of the Tibet of old, like all highlands peoples, had an ambivalent relationship with nature, in which fear and horror in the face of constant catastrophes (turns in the weather, cold, famines, accidents, illnesses) predominated. Nature, which was (and often still is) in fact experienced animistically as being inhabited by spirits, was only rarely a friend and partner; instead, most of the time it was a malevolent and destructive force, in many instances a terrifying demoness. We have presented some of these anti-human nature spirits in our chapter on Anarchy and Buddhism. Using violence, trickery, and magic they have to be compelled, tamed, and not unrarely killed.

In a comprehensive study (Civilized Shamans), the Tibet researcher Geoffrey Samuel has demonstrated that the violent subjugation of a wild nature is a drama constantly repeated within the Tibetan monastic civilization: beginning with the nailing down of the Tibetan primeval earth mother, Srinmo, by King Songtsen Gampo so as to erect the central shrines of the Land of Snows over her wounds, the construction of every Lamaist temple (no matter where in the world) was and is prefaced by a ritual that refreshes the dreadful stigmatization of the “earth mother”. Srinmo is undoubtedly the (Tibetan) emanation of “Mother Earth” or “Mother Nature” whom the Dalai Lama so emotionally pleads to rescue at international ecology congresses ("the earth acts like a mother to all”). It was the Kundun himself — if we take his doctrine of incarnation literally — who in the form of Songtsen Gampo many centuries ago nailed down “Mother Earth” (Srinmo). He himself laid the bloody foundations (the maltreated body of Srinmo) upon which his clerical and andocentric system rests. It is he himself who repeats this aggressive “taming act” at every public performance of the Kalachakra ritual: before a sand mandala is created, the local nature spirits (some interpreters say the earth mother Srinmo) are nailed to the ground with phurbas (ritual daggers).

The equation of nature with the feminine principle is an archetypical move that we find in most cultures. The Greek Gaia and Tibetan Srinmo are just two different names for the same divine substance of the earth mother. In European alchemy, nature is the starting point (the prima materia) for the magic experiments and likewise a principium feminile. We have examined the close interconnection of alchemy and Tantrism in detail and proved that in both systems the feminine principle is sacrificed for the benefit of a masculine experimenter. By adopting for ourselves the tantric way of seeing things in which everything is linked to everything else, we were able to recognize the nailing down of Srinmo (the symbol-laden primal event of Tibetan history) as the historical predecessor of the “tantric/alchemic female sacrifice”. Songtsen Gampo sacrificed the “earth mother” so as to acquire her energies for himself, just as every tantra master sacrifices his karma mudra so as to absorb her gynergy.

In recent decades numerous books have appeared that address the disrespect, enslavement, and dismemberment of nature by the modern scientific world view and technology. Many of the analyses, especially when they are the work of feminist authors, indicate that the destruction and control of nature are to be equated with the superiority of the masculine principle over the feminine, of the god over the goddess, in brief with the supremacy of patriarchy. This critical view of the history of oppression and exploitation of the scientific age has largely obscured the view of atavistic religions’ hostility towards nature, especially when these come from the east, like Tibetan Buddhism.

But Buddhist Tantrism, we would like to unreservedly claim, is hostile to nature and therefore ecologically hostile in principle, because it destroys the natural, sensual, and feminine sphere so as to render it useful for the masculine. Further, in the performance of his enlightenment rituals, every tantra master burns up all the natural components of his own human body and, parallel to this (on a macrocosmic level), the entire natural universe. From a traditional viewpoint nature consists of a checkered mixture of the different elements (fire, water, earth, air, ether). In Tantrism, however, fire destroys the other elementary constituents. In the final instance it is the “fiery” SPIRIT which subjugates everything else, but NATURE in particular. Let us recall that Avalokiteshvara, the incarnation father of the Dalai Lama, acts as the “Lord of Fire” and the Bodhisattva of our age.

Nor were the centers of civilization in former Tibet at all environmentally friendly. The Lhasa of tradition, for instance, capital of the Lamaist world, could hardly be described as an exemplary ecological site but rather, as a number of world travelers have reported, was until the mid-twentieth century one of the dirtiest cities on the planet. As a rule, refuse was tipped unto the street. The houses had no toilets. Everywhere, wherever they were, the inhabitants unburdened themselves. Dead animals were left to rot in public places. For such reasons the stench was so penetrating and nauseating that the XIII Dalai Lama felt sick every time he had to traverse the city. Nobles who stepped out usually held a handkerchief over their nose.

It is even more absurd to describe the Tibetan monastic society as a vegetarian culture. The production and consumption of meat have always been counted among the most important branches of the country’s economy (not least because of the climatic conditions). It is indeed true that a devout Tibetan may not kill an animal himself, but he is not forbidden from eating it. Hence the slaughter is performed by those of other faiths, primarily Moslems. The Kundun is also a keen meat eater, albeit, if one is to believe him, not out of enthusiasm but rather for health reasons. Anyone who is also aware of the great contempt Buddhism in general shows for being reborn as an animal can only wonder at such eco-paradisiacal-vegetarian retrospection now on offer in the “scholarly history” of the exiled Tibetans.

But by now the Tibetans in exile themselves gladly believe in such ecological fairytales. For them it is alone the brutal Chinese (whose behavior towards Mother Earth is no better nor worse than any other capitalist country, however) who are the villains and stand accused (in this instance rightly) of destroying the ancient forests of the country and because they pay high prices for aphrodisiacs won from the bones of the snow leopard. But there are also some factual objectors to the opinion that the Tibet of old was an eco-paradise. The Tibetans were never more ecologically aware than other peoples, writes Jamyan Norbu, co-director of the Tibetan Culture Institute in Dharamsala, and warns against dangerous myth making (Spiegel, 16/1998, p. 119).

Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian:

In this section, which we introduced with the two German “Greens”, Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian, we would like to draw attention to some interesting speculations in the Buddhist scene concerning the reunification of Germany. The Dalai Lama rarely becomes directly and openly involved in world politics aside from the issue of Tibet unless calling for peace in general. There are nevertheless numerous occult rumors in circulation among his followers that suggest him to be the political director of the world who holds the strings from “another dimension” in his hands. For example, there has been talk that the fall of the Berlin Wall was to be attributed to him. Among other things, the fact that at the exact point where the first break in the wall was created (a scene broadcast all around the world) there stood a graffiti reading Long Live Dalai Lama is offered as proof of this.

In fact, six months before the German reunification the Kundun had stood praying before the “wall of shame” with a candle in his hand. The pacifist, opponent of atomic energy, environmentalist and committed campaigner for the freedom of Tibet, Petra Kelly, had been able to motivate him to cross the East German border together with his entire retinue in December 1989. After the candle ceremony mentioned, the group were ferried to a Round Table discussion with citizens’ rights groups by the GDR state security service (the infamous Stasi, or secret police). [2]

The first break in the “fall of the wall” of Berlin. See the graffiti “Long live Dalai [Lama]”

Petra Kelly later described the situation as a political vacuum in which the democratic opposition presented the vision of transforming the former GDR into a non-aligned state without a military or nuclear weapons that would align itself with neither capitalist nor communist ideas. The Dalai Lama was assured that he would be the first guest of this new state and that Tibet’s autonomy would be recognized as the first act of foreign affairs. The German participants in this conversation regarded themselves as a kind of provisional government. All were said to have been deeply moved by the presence of His Holiness. “Only six months later, on 22 June 1990", writes Stephen Batchelor, “his prayer was answered when Checkpoint Charlie was 'solemnly dismounted'" (Batchelor, 1994, p. 378).

The Dalai Lama as a political magician who brought down the Berlin Wall with his prayers? Such conceptions lay the foundations for a “metapolitics” in which international events are influenced by symbolic actions. Petra Kelly probably thought along these lines; her extraordinary devotion to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause is otherwise hard to comprehend.

The pacifist was certainly uninformed about the Kalachakra Tantra’s aggressive/warlike core, the androcentric sexual magic of Tibetan Buddhism, and the dark chapters in the Tibetan and Mongolian history. Like thousands of others, she followed His Holiness’s charm and messages of peace and was blind to the gods of the Vajrayana’s obsessions with power at work through him. As she and her de facto, Gert Bastian, visited Dharamsala in 1988, they were both, despite having an eagle eye for every minor infringement of democracy in the German Federal Republic, “enormously impressed by the extremely democratic discussions” that had taken place in the parliament of the Tibetans in exile. This was a total misassessment of the situation — as we have already shown at length and as anyone who has the smallest insight into the inner political affairs of Tibetans in exile knows, their popular representation is a farce (Tibetan Review, January 1989, p. 15). But not for Petra Kelly — following her visit to Dharamsala she was so completely entranced by the Kundun’s charm and humane political mask that the issue of Tibet became for her the quintessential “moral touchstone of international politics” (Tibetan Review, July 1993, p. 19). In concrete terms, that meant the politicians our world stood at a threshold: if they supported the Dalai Lama they would be following the path of morality and virtue; if they turned against the Kundun or simply remained passive, then they would be steering down the road to immorality!

The green politician Petra Kelly completely failed to perceive the religiously motivated power politics and the tantric occultism of Dharamsala. Like many other women she became a female chess piece (a queen) in the Kundun’s game of strategy, one who opened doors to the German parliament and the upper political ranks for him.

The illusory world of interreligious dialog and the ecumenical movement:

Although dominated by culturally fixed images and rituals like every other religion, Tibetan Buddhism initially presents itself as a tradition that is tied to neither a culture, a society, nor a race. We hear from every lama that the teachings of the Shakyamuni Buddha consist exclusively in the experiences of each individual. Anybody can test their credibility in his or her own religious practices. Being of another non-Buddhist confession is no obstacle to such sacred exercises.

This, in the light of the tantric ritual system and the “baroque” Tibetan pantheon feigned, purist and liberal basic attitude allows His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama to present himself as being so tolerant and open minded that he has been celebrated for years as the “most open minded and liberal ecclesiastical dignitary” on the planet. His readiness to engage in dialog has all but become a catchphrase.

In now presenting the Kundun’s interreligious activities, we always have clearly in mind an awareness that at heart the entire Lamaist system is and wants to be incompatible with other faiths. Let us review the reasons for this once more, summarized in seven points. Tantric Buddhism, especially the Kalachakra Tantra and the associated Shambhala myth, includes:

1. The extermination of those of other faiths

2. A warlike philosophy of violence

3. Foundations for a neofascist ideology

4. Contempt for the person, the individual (in favor of the gods), and especially for women (in favor of the tantra masters)

5. The linking of religious and state power

6. World conquest and the establishment of a global Buddhocracy via manipulative and warlike means

In the face of these points the Kundun’s ecumenical activity remains a lie for as long as he continues to abide by the principles of the tantric ritual system and the ideological/political fundamentals of the Shambhala myth (and the associated grasp for the world throne). It is nonetheless of important tactical significance for him and has proved to be an excellent means of spreading the ideas of Lamaism all over the world without objection.

This indirect missionary method has a long tradition in Tibetan history. As Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) won the Land of Snows over to Tantrism in the 8th century, he never went on a direct offensive by openly preaching the fundamentals of the dharma. As an ingenious manipulator, he succeeded in employing the language, images, symbols, and gods of the local religions as a means of transporting the Indian Buddhism he had brought with him. The tribes to whom he preached were convinced that the dharma was nothing more than a clear interpretation of their old religious conceptions. They did not even need to give up their deities (even if these were most cruel) if they were to “convert” to tantric Buddhism, since Padmasambhava integrated these into his own system.

Even the Kalachakra Tantra, based on a marked and pervasive concept of the enemy, recommends the manipulation of those of other faiths. Surprisingly, the “Time Tantra” permits the performance of non-Buddhist rites by the tantra master. But there is an important condition here, namely that the mystic physiology of the practicing yogi (his energy body) with which he controls the entire occult/religious event remain stable and keep strictly and without deviation to the tantric method (upaya). Then, it says in the time doctrine, “no form of religion from the way of one’s own or a foreign people is corrupting for the yogis” (Grünwedel, Kalacakra II, p. 177). With this permission, the way is free for one to externally appear tolerant and open minded towards any religious direction without conflicting with the power-political goals of the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth that want to elevate Buddhism to be the sole world religion. In contrast, the feigned “religious tolerance” becomes a powerful means of surreptitiously promoting one’s own fundamentalism.

Where does this leave the ecumenical politics of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama? Interreligious discussions are one of the Kundun’s specialties; there is not a major world ecumenical event of significance where his negotiating presence is not evident. He is one of the presidents of the “World’s Parliament of Religions” in Chicago. The god-king tirelessly spreads the happy message that despite differing philosophies all religions have the same motive, the perfection of humans. „Whatever the differences between religions,” he explained in Madras in 1985, „all of them want man to be good. Love and compassion form the essence of any religion and these alone can bring people together and provide peace and happiness to humanity” (Tibetan Review, January 1985, p. 9).

Yet (he says) for the sake of quality one should not gloss over the differences between the religious approaches. It is not at all desirable that we end up with a uniform, overarching religion; that can not be the goal of the dialog. One should guard against a “religious cocktail”. The variety of religions is a outright necessity for the evolution of humankind. “To form a new world religion,” the Kundun says, “would be difficult and not particularly desirable. But since love is essential for all religions, one could speak of a universal religion of love. Yet with regard to the methods for developing love and for attaining salvation or permanent liberation the religions differ from one another ... The fact that there are so many different depictions of the way is enriching” (Brück and Lai, 1997, p. 520). In general, everyone should stick with the religion he or she was born into.

For him it is a matter of deliberate cooperation whilst maintaining autonomy, a dialog about the humanity common to all. In 1997 the god-king proposed that groups of various religious denominations undertake a pilgrimage to the holy places of the world together in order to learn from one another. The religious leaders of the world ought to come together more often, as “such a meeting is a powerful message in the eyes of millions of people” (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 14).


In the meantime, exchange programs between Tibetan Buddhist and Christian orders of monks and nuns have become institutionalized through a resolution of the Dalai Lama, with all four major lines of tradition among the Tibetans (Nyingmapa, Sakyapa, Kagyupa, and Gelugpa) participating. In the sixties, the American Trappist monk and poet, Thomas Merton (1906-1968), visited the Kundun in Dharamsala and summarized his experience together as follows: “I dealt primarily with Buddhists ... It is of incalculable value to come into direct contact with people who have worked hard their whole lives at training their minds and liberating themselves from passions and illusions” (Brück and Lai, 1997, p. 49).

In 1989 the god-king and the Benedictine abbot Thomas Keating led a gathering of several thousand Christians and Buddhists in a joint meditation in the West. The Kundun has visited Lourdes and Jerusalem in order to pray there in silent devotion. There is also very close contact between the Lutheran Church and the Council for Religious and Cultural Affairs of H.H. the Dalai Lama. At the so-called Naropa Conferences in Boulder, Colorado, topics such as “God” (Christian) and “Emptiness” (Buddhist), “Prayer” (Christian) and “Meditation” (Buddhist), “Theism” and “non-Theism”, the “Trinity” and the “Three Body Theory” are treated in dialog between Christians and Buddhists.

The comparison between Christ and Buddha has a long tradition (see Brück and Lai, 1997, pp. 314ff.). There are in fact many parallels (the virgin birth for example, the messianism). But in particular Mahayana Buddhism’s requirement of compassion allows the two founding figures to appear as representatives of the same spirit. Avalokiteshvara, the supreme Bodhisattva of compassion is thus often presented as a quasi-Christian archetype in Buddhism and also prayed to as such. This is naturally of great advantage to the Kundun, who is himself an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara and can via the comparison (of the two deities) lay claim to the powerful qualities of Christ’s image.

But His Holiness is extremely cautious and diplomatic in such matters. For a Buddhist, the Dalai Lama says, Christ can of course be regarded as a Bodhisattva, yet one must avoid claiming Christ for Buddhism. (Incidentally, Christ is named in the Kalachakra Tantra as one the “heretics”.) The Kundun knows only too well that an open integration of the archetype of Christ into his tantric pantheon would only lead to strong protests from the Christian side.

He must thus proceed with more skill if he wants to nonetheless integrate the Nazarene into his system as Padmasambhava once incorporated the local gods of Tibet. For example, he describes so many parallels between Christ and Buddha (Avalokiteshvara) that his (Christian!) audience arrive at the conclusion that Christ is a Bodhisattva completely of their own accord.

Just how successful the Kundun is with such manipulation is demonstrated by a conference held between a small circle of Christians and himself (in 1994), the proceedings of which are documented in the book, The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus. In that the god-king repeatedly and emphatically stressed at this meeting that he had not the slightest intention of letting Buddhism monopolize anybody or anything, he in fact had the opposite effect. The more tolerant and respectful towards other religions he showed himself to be, the more he convinced his listeners that Buddhism was indeed the one true faith. With this Catch 22, the Dalai Lama succeeded in emerging at the end of this meeting as a Buddhist super monk, who in himself combined all the qualities of the three most important Christian monastic orders: „He [the Dalai Lama] brings three qualities to a spiritual discourse,” the chief organizer of the small ecumenical event, a Benedictine, says, „traits so rare in some contemporary Christian circles as to have elicited grasps of relieved gratitude from the audience. These qualities are gentleness, clarity, and laughter. If there is something Benedictine about him, there is a Franciscan side as well and a touch of the Jesuit” (Dalai Lama XIV, 1997, pp. 16–17). The Kundun appeared to the predominantly Catholic participants at this interreligious meeting to be more Christian than the Christians in many points.


Richard Gere: “Jesus is very much accepted by the Tibetans, even though they don’t believe in an ultimate creator God. I was at a very moving event that His Holiness did in England where he lectured on Jesus at a Jesuit seminary. When he spoke the words of Jesus, all of us there who had grown up Christians and had often heard them before could not believe their power. It was ...” Gere suddenly chokes with emotion. For a few moments he just stares into the makeup mirror, waiting to regain his compusere. “When someone can fill such words with the depth meaning that they are intended to have, it’s like hearing them for the first time.” (Schell, 2000, p. 57)


Although the Dalai Lama indignantly rejects any monopolization of other religions by Buddhism, this is not at all true of his followers. In recent times an ever-expanding esoteric literature has emerged in which the authors “prove” that Buddhism is the original source of all religions. In particular there are attempts to portray Christianity as a variant of the “great vehicle” (Mahayana). Christ is proclaimed as a Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara who sacrificed himself out of compassion for all living creatures (e.g., Gruber and Kersten, 1994).

From the Tibetan point of view, the point of ecumenical meetings is not encounters between several religious orientations. [3] That would contradict the entire tantric ritual system. Rather, they are for the infiltration of foreign religions with the goal (like Padmasambhava) of ultimately incorporating them within its own system. On rare occasions the methods to be employed in such a policy of appropriation are discussed, albeit most subtly. Two conferences held in the USA in 1987 and 1992 addressed the central topic of whether the Buddhist concept of upaya ("adroit means”) could provide the instrument “for more relaxed dealings with the issue of truth in dialog (between Christians and Buddhists)” (Brück and Lai, 1997, p. 281) “More relaxed dealings with the issue of truth” — that can only mean that the cultic mystery of the sexual magic rites, the warlike Shambhala ideology, and the “criminal history” of Lamaism is either not mentioned at all at such ecumenical meetings or is presented falsely.

An 800-page work by the two theologists Michael von Brück and Whalen Lai (Buddhismus und Christentum [Buddhism and Christianity]) is devoted to the topic of the encounter between Buddhism and Christianity. In it there is no mention at all of the utmost significance of Vajrayana in the Buddhist scene, as if this school did not even exist. We can read page after page of pious and unhurried Mahayana statements by Tibetan lamas, but there is all but nothing said of their secret tantric philosophy. The terms Shambhala and Kalachakra Tantra are not to be found in the index, although they form the basis for the policy on religions of the Dalai Lama whom the authors praise at great length as the real star of the ecumenical dialog. We can present this “theologically” highbrow book as evidence of the subtle and covert manipulation through which the “totalistic paradigm” of Tibetan Buddhism is to be anchored in the west.

Only at one single incriminating point, which we have already quoted earlier, do the two authors let the cat out of the bag. In it they recommend that American intellectuals who feel attracted to Chinese Hua-yen Buddhism should instead turn to the Kundun as the only figure in a position to be able to establish a Buddhocracy: “Yet Hua-yen is no longer a living tradition. ... That does not mean that a totalistic paradigm could not be repeated, but it seems more sensible to seek this in the Tibetan-Buddhist tradition, since the Tibetan Buddhists have a living memory of a real 'Buddhocracy' and a living Dalai Lama who leads the people as a religious and political head” (Brück and Lai, 1997, p. 631). The authors thus believe, despite pages of feigned ecumenical Christianity, that a “totalistic paradigm” could be repeated in the future and recommend the god-king from Dharamsala as an example. They thus clearly and openly confirm the Buddhocratic vision of the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth, of which they themselves have not breathed a word.

The Kundun even seems to have succeeded in gaining access to the “immune” Judaism. After the Dalai Lama’s visit to Jerusalem (in 1996), groups were formed in Israel and the USA in which Jewish and Buddhist ideas were supposed to be brought together. A film has been made about the fate of the Israeli writer Rodger Kamenetz, who converted to Buddhism after he had visited the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and then set about reinterpreting his own religious roots in Buddhist terms. The so-called Bu-Jews (Buddhist Jews) are the most recent product of the Kundun’s politics of tantric conquest. They are hardly likely to be aware of the interlinkage between Tantric Buddhism and occult fascism that we have described in detail.

Islam (The Mlecchas):

In contrast Islam is proving more difficult for His Holiness than the Jews and Christians: “I can barely recall having a serious theological discussion with Mohammedans”, he said at the start of the eighties (Levenson, 1992, p. 288). This is only all to readily understandable in light of the apocalyptic battle between the Mlecchas (followers of Mohammed) and the Buddhist armies of the mythical general, Rudra Chakrin, prophesied in the Shambhala myth. A foretaste of this radical confrontation, which according to the Kalachakra prophecy awaits us in the year 2327, was to be detected as the Moslem Taliban in Afghanistan declared in 1997 that they would destroy the 2000-year-old statues of Buddha in Bamyan because Islam prohibited human icons. This could, however, be prevented under pressure from the world public who reacted strongly to the announcement. (We would like to mention in passing that the likenesses of Buddha carved into the cliffs of Bamyan, of which one figure is 60 yards high, are to be found in a region from which, in the opinion of reliable investigators like Helmut Hoffmann and John Ronald Newman, the Kalachakra Tantra originally comes.)

However, after being awarded the Nobel peace prize, the Kundun in his function as a world religious leader has revised his traditional reservation towards Islam. He knows that it is far more publicity-friendly if he also displays the greatest tolerance in this case. In 1998, he thus encouraged Indian Muslims to play a leading role in the discourse between the world religions. In the same, conciliatory frame of mind, in an interview he earlier expressed the wish to visit Mecca one day (Dalai Lama XIV, 1996b, p. 152). [4]

On the other hand however, His Holiness maintains very close contact with the Indian BJP (Bhatiya Janata Party) and the RSS (Rashtriya Svayam Sevak Sangh), two old-school conservative Hindu organizations (currently — in 1998 — members of the governing coalition) who proceed with all vigor against Islam. [5]

An honest renunciation of Tantric Buddhism’s hostility toward Islam could only consist in the Kundun’s clear distantiation from all the passages from the Kalachakra tradition that concern this. To date, this has — as far as we know — never happened.

In contrast, already today there are radical developments in the Buddhist camp that are headed for a direct confrontation with Islam. For example, the Western Buddhist “lama”, Ole Nydhal (a Kagyupa), is strongly and radically active in opposition to the immigration of Moslems to Europe.

As problematic as we perceive fundamentalist Islam to be, we are nonetheless not convinced that the Kalachakra ideology and the final battle with the Mlecchas (Mohammedans) prognosticated by the tantra can solve the conflict at the heart of the struggle between the cultures. A contribution to an internet-based discussion rightly described the idea of a Shambhala warrior as the Buddhist equivalent to the jihad, the Moslem “holy war”. Religious wars, which have the goal of eliminating the respective non-believers, have in fact, and for the West unexpectedly, become a threat to world peace in recent years. We return to this point in our conclusion, especially the question of whether the division of humanity into two camps — Buddhist and Islam — as predicted in the Kalachakra Tantra is just a fiction or whether it is a real danger.


Up until well into the eighties, the encounter with nature religions played a significant role for the Dalai Lama. There was at that stage a lot of literature that enthusiastically drew attention to the parallels between the North American culture of the Hopi Indians and Tibetan Buddhism. The same terminology was even discovered, just with the meanings reversed: for example, the Tibetan word for “sun” was said to mean “moon” in the language of the Hopi and vice versa, the Hopi sun corresponded to the Tibetan moon (Keegan, 1981, unnumbered). There are also said to be amazing correspondences among the rituals, especially the “fire ceremonies”.

For a time the idea arose that the Dalai Lama was the messiah announced in the Hopi religion. In the legend this figure had been a member of the “sun clan” in the mythical past and had left his Indian brothers so as to return in the future as a redeemer. “They wanted to tell me about an old prophecy of their people passed on from generation to generation,” His Holiness recounted, “in which one day someone would come from the east. ... They thought it could be me and had come to tell me this” (Levenson, 1992, p. 277).

In France in 1997 an unusual meeting took place. The spiritual representatives of various native peoples gathered there with the intention of founding a kind of international body of the “United Traditions” and presenting a common “charta” to the public. By this the attendees understood a global cooperation between shamanistic religions, still practiced all over the world, with the aim of articulating common rights and gaining an influence over the world’s conscience as the “circle of elders”. The Dalai Lama was also invited to this congress, organized by a Lamaist monastery in France (Karma Ling). Just how adroitly the organizers made him the focal figure of the entire event, which was actually supposed to be a union of equals, is shown by the subtitle of the book subsequently published about the event, The United Traditions: Shamans, Mecidine Men and Wise Women around the Dalai Lama. The whole scenario did in fact revolve around the Dalai Lama. Siberian shamans, North, South, and Central American medicine men (Apaches, Cheyenne, Mohawks, Shuars from the Amazon, and Aztecs), African voodoo priests (from Benin),Bon lamas, Australian Aborigines, and Japanese martial artists came together for an opening ceremony at a Vajrayana temple, surrounded “by the amazing beauty of the Tibetan décor” (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 31). The meeting was suddenly interrupted by the cry, “His Holiness, His Holiness!” — intended for the Dalai Lama who was approaching the meeting place. The shamans stood up and went towards him. From this point on he was the absolute center of events. There were admittedly mild distantiations before this, but only the Bon priests dared to be openly critical. Their representative, Lopön Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, strongly attacked Lamaism as a repressive religion that has persecuted the Bon followers for centuries. In answer to a question about his attitude to Tibetan Buddhism he replied, “Seen historically, a merciless war has in fact long been conducted between us two. … Between the 7th and the 20th century a good four fifths of Tibet was Buddhist. Sometimes this also meant violence: hence, in the 18th century, with the help of the Chinese, the Gelugpa carried out mass conversions in the border regions of Tibet which had long been inhabited by the Bon” (quoted by Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 141). Still today, the Bonpos are disadvantaged in many ways: “You should be aware, for instance, that non-Buddhist children do not see a penny of the money donated by international aid organizations for Tibetan children!” Nyima Rinpoche protested (quoted by Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 132).

But the Kundun knows how to deal with such matters. The next day he lets the Bon critic sit beside him, and declares the Bonpos to be “Tibet’s fifth school”. In his pride, Nyima Rinpoche forgot about any criticism or the history of the repression of his religion. The Dalai Lama takes the African voodoo representative, Daagpo Hounon Houna, in his arms and has a photo taken. The two book authors comment that, “Back home in Africa this picture will certainly receive great symbolic status” (Eersel and Grosley, 1998, p. 132). Then the Kundun says some moving words about “Mother Earth” he has learned from the New Age milieu and which as such do not exist in the Tibetan tradition: “These days we have too little contact to Mother Earth and in this we forget that we ourselves are a part of nature. We are cildren of nature, Mother Earth, and this planet is our only home” (quoted by Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 180). Let us recall that before the start of every Kalachakra ritual the earth spirits are nailed down with a ritual dagger. The Dalai Lama goes on to preach about the variety of races and the equality of the religions of the world. And he has already won the hearts of all. It is naturally his congress, he is the axis around which the “circle of elders” revolves.

Roughly in the middle of the book we suddenly learn that the delegates were invited in his name and that “without the support and the exceptional aura of His Holiness” nothing would have been possible (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 253). Even the high priest from Benin, who smuggled the remains of an animal sacrifice into the ritual temple that was, however, discovered and removed, accepts the Tibetan hierarch as the central figure of the meeting, saying “I therefore greet His Holiness the Dalai Lama around whom we have gathered here” (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 199). One of the organizers (Jean-Claude Carrière) sums things up: “That was actually the motor of this meeting. Here for the first time peoples, some of whom have almost vanished from the face of the earth, were asked to speak (and act) and they have recognized the likewise degraded, disowned, and exiled Dalai Lama as one of their own. It is barely imaginable how important it was for them to be able to bow before him and present him with a gift” (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 254). Tibetan Buddhism is becoming a catch-all for all religions: “If the meeting of the United Traditions took place in a Buddhist monastery, it is surely because the spirit of the Way of Buddha, as embodied by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, encourages such meetings. His presence alongside the elders and the role of unifier which was accorded him on the Day of the United Traditions, is in the same category as the suggestions that he made in front of the assembled Christians in 1994 …” (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 406). Thus Lamaism plays the tune to which those attending dance: “A more astonishing vision, in which we here, borne along by the songs and drums of the Tibetans, begin to ‘rotate’ along with the Asian shamans, African high priests, American and Australian men and women of knowledge” (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 176).

This meeting made two things apparent: firstly, that the traditions of the native peoples are fundamentally uninterested in a process of criticism or self-criticism, and secondly, that here too the Dalai Lama assumes spiritual leadership as a “king shaman”. A line from the joint closing prayer typifies the androcentric spirit of the “circle of elders”: “God our Father, we sacrifice and dedicate to you our Mother the Earth” (Eersel and Grosrey, 1998, p. 413). This says it all; even if a few women participate the council of elders remains a “circle of patriarchs”, and the female sacrifice which we have identified as the central mystery of Tantric Buddhism also essentially determines the traditional systems of ritual of the shamans gathered in France.

The occult scene and the New Age:

What then is the relationship like between the Dalai Lama and the so-called esoteric scene, which has spread like a bomb all over the West in recent years? In relations with various traditional occult sects (the Moonies, Brahmakumaris, Scientologists, Theosophists, Roerich groups) who in general do not enjoy a good name in the official press His Holiness is often more tolerant and intimate than the broad public realizes. We have already reported extensively about his connection to Shoko Asahara’s AUM sect. He also maintains lively contact with Theosophists of the most diverse schools. A few years ago His Holiness praised and introduced a collection of Madame Blavatsky’s writings with a foreword.

But it is his relationship with the religious subculture that became known worldwide as the New Age Movement which is of decisive significance. Already at the start of the seventies the youth protest movement of 1968 was replaced by the spiritual practices of individuals and groups, the left-wing political utopia of a classless society by a vision of the “community of the holy”. All the followers of the New Age saw themselves as members of a “soft conspiracy” that was to prepare for the “New Age of Aquarius” and the appearance of messianic saviors (often from non-European cultures). Every conceivable school of belief, politico-religious viewpoint and surreal fantasy was gathered up in this dynamic and creative cultural current. At the outset the New Age movement displayed a naive but impressive independence of the existing religious traditions. It was believed one could select the best from all cultic mysteries — those of the Indians and American Indians, the Tibetans, Sufis, the Theosophists, etc. — in order to nonchalantly combine it with one’s own spiritual experiences and further develop it in the sense of a spiritual and peaceful global community. Even traditionally based gurus from the early phase like Rajneesh Baghwan from India or the Tibetan, Chögyam Trungpa, were able to accept this “spiritual liberalism” and combined their hallowed initiation techniques with all manner of methods drawn from the modern western tradition, especially with those of therapeutic psychology. But after only a few years of creative freedom, the orthodox ecclesiastical orientations and atavistic sects who put this “mystic-original potential” to use for their own ends, indeed vitally needed it for their own regeneration, prevailed in the New Age movement.

Buddhism was intensively involved in this process (the incorporation of the New Age) from the outset. At first the influence of Japanese Zen predominated, however, two decades later Tibetan Lamaism succeeded in winning over ever more New Age protagonists. The fact that since the 19th century Tibet has been the object of western fantasies, onto which all conceivable occult desires and mystic hopes have been projected, certainly helped here. The Theosophic vision of omnipotent Mahatmas who steer the fate of the world from the heights of the Himalayas has developed into a powerful image for non-theosophical religious subcultures as well.

For the Fourteenth Dalai Lama the New Age Movement was both the primary recruiting field for western Buddhists and the gateway to mainstream society. The double character of his religion, this mixture of Buddhocratic officialese and the anarchistic drop-out that we have depicted earlier, was of great advantage to him in his skilled conquest of the spiritual subculture. Then the “children of the Age of Aquarius”, who conceived of themselves as rebels against the existing social norms (their anarchic side) and were not infrequently held up to ridicule by the bourgeois public, also on the other hand battled fiercely for social recognition and the assertion of their ideas as culturally acknowledged values. A visit by the Dalai Lama lent their events considerable official status, which they would not otherwise have had. They invested much money and effort to achieve this. Since the Dalai Lama was only very rarely received by state institutions before the late eighties but nonetheless saw extended travels as his political duty, the material resources of the New Age scene likewise played an important role for him. “He opens Buddhist centers for New Age nouveau riche protagonists”, wrote the Spiegel, “whose respectability he cannot always be convinced about” (Spiegel 16/1998, p. 111). Up until the mid eighties, it was small esoteric groups who invited him to visit various western countries and who paid the bills for his expenses afterwards — not the ministers and heads of state in Bonn, Madrid, Paris, Washington, London, and Vienna.

Such an arrangement suited the governments well, since they did not have to risk falling out with China by committing themselves to a visit by the Dalai Lama. On the other hand, the exotic/magic aura of the Kundun, the “living Buddha” and “god-king”, has always exercised a strong attraction over Society. Hardly anyone who had a name or status (whether in business, politics, the arts, or as nobility) could resist this charming and “human” arch-god. To be able to shake the hand of the “yellow pontiff” and “spiritual ruler from the roof of the world” and maybe even chat casually with him has always been a unique social experience. Thus, on these somewhat marginalized New Age trips, time and again “secret” meetings took place “on the side “ with the most varied heads of state and also very famous artists (Herbert von Karajan for example), who let themselves be enchanted by the smile and the exoticism of the Kundun. Countless such unofficial meetings laid the groundwork for the Kundun’s Great Leap into the official political sphere, which he finally achieved at the end of the eighties with the Tibet Lobby and the award of the Nobel peace prize (1989).

Since then, it has been the heads of state, the famous stars, the higher ranks of the nobility, the rectors of the major universities, who receive the Tibetan Kalachakra master with much pomp and circumstance. The intriguing, original but naive New Age Movement no longer exists. It was rubbed out between the various religious traditions (especially Buddhism) on one side and the “bourgeois” press (the so-called “critical public”) on the other. For all the problems this spiritual heir and successor to the movements of 1968 had, it also possessed numerous ideas and life practices which were adequate for a spiritually based culture beyond that of the extant religious traditions. But the bourgeois society (from which the “Children of the Age of Aquarius came) had neither recognized nor acted upon this potential. In contrast, the traditional religions, but especially Buddhism, reacted to the New Age scene with great sensitivity. They had experienced the most dangerous crisis in their decline in the sixties and they needed the visions, the commitment, and the fresh blood of a young and dynamic generation in order to survive at all. Today the New Age is passé and the Kundun can distance himself ever further from his old friends and move over into the establishment completely.

In the following chapter we shall show just how decisive a role the Kundun played in the conservative process of resorption (of the New Age). He succeeded, in fact, in binding the intellectual and scientific elite of the New Age Movement to his own atavistic system. These were both young and elder western scientists trained in the classic disciplines (nuclear physics, chemistry, biology, neurobiology) who endeavored to combine their groundings in the natural sciences with religious and philosophical presentations of the subject, whereby the Eastern-influenced doctrines became increasingly important. This international circle of bold thinkers and researchers, who include such well-known individuals as Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, David Bohm, Francisco Varela, and Fritjof Capra, is our next topic. A further section of the New Age scene now serve as his dogsbodies through their commitment to the issue of Tibet, and are spiritual rewarded from time to time with visits from lamas and retreats.
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Modern science and Tantric Buddhism:

In 1939 in a commentary on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the great psychologist Carl Gustav Jung wrote to the effect that to practice yoga on the 5th Avenue or anywhere else that could be reached by telephone would be a spiritual joke. Jung was convinced that the ancient yoga practices of Tibetan Tantrism was incompatible with the modern, scientifically and technologically determined, western world view. For him, the combination of a telephone and Tibet presented a paradox. “The telephone! Was there no place on earth where one could be protected from the curse”, a west European weary of civilization asks in another text, and promptly decides to journey to Tibet, the Holy Land, in which one can still not be reached by phone (Riencourt, 1951, pp. 49-50). Yet such yearning western images of an untouched Tibet are deceptive. Just one year after Jung’s statement (in 1940) the Potala had its own telephone line.

But there were also other voices in the thirties! Voices that dared to make bold comparisons between modern technical possibilities and the magic powers (siddhis) of Tantrism: Evans-Wentz, for example, the famous translator of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, enthuses about how “As from mighty broadcasting stations, the Great Ones broadcast over the earth that Vital Spirituality which alone makes human evolution possible” (Evans-Wentz, 1978, p. 18). These “Great Ones” are the Maha Siddhas ("Grand Sorcerers”) who are in hiding in the Himalayas (in Shambhala) and can with their magic reach out and manipulate every human brain as they will.

In the last thirty years Tibetan Buddhism has built up a successful connection to the modern western age. From the side of the “atavistic” religion of Tibet there is no longer any fear of contact with the science and technology of the West. All the information technologies of the Occident are skillfully and abundantly employed by Tibetan monks in exile and their western followers. There are countless homepages preaching the dharma (the Buddhist teaching) on the internet. The international jet set includes lamas who fly around the globe visiting their spiritual centers all over the world.

But Tibetan Buddhism goes a step further: the monastic clergy does not just take on the scientific/technical achievements of the West, but attempts to render them epistemologically dependent on its Buddhocratic/tantric world view. Even, as we shall soon show, the Kundun is convinced that the modern natural sciences can be “Buddhized”. This is much easier for the Buddhists than the Moslems for example, who are currently pursuing a similar strategy with western modernity. The doctrine of Mohammed is a revelatory religion and has been codified in a holy book, the Koran. The Koran is considered the absolute word of God and forms the immutable foundation of Islamic culture. It proves itself to be extremely cumbersome when attempts are made to subsume the European scientific disciplines within this revelatory text.

In contrast, Tibetan Buddhism (and also the Kalachakra Tantra) is based upon an abstract philosophy of “emptiness” which as the most general of principles can “include” everything, even western culture. “Everything arises out of shunyata (the emptiness)!” — with this fundamental statement, which we still have to discuss, the Lamaist philosophical elite gains access to the current paradigm discussion which has had European science holding its breath since Heisenberg’s contribution to quantum theory. What does this all mean?

"Paradigms gain their status,” Thomas Kuhn writes in his classic work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, „because they are more successful than their competitors in solving a few problems that the group of practitioners has come to recognize as acute.” (Kuhn, 1962, p. 23). In his statement, Kuhn takes a scientific paradigm dispute (between “theories”) as his starting point, but at the same time opens the door for articles of faith, since in his investigation a paradigm does not need to explain all its assumptions. In very general terms, we can thus understand the basic foundations of a human culture, be they of a scientific or a religious nature, as a paradigm. The dogma as to whether it is a god or a goddess who stands at the beginning of creation is thus just as much a paradigm as René Descartes’ assumption of the separation of the thinking mind (res cogitans) from extended matter (res extensa), or the principle of natural causation of Newtonian physics. Just like the believers in the tantric Shambhala myth, traditional Christians who accept the doctrinal status of the Apocalypse of St. John interpret human history according to an eschatological, intentional paradigm. In both systems, all historical events are directed towards a final goal, namely the coming of a messiah (Christ or Rudra Chakrin) and the staging of a final battle between believers and unbelievers. The future of humanity is thus fixed for all time. In contrast, western historicism sees history purely as the interplay of various causes that together produce an open-ended, undecided future. It thus follows a causal paradigm. A democracy holds the principle of the freedom and equality of all people as its guiding paradigm, whereas a theocracy or Buddhocracy recognize the omnipotence of a god or, respectively, Buddha as the highest principle of their system of governance.

New paradigms first come to the fore in a society’s cultural awareness when the old dominant paradigmatic fundamentals come into crisis. The western world is currently being shaken by such a paradigmatic crisis. According to contemporary critics, the scientific “Age of Reason” in alignment with the ideas of René Descartes and Isaac Newton is no longer able to cope with the multiplex demands of a postmodern society. Neither is the mechanistic world view with the causal principle of classical physics sufficient to apprehend the complexity of the universe, nor does western “rationalism” help meaningfully organize human and natural life. “Reason” for instance, as the undisputed higher principle reigned over the emotions, intuition, vision, religiousness, erotic love, indeed even over humanism. The result has been a fundamental crisis of meaning and epistemology. Citing Oswald Spengler, some commentators talk of the Fall of the West.

Hence proposals for the new, “postmodern” paradigms of the third millennium have been discussed everywhere in recent years at conferences and symposia (not least in New Age circles). For example, rather than trying to explain nature through linear-causal models, as in Newtonian physics, one can consider holistic, synchronic, synergetic, ecological, cybernetic, or micro/macrocosmic structures.

Such new models revolutionize perception and thought and are easier to name than to put into socially integrated practice. For a paradigm shapes reality as such to conform with its foundations, it “objectifies” it, so to speak, in its image; in other words (albeit only after it has been culturally accepted) it creates the “objective world of appearances “, that is, people perceive reality through the paradigmatic filter of their own culture. A paradigm shift is thus experienced by the traditional elements of a society as a kind of loss of reality.

For this reason, as the foundations of a culture paradigms are not so easily shaken. In order to abandon the “outdated” Newtonian world view of classical physics, for example, the reality-generating bases of its thinking (above all the causal principle) would have to be relativized. But this — as Kuhn has convincingly argued — does not necessarily require that the new (postmodern, post-Newtonian) paradigm deliver an updated and more convincing scientific proof or a rational explanation, rather, it is sufficient for the new world view to appear better in total than the old one. To put it bluntly, this means that it is the most powerful and not necessarily the most reasonable paradigm that after its cultural establishment becomes the best and is thus accepted as the basis of a new culture.

Hence every paradigm change is always preceded by a deadly power struggle between various world views. Deadly because once established, the victorious paradigm completely disables its opponents, i.e., denies them any paradigmatic (or reality-explaining) significance. Ptolemy’s cosmological paradigm ("the sun rotates around the earth”) no longer has, after Copernicus ("the earth orbits the sun”), any reality-generating meaning. Thus, in the Copernican era the Ptolemaic views are at best considered to still be imaginary truths but are no longer capable of explaining reality. To take another example — for a Tibetan lama, what a positivist scientist refers to as reality is purely illusory (samsara), whilst the other way around, the religious world of the lama is a fantastic, if not outright pathological illusion for the scientist.

The crisis of western modernity (the rational age) and the occidental discussions about a paradigm shift primarily have nothing to do with Buddhism, they are a cultural event that arose at the beginning of the twentieth century in scientific circles in Europe and North America and a result of the critical self-reflection of western science itself. It was primarily prominent representatives from nuclear physics who were involved in this process. (We shall return to this point shortly.) Atavistic religious systems with their questionable wisdoms are now pouring into the “empty” and “paradigmless” space created by the self-doubt and the “loss of meaning “ of the modern western age, so as to offer themselves as new paradigms and prevail. In recent decades they have been offering their dogmas (which were abandoned during the Enlightenment or “age of reason”) with an unprecedented carefree freshness and freedom, albeit often in a new, contemporary packaging.

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is just one of many (coming from the East) who present themselves and their spiritual meaning to the West as its savior in great need, but he is particularly adroit at this. Of course, neither the sexual magic doctrines of the Kalachakra Tantra nor the military ideology of the Shambhala myth are to be found in his public teachings (about the new paradigm), just the epistemological discourse of the two most important Buddhist philosophical schools (Madhyamika and Yogachara) and the compassionate, touching ethic of Mahayana Buddhism.

One must, however, admit without reservation that the Buddhist epistemological doctrine makes its entry into the western paradigm discussion especially easy. No matter which school, they all assume that an object is only manifest with the perception of the object. Objectivity (reality) and subjective perception are thus inseparable, they are in the final instance identical. This radical subjectivism necessarily leads to the philosophical premise that all appearances in the exterior world have no “inherent existence” but are either produced by an awareness (in the Yogachara school) or have to be described as “empty” (as in the Madhyamika school).

We are dealing here with two epistemological schools of opinion which are also not unknown in the West. The Buddhist Madhyamika philosophy, which assumes the “emptiness” (shunyata) of all being, could thus win for itself a substantial voice in the Euro-American philosophical debate. For example, the thesis of the modern logician, Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), that all talk of “God” and the “emptiness” is nothing more than “word play”, has been compared with the radical statement of the Madhyamika scholar, Nagarjuna (2nd to 3rd century), that intellectual discourse is a “word play in diversity” (Brück and Lai, 1997, p. 443). [6]

Further, the Yogachara school ("everything is awareness”) is presented as a Buddhist witness for the “quantum theory” of Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976). The German nuclear physicist introduced the dependence of “objective” physical processes upon the status of an (observing) subject into the scientific epistemological debate. Depending upon the experimental arrangement, for example, the same physical process can be seen as the movement of non-material waves or as the motion of subatomic particles (uncertainty principle). Occult schools of all manner of orientations welcomed Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as a confirmation of their proposed spiritualization (subjectification) of all being and celebrated his observations as a “scientific” confirmation of their “just spirit” theories. ("Reality is dependent on the observing subject”).

Even the Fourteenth Dalai Lama speaks nonchalantly about Heisenberg’s theory and the subjectivity of atomic worlds: „Thus certain phenomena in physics”, we hear from the man himself, „are sometimes described as electromagnetic waves and on other occasions as particles. The description of the phenomenon thus seems to be very dependent upon the describer. Thus, in science we also find this concrete relationship to spirit, to the observing spirit which attempts to describe the phenomenon. Buddhism is very rich regarding the description of the spirit ... " (Dalai Lama XIV, 1995, p. 52).

Surprisingly, such epistemological statements by the Kundun, which have in the meantime been taken up by every esoteric, are taken seriously in scientific circles. Even eminent authorities in their subject like the German particle physicist and philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker who was one of the leading theoretical founding fathers of the atomic bomb are enthusiastic about the self-assurance with which the god-king from Tibet chats about topics in quantum theory, and come to a far-reaching conclusion: „I [von Weizsäcker] therefore believe that modern physics is in fact compatible with Buddhism, to a higher degree than one may have earlier imagined” (Dalai Lama XIV, 1995, 11).

On the other hand, in a charming return gesture the Kundun describes himself as the „pupil of Professor von Weizsäcker. ... I myself regard ... him as my teacher, my guru” (Dalai Lama XIV, 1995, p. 13), and at another point adds, “The fact is that the concepts of atoms and elementary particles is nothing new for Buddhism. Since the earliest times our texts speak of these and mention even more subtle particles. ... After numerous conversations with various researchers I have realized that there is an almost total correspondence between that which I from a Buddhist standpoint refer to as the subtle insubstantiality of material phenomena, and that which the physicists express in terms of constant flux and levels of fluctuation” (Levenson, 1992, pp. 246-247). In the cosmogony of the Kalachakra Tantra there is talk of “space particles” that contain the core of a new world after the destruction of a universe. One could see a parallel to the atomic structure of matter here.

It is somewhat bold of the Dalai Lama to describe a passage from the Kalachakra Tantra, where one can read that after the fiery downfall of the Buddhist universe “galactic seeds” remain, as an anticipation of western nuclear science. This would imply that centuries ago Buddhism had formulated what is now said by the elite of western science. The atomic theory of the Greek philosopher Democritus (around 460–370 B.C.E.), who lived 1500 years before the Kalachakra Tantra was written, has much more right to this status. At any rate such retrospective statements by the Kundun have the job of presenting his own (Buddhist) system as earlier, superior and more comprehensive than western culture. They are made with the power-political intention of anchoring the atavistic Kalachakra doctrine (the textbook for his tantric conquest of the world) as the paradigm for the new millennium.

The issue with such outwardly harmless conclusions by the Kundun ("The Kalachakra Tantra already knew about particle physics”) is that they are thus part of a sublime power strategy on a spiritual level, not necessarily whether or not they are true. (We recall once more Kuhn’s thesis that a paradigm need not be rationally proven, but rather solely that it must have the power to prevail over its opponents).

And the Dalai Lama has success with his statements! It surprises ones afresh every time with what self-assurance he and his lamas intervene in the current crisis in western thought with their epistemological models and ethical (Mahayana) principles and know how to sell all this as originality. In this way the great Tibetan scholars of past centuries are evaluated by the Dalai Lama’s American “mouthpiece”, Robert Thurman, as more important and wide-reaching than their European “colleagues”. They were “Hero Scientists: they have been the quintessential scientists of that non materialistic civilization [of Tibet]" (quoted by Lopez, 1998, p. 81). As “psychonauts”, in contrast to the western “astronauts”, they conquered inner space (quoted by Lopez, 1998, p. 81). But the “guiding lights” of modern European philosophy like Hume and Kant, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, Hegel and Heidegger — Thurman goes on to speculate — will prove in a later age to have been the line holders and emanations of the Bodhisattva of science, Manjushri (Lopez 1998, p. 264). Ex oriente lux is now also true for the science of the occident.

In this, it is all too often overlooked from a western side that alongside the dominant materialist and mechanistic world view (of Newton and Descartes) there is an accompanying and unbroken metaphysical tradition in Europe which has been constantly further developed, as in German Idealism with all its variations. The classic European question of whether our world consists of mind and subjectivity rather than of matter and extended bodies has today been skillfully linked by Eastern-oriented philosophers to the question of whether the world conforms to the Buddhist epistemological paradigm or not.

The paradigmatic power struggle of the lamas is not visible from the outside but is rather disguised as interdisciplinary dialog, as in the annual “Mind and Life” symposia, in which the Dalai Lama participates with well-known western scientists. But is this really a matter of, as is constantly claimed, a “fruitful conversation” between Buddhism and contemporary science? Can Tibetan culture really, as is claimed in the Tibetan Review, offer answers to the questions of “western epistemologists, neurologists, physicists, psychoanalysts and other scientists”? (Tibetan Review, August 1990, p. 10).

We are prepared to undeservedly claim that a “rational” and “honest” discourse between the two cultures does not nor ever has taken place, since in such encounters the magic, the sexual magic practices, the mythology (of the gods), the history, the cosmology, and the political “theology” of Buddhist Tantrism remain completely omitted as topics. But together they all constitute the reality of Tibetan culture, far more than the epistemological theories of Yogachara or the Madhyamika philosophy, or the constant professions of love of Mahayana Buddhism do. That which awaits humanity if it were to adopt the paradigm of Vajrayana, would be the gods and demons of the Tibetan pantheon and eschatology and cosmogony laid out in the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth.

Buddhist cosmogony and the postmodern world view:

In every paradigmatic conflict, the determination of a cosmogony has pride of place. What does our world look like, is it round or quadratic, a disc or a sphere, a center or part of the periphery, is it the result of a big bang or the seven-day work of a demiurge? The Orientalist John Wanterbury from Princeton fears for example that Islamic fundamentalism could lead to a “new age of flat earthism”. By “flat earthism” he means that the people from the Moslem cultures will start to believe again that the Earth is a disc (as the Koran teaches) and that every dissident opinion will be condemned as heresy. Should the Kalachakra Tantra and the Buddhist cosmology of Abhidharma associated with it become firmly paradigmatically established, we face something similar: a universe with Mount Meru in the middle, surrounded by the twelve continents and the planets orbiting it.

Such a model of the world contradicts the scientific discoveries of the West far more than the Ptolemaic system supplanted by Nicholas Copernicus, in which the sun circles the Earth. But how does His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama react to the incompatibility of the two world systems (the Buddhist and the western one)? He appears in this case to be prepared to make a revision of the tantric cosmology. Also with the justification that everything arises from the emptiness, we may read that „I feel that it is totally compatible with the basic attitude of Buddhism to refute the literal interpretation of Abhidharma that says the earth is flat, because it is incompatible with the direct experience of the world as being round.” (Hayward, 1992, p. 37)

This statement is, however, in stark contradiction to the doctrine of the Kalachakra Tantra, the entire cosmogonic design of which is aligned with the Abhidharma model. Yet more — since the microcosmic bodily structure of the tantra master simulates the macrocosmic world with Mount Meru at its center and the surrounding continents and oceans, a change in the tantric cosmology means that the mystic body of the Dalai Lama (as the supreme Kalachakra master) must also be transformed. This is simply inconceivable, since our modern cosmology rejects any anthropomorphic form of outer space! Also, with a fundamental rejection of the Abhidharma, the whole Kalachakra system would lose its sense as the synchronic connection between the yogi’s body and the cosmic events of Buddhist “evolution”. Consequently, up until now all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism have stuck strictly to the traditional cosmogony (and its correspondence in the mystic body). Besides the sand mandala of the Time Tantra (which also represents the Buddhist universe) Tibetan monks far more frequently construct the so-called Meru mandala. This, as its name suggests, is a likeness of the Buddhist cosmos in miniature with the world mountain Meru as its central axis.

When the Dalai Lama, who institutes no fundamental changes in the ritual system of Tantric Buddhism, says in public that the cosmology of the Abhidharma is in need of revision, then this definitely does not seem to be intended sincerely. More likely one must be prepared for his radical subjectivist epistemology ("everything is awareness, everything arises from emptiness”) to suspend the natural scientific world as illusion (samsara) at any moment and replace it with the fantastic model of the world from the Abhidharma which it is capable of making appear sensible and “rational”. From a tantric point of view, cosmogonies do not possess any objectivity of their own, rather they are ultimately the result of subjective conceptions; this is of course also true of the Copernican system. Kalu Rinpoche, the Kagyu master of the Kalachakra Tantra whom we have already often cited , has clearly expressed this dependency of space upon an appropriate awareness in the following words: “Each of these cosmologies is perfect for the being whose karmic projections lead them to experience their universe in this way. There is a certain relativity in the way in which one experiences the world. ... Hence, on a relative level every cosmology is valid. At an ultimate level, no cosmology is absolutely true. It cannot be universally valid as long as there are beings in fundamentally differing situations” (Brauen, 1992, p. 109). But that also means that the cosmology of the Abhidharma would become obligatory for all should the world be converted to Buddhism after the final Shambhala battle as the Kalachakra Tantra predicts.

The yogi as computer:

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is especially interested in the phenomenon of artificial intelligence. Since the mind is independent of the body in the Buddhist teachings, a pattern of spiritual synapses so to speak, he is of the opinion that it is possible for it to be reborn not just in people but also in machines: „I can’t totally rule out the possibility that,” the god-king says, „that all the external conditions and the karmic action were there, a stream of consciousness might actually enter into a computer. […] There is a possibility that a scientist who is very much involved his whole life [with computers], than the next life [he would be reborn in a computer], same process! [laughter] Then this machine which is half-human and half-machine has been reincarnated.” (Hayward, 1992, p. 152) (Hayward, 1992, p. 152). In answer to a subsequent question by Eleanor Rosch, a well-known cognitive psychologist from California, as to whether a great yogi who stood before the best computer in the world would be able to project his subtle consciousness into it, His Holiness replied enigmatically: „I feel this question about computers will be resolved only by time. We just have to wait and see until it actually happens.” (Hayward, 1992, p. 153).

His Holiness casually grounds the possibility of taking the computer as a model for the spirit through a reference to an ancient magical practice of Tibetan Buddhism. This is known as Trongjug and involves a yogi transplanting his consciousness into a “freshly” deceased cadaver and then using this reanimated corpse for his own purposes (Evans-Wentz, 1937, p. 184). „In this case”, His Holiness says, „there is a total change of the body. [...] It’s very mystical, but imagine a person, a Tantric practitioner who actually transfers his consciousness to a fresh corpse. His previous body is dead; it has left and is finished. Now he has entered the new body. So in this case, you see, he has a completely new body but it’s the same life, the same person” (Hayward, 1992, p. 155). Images of this kind can be translated into computer terms without father ado: The “fresh corpse” forms the hardware so to speak, which stores the awareness of the Tantric who uses the dead body for his own ends as software.

In addition, such Tantric Buddhist speculations can lead one to perceive a subjectivity independent of humans in the “Internet” and “cyberspace”, a kind of superconscious. Could not the spirit of the supreme Kalachakra master, independent of a human body, one day control the international network of all computers from the inside? As fantastic and uncanny as it may sound, it is at any rate a theoretical possibility within the tantric system that such a question be answered with a yes. For this reason it is also taken seriously in exile Tibetan lama circles, by the Namgyal institute for example. The Namgyal monks are essentially commissioned to conduct the Kalachakra Tantra and are under the direct authority of the Dalai Lama. This institution can also be described as a kind of Tantric Buddhist “elite university”.

On February 8, 1996, His Holiness’s tantra institute posted a “Curriculum on Cyberspace” online. This document is of interest in as far as it is about the occult relationship between Tantrism, especially the Kalachakra Tantra, and the Internet. We would therefore like to cite several lengthier passages from it: “Cyberspace is a dimension of space sustained by networked computers designed to extend the power of the mind. Remarkably, the Internet often appears almost mystically to have a life of its own that is more than the sum of its parts. Mental projections can of course yield both positive and negative uses and results. Tibetan Buddhism, known for its mastery of the mind, has an area of concentration called ‘tantra’ that specializes in bringing spiritual motivation to the realm of mental projections …” (Namgyal, HPI 012). From this, the authors continue, follows the need to have a Buddhist influence upon the net, to bless it and purify it.

The document continues as follows: the monks of the Namgyal Institute, “the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama, [were asked] to discuss whether the blessing of cyberspace would be possible. They enthusiastically responded, noting that one tantric system in particular, the Kalachakra Tantra, … would be highly appropriate as a blessing vehicle because it especially emphasizes space … Coincidentally, the Kalachakra is also the most widely disseminated of the Tibetan Buddhist tantric systems…” (Namgyal, HPI 012). Cyberspace, we also learn, could be used as the vehicle for a tantric projection (i.e., of the Kalachakra Tantra).

Thus the Namgyal Institute conducted the first Kalachakra cyberspace blessing with a ritual on February 8, 1996: “The actual ceremony took about 30 minutes and consisted of the monks chanting blessing prayers from the Kalachakra Tantra while envisioning space as cyberspace, the networked realm of computers, in their imagination. An image of the Kalachakra mandala, actually a scanned photo of a sand painting made earlier by the monks, was present on a computer as a visual aid … Future cyberspace blessings will likely be offered at other auspicious times …” (Namgyal, HPI 012). It should be obvious that the monks’ prayers contained the constantly recited Mahayana wish to help all living beings. The vision of a global Buddhocracy discussed in the Kalachakra Tantra, however, is not openly mentioned. [7]

There is something both fascinating and frightening about Buddhist theoreticians and even the Dalai Lama depicting Tantrism as the potential awareness of a world-spanning megacomputer. In this an identity of the ADI BUDDHA as a global superbrain is implicit. Does it perhaps have something to do with this Buddhist vision that His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama made himself available for an advertisement by the computer manufacturer, Apple? (Spiegel, 16/1998). [8]

In reading the literature about the structures of consciousness and their relation to computer technology, it is notable that “tantra” and “net” are frequently compared with one another, not just because the Sanskrit word “tantra” can be translated as “something woven” or “network”, but because the two systems are somehow presumed to be fundamentally related. Surprisingly even such a complex thinker as the astrophysicist and systems theorist Erich Jantsch –probably out of ignorance of the matter — has (in the late seventies) equated the principle of “cybernetic leaning processes” with Tantrism (Jantsch, 1982, p. 324).

In October 1987, a small group of well-known Western scientists headed by Francisco Varela traveled to Dharamsala to take part in a several-day seminar on neurobiology, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary theory with the Dalai Lama. There were daily meetings with an expert paper and subsequent discussion. The intention behind the whole event was however ultimately directed at just one question — how could the latest discoveries in the most advanced branches of scientific research be derived from Buddhism? After every expert paper one heard, yes, Buddhism already says that too! Admittedly, His Holiness spoke emotionally about a “combination of Western science and Eastern spiritual development”, but at heart it was not about cooperation, but rather the consolidation of the Buddhist paradigm described about. In the meantime such meetings between His Holiness and Western scientists have become institutionalized by Dharamsala and take place annually “Mind and Life”).

Many researchers from the West, starved of mystic experiences for decades, have finally found their spiritual master in the “living Buddha” from Dharamsala. They have become converts to Buddhism like Francisco Varela or the nuclear physicist David Bohm, or, like Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, they fall into a kind of private ecstasy when confronted with the Kundun. Although His Holiness’s “scientific” interventions remain very general and abstract and in fact repeatedly boil down to just a handful of epistemological statements, he is nonetheless treated as a “colleague” by a number of scientists, behind whom the omniscience of a yogi shines forth. „Well, as has often been the case in this conference,” Francisco Varela enthuses for example, „Your Holiness, seem to anticipate the scientists’ questions” (Hayward, 1992, p. 230).

Whoever it is who can formulate and consolidate the “scientific” paradigms of an era in human history actually ought to be regarded as the “spiritual ruler” of the era; he represents the force which determines the awareness, the feelings and the thoughts of millions for centuries. Ptolemy, Copernicus, Descartes, Newton, Marx, Freud, and Einstein were such “spiritual giants”. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, a brilliant master of the workings of consciousness, knows full well about this historical force and the power-political significance of the paradigmatic conflict. Likewise, he knows that a “Buddhization” of western science would make him especially powerful in contrast to other religious orientations. The Buddhist epistemological theories furnish the ideal conditions for such a process of appropriation. Both the Yogachara school ("everything is awareness”) and the Madhyamika school ("everything arises from emptiness”) permit (at least in theory) a relativization of the scientific culture of the West and its replacement with the world view of the Kalachakra Tantra.

As subtly, philosophically, and rationally as the tantric world view is discussed among the Western scientific elite, the more spectacular, emotional, and mythical is the spread of Tantric Buddhism among the masses. The Kundun has in the last five years succeeded in engaging the greatest propaganda machine in the world, the Hollywood film industry, for himself and his cause.

Hollywood and Tantric Buddhism:

The exotic flair projected by the Tibetan god-king and his lamas with their mysterious doctrine and adventurous history has led to a situation in which Tibet and its religion have increasingly become the stuff celluloid dreams are made of. First of all, the Italian film director, Bernardo Bertolucci, created a somewhat saccharine but highly regarded monument to the religious founder with his work, Little Buddha. The film provided great propaganda value for Tibetan Buddhism because it told the story of the reincarnation of a lama in an American boy and an Indian girl and thus paved the way for the spread of the doctrine in the West.

While we were writing this book two major films about His Holiness appeared. One of them, Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, features the life story of the god-king from his discovery as a boy up until his flight from Tibet (in 1959), the other, Seven Years in Tibet, directed by Jean Jacques Arnaud, is about the adventures of the Austrian mentor of the Dalai Lama and SS member, Heinrich Harrer, with Brad Pitt in the lead role. “Tibet is the flavor of the season! ... In recent months around two million Germans have wanted to see the teenage idol Brad Pitt as the Austrian adventurer and Lama friend, Heinrich Harrer” the Spiegel enthused without once mentioning Harrer’s SS past (Spiegel, 16/1998, p. 110).

Whilst filming, Brad Pitt experienced something like a mystic shiver: “And then they shot this scene where they are saying: 'Give the Dalai Lama the power!' Everybody goes into this chant, and it was like something was going down and God was shining through the clouds. It was heavy” (Newsweek, May 19, 1997, p. 25).

The Italo-American Scorsese was with irresistable, ambiguous humor accepted as a monk by His Holiness. After the filmmaker had visited him in Dharamsala at the end of an exhausting journey, the Kundun bantered that, “Martin seemed at once far calmer. No longer like a hectic New Yorker, but like a Tibetan monk” (Playboy [German edition], March 1998, p. 40).

Scorsese himself is completely convinced that his film, Kundun, has a magic effect on its audience. “Kundun is reminiscent of a filmic prayer — as if you wanted to show what is invisible to the eye: spirituality. Can this succeed in the cinema?”, asks the in spiritual matters otherwise extremely skeptical, even cynical German weekly magazine, Spiegel. “Absolutely”, answered Scorsese, “If you put movements, rhythms, music, faces together in a particular way, then something like a spiritual current can arise from the totality of images” (Spiegel 12/1998, p. 261) This director has made a ritual film, which in his opinion can silently influence people’s awareness (as Tibetan Buddhism would have it): “These rituals which I show in Kundun, for example, I don’t need to explain. They are something wonderful and universal” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 14-15, 1998, p. 19).

However, in the USA the film was well received by neither the general public nor the critics. “The devastating reaction of the American mainstream press made me sick”, the director said at the presentation of his missionary work in Munich. (Münchner Abendzeitung, March 19). In total contrast to their American colleagues, numerous German film critics let themselves be completely uncritically drawn into the “spiritual current” of the Kundun. The Bild newspaper, for example, raved: “He recounts his tale almost wordlessly, in magic images. And slowly. So slowly that one soon surrenders to the pull of the images, forgets the passing of time and savors every moment” (Bild, March 19, 1998, p. 6). The Münchener Abendzeitung had this to say: “Scorsese’s film is hypnotic and lucid” (Münchner Abendzeitung, March 19). Even the “sober” German news magazine, Spiegel, had no reservations about letting itself be enchanted and spoke enthusiastically of the “impressive images” with which Scorsese created “the portrait of an exceptional person and a mystic dreamland [of] Shangri La — demanding, strongly emotional cinema” (Spiegel, 16/1998, p. 110). German political and artistic celebrities were out in force at the lavish premiere of the film in Munich.

Scorsese’s film, the screenplay of which was edited by the Dalai Lama himself, is a work of exile Tibetan propaganda which falsifies or distorts recent Tibetan history in numerous scenes. There is no word of the CIA’s assistance in the flight of the Kundun; that his father was poisoned by political factions, that the former regent Reting Rinpoche was brutally strangled in the Potala, that at the time at least 200 monks from the Drepung monastery who wanted to free Reting Rinpoche from prison were killed by the machineguns of the Tibetan army — all these incidents either remained unmentioned or were falsely depicted. Mao Zedong appears as a decadent giant with the aura of a noble-born casino owner. Even in his own autobiography the Kundun writes that he much admired Mao, but in the film he encounters the “Great Chairman” with the constant, almost mistrustful attentiveness of a young, albeit still somewhat inexperienced, spiritual master.

Five further film about the Land of Snows were scheduled to appear in 1998/99: about the CIA in Tibet, the terrible yeti in Tibet, the terror in Tibet, a romantic love story in Tibet, the shattered dreams of youth in Tibet. IMAX, a company which produces gigantic 3D movies, has commissioned a film in which a Tibetan mountain-climber under dramatic circumstances unfurls the national flag of the Land of Snows at the highest point in the world (on Mount Everest). (We may recall that Mount Everest is worshipped by the populace as a goddess.) In addition to these feature films there are numerous documentaries, among others one about the “Bu-Jews”, or Jewish people who have decided to follow the Buddhist religious path. Denise Di Novi, whose production company has also conducted a “Tibet project” under the title of Buddha of Brooklyn, informs us that “The tale of the Dalai Lama and the struggle of the Tibetan people is the kind of story that captures the imagination of Hollywood” (Newsweek, May 19, 1997, p. 24). Tibet film scripts are piling up in the editorial offices of the big film companies. “It's as though everybody who carries a camera wants to make a movie on Tibet”, Tenzing Chodak, director of the Tibet Fund, has commented (Newsweek, May 19, 1997, p. 24).

Undoubtedly the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has gained an particularly notable victory in his entry into the Hollywood scene. “Tibet is looming larger than ever on the show business map”, we could read in the Herald Tribune (Herald Tribune, March 20, 1997, p. 1). In August 1996 ,Harrison Ford, Sharon Stone, Steven Segal, Shirley MacLaine, and other superstars queued to shake hands with the “living Buddha” in Los Angeles. Barbara Streisand and Alec Baldwin called upon President Bill Clinton to rebuke China for its human right abuses in Tibet. “Tibet is going to enter Western popular culture as something can only when Hollywood does the entertainment injection into the world system”, writes the journalist Orville Shell, “Let's remember that Hollywood is the most powerful force in the world, besides the U.S. military” (Herald Tribune, March 20, 1997, p. 6). In 1993, 88 of the 100 most-viewed films were made in the USA. Orville Schell, who is working on a book about “Tibet and the West”, sees the Kundun’s Hollywood connection as a substitute for the absent diplomatic corps who would be able to represent the interests of the Dalai Lama internationally: “Since he doesn't have embassies, and he has no political power, he has to seek other kinds. Hollywood is a kind of country in his own, and he's established a kind of embassy there” (Newsweek, May 19, 1997, p. 24).


Orville Schell: “Undeniable, there was something of a craze brewing around Tibet. Like a radioactive core emitting uncontainable energy, Hollywood’s sudden interest was helping to fuel what some observers started to call a Tibet phenomen. Indeed, as the buzz about the film productions increased, media outlets of all kinds soon gravitated to the story, so that everywhere one looked the subject of Tibet had a way of popping up.” (Schell, 2000, p. 34


The god-king primarily owes it to the actor Richard Gere that he has become a star for America’s famous actors. “For the Tibetan people, Richard Gere, Hollywood, and the films are an absolute stroke of luck!”, His Holiness explained in the German edition of Playboy (Playboy [German edition], March 1998, p. 38). Gere himself was initiated into the Kalachakra Tantra by the Kundun; we do not know to what level. He has spoken very openly about his initiation experiences in the journal Tricycle and also made reference there to the magic power of Tantrism, which drove him to the limits of his own existence (Tricycle 5 (3), p. 54). There is already a poem in which Gere is revered like a Tibetan deity: “The huge head of Richard Gere,” it says in this poem, “ a tsonga blossom in his hair, / comes floating like a Macy's Parade balloon / above the snowdapped summit of sacred Kailash” (Time, vol. 150 no. 15: October 13, 1997). The Dalai Lama, who is fully aware of the great significance of show business, has selected the Hollywood star as his personal pupil and treats him, the actor says, with fatherly severity.

His Holiness does not even shrink from using the world of fashion „to bring Tibet and Buddhism to the notice of the international jet” (Tibet Review, January 1993, p. 7). “Blatant materialism is passé, Lamaism en vogue!”, the Spiegel tells us (Spiegel 16/1998, p. 109). In January 1993 the Kundun was responsible for an issue of the fashion magazine Vogue as Exceptional Editor in Chief. Fashion designers like Anna Sui, Todd Oldham, and Marc Jacobs sell outfits for “ freedom in Tibet”. As a “celebrity cook” the god-king recommends “a likely hit recipe for dumplings” (Spiegel, special issue, 4/1998, p. 133).

An interview with the Kundun that appeared in the March (1998) issue of the German edition of Playboy is a highpoint in his “public relations”. The up-market sex magazine presents His Holiness in the introduction bombastically: “He is goodly, wise, and peaceloving — and is conquering the world [!]: The victory procession of the Dalai Lama leaves even the Pope pale with envy. The Tibetan leader is worshipped like a god in Hollywood at the moment. Now in Playboy he talks more openly than ever. About Buddhism, China, sex, and alcohol” (Playboy [German edition], March 1998, p. 38). Even if a light ironic note is not to be overheard in this presentation, the statement is nonetheless unambiguous: The Dalai Lama is conquering the world (!) and is worshipped like a god in Hollywood, the mightiest center of the industry of the mind.

This Playboy interview has a further symbolic value, especially when we adopt the tantric/magic viewpoint that everything is interconnected. In this light there must be a reason why the pious statements and the photos of His Holiness are printed in the sex magazine together with numerous images of naked women and amid erotic and in places obscene texts. It immediately rouses up the image of a ganachakra with the central guru conducting his sexual magic rites surrounded by his karma mudras (wisdom consorts or Playgirls). When Playboy asks the supreme Tibetan tantra master, “Are you actually interested in the topic of sex?”, the Kalachakra master, initiated into all the secrets of sexual magic, replies, “My goodness! You ask a 62-year-old monk who has been celibate his entire life a thing like that. (laughs out loud) I don’t have much to say about sex...” (Playboy [German edition], March 1998, p. 46).

With equal euphoria and enthusiasm the German news magazine, Spiegel, devoted a cover story to the Kundun in April 1998. The front cover featured the head of a Buddha into which masses of Westerners were pouring. Was this the head of the Kundun, the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara and the time god Kalachakra? The title story of this issue of Spiegel is at any rate to a large extent dedicated to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, or rather to what the author (Erich Follath) understands this to be. It begins — coincidentally or not — on page108, the holiest and most magical number in Tantric Buddhism. Follath probably asked the Spiegel editors to make the magic page number the start of his article deliberately, since he is well-informed about the holy number 108. In a travel report on Bhutan he mentions the numeral 108, and since this reference occurs in connection with an event that we have dealt with in detail in our study, we would like to quote the passage. “... half a dozen more lamas are keeping watch here in the Himalayan foothills at the place where the king, Songtsen Gampo, had the first of a total of 108 holy sites constructed in the 7th century: It was supposed to drive out the terrible devil in the form of a woman who at that time was up to her mischief all over the roof of the world, the residence of the gods” (Spiegel, special issue 4/1998, p. 60). The “terrible devil in the form of a woman” is no-one other than “Mother Tibet”, the stigmatized Srinmo, over whose body the sacred landscape of the Land of Snows is raised.

The Dalai Lama’s star is shining brighter than ever before. Nevertheless, since the Shugden rebellion the god-king’s aura has begun to darken, and it is an irony of fate that the serious accusations against him have come from a conservative faction within his own school (the Gelugpas). In addition, the followers of the recalcitrant protective god (Shugden) do not argue like “reactionaries” at all in public, but rather (just like the Kundun) appeal to democratic fundamentals, human rights, and the freedom of opinion. Thus in certain circles the “greatest prince of peace of our times” has overnight become a despot, a political traitor, a nepotist, a hypocrite, even a potential murderer. His accusers do not just abuse him, but rather justify their claims with “hard” facts that are worth checking but for which the “official” West has up until now closed its eyes and ears.

In the ongoing Shugden debate (as of 1998), many previously repressed and unreappraised topics from the history of Tibet and the Tibetans in exile have been brought to the surface. Among other things His Holiness and the government in exile have been accused of constantly defaming Tibetan Opposition figures as Chinese spies (e.g. Dujom Rinpoche) so as to silence them politically; of undemocratic actions against 13 Indian branches of Tibetans in exile and the possible murder of their spokesman, Gungthang Rinpoche; of playing false with the national guerilla army, which is outwardly combated, but covertly supported and built up; of the political murder of opposition politicians (Gongtang Tsultrim); of power-politically motivated jealousy of the Fifteenth Karmapa, the head of the largest Kagyupa lineage; of nepotism and the absolute favoritism of members of the Dalai Lama’s family (the “Yabshi clan”); of misjudging the world political situation, especially in the years of delay in establishing good contacts with Taiwan; of cooperation with the Chinese over the enthronement of the new Karmapa; of secret diplomacy with Beijing in general, through which the country is sold out to China to the benefit of the Lamaist culture. Intrigues play just as major a role in Dharamsala ("little Lhasa”) as in the Lhasa of old. The centuries of struggle between the various sects have also not reached an end in exile, and the competition between the individual regions of the Land of Snows just as little. Corruption and sinister money dealings are everyday events among the Tibetans. Fresh accusations are being made every day. In particular, as a spokesperson for the government in exile laments, the Internet is filled with “an unprecedented amount of literature ... that criticizes the Dalai Lama and belittles the Tibetan Exile Government” (Burns, Newsgroup 1).



[1] The inspiration for “engaged Buddhism” come not from the Dalai Lama but rather from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Theravada monk born in central Vietnam in 1926. The causes of ignorance, egocentrism, violence, war, and environmental degradation were supposed to be overcome through meditation, social commitment and the practice of community with Christian groups all over the world.

[2] This was in the period where the Communist Party (the SED) had already lost control over the country.

[3] Pope John Paul II is also more reserved than progressive on the ecumenical front, despite the spectacular major event with representatives from all religions that took place at his invitation in Assisi on October 25, 1986 and at which the Kundun was also present. Almost ten years after this meeting, upon which many followers of the ecumenical movement had set great hopes, the Pope describes the teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope as atheistic, negative, and unworldly and states that the “doctrines of salvation in Buddhism and Christianity are opposed” (Tibetan Review, June 1995, p. 12).

[4] It will never come to this, since the Muslims are just as well-versed and sensitive as His Holiness in matters concerning occultism and “world domination”.

[5] Members of the RSS were closely involved in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, of whom the Dalai Lama claims he was his greatest non-Buddhist teacher.

[6] With his shunyata doctrine, Nagarjuna, the founding father of Madhyamika, even gained admittance into the discourse of Christian theology, through Abe Masao’s concept of a “self-emptying, self-denying God”, for instance. (Brück and Lai, 1997, p. 448).

[7] As an aside, it must be noted, however, that the blessing of the Internet by the Kalachakra monks has not had the positive effect they intended. In thousands of the contributions that have been transmitted over the net since 1996 the Dalai Lama has for the first time been subject to strong criticism and attack.

[8] Apple ran a campaign under the slogan Think Different that featured living and past celebrities — including (alongside Pablo Picasso, Mohammed Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Alfred Hitchcock, etc.) the Dalai Lama. Since the god-king’s likeness drew criticism in Asian countries, Apple withdrew the ad. This in its turn led to a spirited discussion on the Internet.
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We have now reached the end of our detailed treatise on the Dalai Lama, Tantric Buddhism, and Tibetan history. The first part of our study (Ritual as Politics) was centered on the theme of gender, especially the sexual magic exploitation of the woman in the androcentric system of Vajrayana for the mytho-political accumulation of power. The derivation of Tibetan history and the Dalai Lama’s politics from the cultic mysteries of Buddhist Tantrism (especially the Kalachakra Tantra) forms the content of the second part of our book (Politics as Ritual). In general, we have attempted to show that, in the world view of the Lamaist, sacred sexuality, magic, mysticism, and myth are united with his understanding of politics and history.

Tibetan Buddhism primarily owes its success in the West to two facts: first, the charm and brilliant self-presentation of its supreme representative, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and second, the promise to lead people on the way to enlightenment. Although the tantric path to enlightenment explicitly involves a dissolution of the ego, it is at first the I of the pupil which is addressed. “I would like to overcome the senselessness and suffering of my earthly existence. I would like to experience liberation from samsara (the world of illusion).” When a western sadhaka is prepared to sacrifice his “little self”, he certainly does not have the same understanding as the lamas of the “greater self” (the higher self or Buddha consciousness) which the tantric philosophy and practices of Vajrayana offers him as a spiritual goal. The Westerners believe that enlightened consciousness still has something to do with a self. In contrast, a teacher of Tantric Buddhism knows that the individual identity of the pupil will be completely extinguished and replaced by a strictly codified, culturally anchored army of gods. It is the Tibetan Buddhas, herukas, Bodhisattvas, deities, demons (dharmapalas) and the representatives of the particular guru lineages who take the place of the individual pupil’s consciousness. One must thus gain the impression that an “exclusive club” of supernatural, albeit culturally bounded, beings (Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, etc.) has managed to survive by time and again occupying human bodies anew (until these wear out). Tibetan Buddhism is not aimed at the enlightenment of individuals but rather at the continuing existence of a culture of superhumans (yogis, gods) in the form of possessed people (the pupils). It is concerned here to perpetuate a priestly caste that does not need to die because their consciousnesses can be incarnated into the human bodies of their followers again and again. This caste and their deities are considered sacrosanct. They live beyond all criticism. Their symbols, deeds, and history are set up as exemplary; they are the cultural inheritance which may not be analyzed but must be taken on blind faith by believers.

For these reasons Tibetan Buddhism’s entire promise of enlightenment forms a trap with which intimate and religious yearnings can be used to magically push through the politico-religious goals of the monastic clergy. (We are not discussing here whether this is really possible, rather, we are talking about the intentions of the Lamaist system.) This corresponds exactly with what the Renaissance philosopher Giordano Bruno describes as “manipulation”. Bruno, it will be recalled, indicated that a masterly manipulator may not speak about his actual power-political intentions. In contrast, he flatters the ego of the one to be manipulated (the ego the masses), so that the latter always believes he is following solely his own interests and pursuing his completely personal goals — but in truth he is fulfilling the wishes and targets of the manipulator (without knowing it). Applied to the Dalai Lama and his religion this means that people practice Tibetan Buddhism because they hope for enlightenment (liberation from personal suffering) from it, yet in reality they become agents of political Lamaism and the Tibetan gods at work behind it. The Dalai Lama is thus a particularly impressive example of a “manipulator” in Bruno’s sense.

If people are used to serve as vessels for the Tibetan gods, then the energy which directly powers the mysto-political motor of the Lamaist system consists in the sacred sexuality, the erotic love, particularly in the gynergy of the woman (as fuel). Tibetan Buddhism is a mystery religion and its mysteries are the driving force behind its political decisions. Reduced to a concise formula, this means that sexuality is transformed via mysticism into power. The French poet Charles Péguy is supposed to have said that, “every mysticism ends up as politics”. The dynamic of the tantric system cannot be better described. It is a large-scale “mystic ritual machine” whose sole aim is the production of the all-encompassing ADI BUDDHA and the establishment of his universal political control.

Just how closely intertwined Lamaism sees sexual magic and politics to be is demonstrated by the dual nature of the Kalachakra Tantra. The sexual magic rituals, the cosmology, and the political program of the Shambhala myth are tightly interwoven with each other in this document. For a Western reader, the text seems unintegrated, at odds with itself, and contradictory, but for a Buddhist Tantric it forms a seamless unity.

Tantric rituals are thus politics, as we have described in the first part of our study. But in reverse, politics is also a ritual, i.e., every political event, be it the flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet, the vandalistic actions the Chinese Red Guard, the death of Mao Zedong, or a film like Scorsese’s Kundun, they all — from a traditional Tibetan and not from a Western point of view — form a performance along the Kalachakra master’s progress toward the throne of the ADI BUDDHA.

If we judge the politics of Lamaist Buddhocracy from a Western point of view, especially those of the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth, then we arrive at the following nine assessment points:

1. The politics of the Time Tantra is “inhuman”, because it is conducted by gods and yogis, but not by people. These gods possess in part extremely destructive characteristics. They are nonetheless sacrosanct and may neither be criticized nor exchanged or transformed.

2. The goal of this tantra is the establishment of an androcentric, undemocratic, despotic monastic state headed by an autocrat (the ADI BUDDHA).

3. The Buddhocratic state is structurally based upon sacrifice: the sacrifice of the loving goddess, the woman, the individual, the pupil, the king, the scapegoat.

4. Buddhocracy skillfully manipulates several models of temporary anarchism in order to in the end turn them around into an authoritarian system.

5. In a Tibetan-style Buddhocracy, the state and its organs do not shrink from using black magic rituals to get political opponents out of the way.

6. Buddhocratic politics are aligned not towards democratic decision-making processes but rather towards divine commands, especially the pronouncements of oracles, of whom Pehar, the pre-Buddhist war god of the Hor Mongols, assumes the leading role (of state oracle).
The tantric state is pursuing an aggressive policy of war and conquest (the Shambhalization of the world).

7. The Shambhala myth contains an apocalyptic vision borne by a “fascistoid” warrior ethos, in which the faithful (the Buddhists) brutally annihilate all non-believers (above all the Moslems).

8. Tantric Buddhism manipulates the western masses with falsified images of peace, ecology, democracy, a pro-woman orientation, social justice, and compassion.

In this connection we would like to (in warning) mention once more the significant influence that both Buddhist Tantrism in general and the Kalachakra Tantra and Shambhala myth in particular have had over fascism and German national socialism, and continue to exert. In chapter 12 we reported on Heinrich Himmler’s occult interest in Tibet, about the former SS member Heinrich Harrer, the tutor of the young Dalai Lama, and about the significance of Vajrayana for the fascist ideology of Mussolini’s confidante, Julius Evola. But at the center of this chapter stood a detailed analysis of Esoteric Hitlerism, the world view of the Chilean diplomat and author Miguel Serrano who closely follows Buddhist Tantrism and combines it with occult doctrines of the Nazis. Most clearly of all, Serrano shows what awaits humanity if the Kalachakra Tantra were to gain control over the world: a racist autocracy of androgynous warriors who celebrate real female sacrifices as their supreme mystery and worship Hitler’s SS as their historical role-model. In warning, we would indicate that it is not a coincidence that His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has maintained contact with these fanatic worshippers of the SS and the German “Führer” since his flight from Tibet (in 1959), but rather because his tantric tradition corresponds with many of their ideological and visionary aspects.

Where Serrano’s Shambhala visions have up until now remained speculations, they have taken on a horrifying reality in the figure of the Japanese sect leader, Shoko Asahara. The world held its breath in the case of Asahara as he ordered the carrying out of a gas attack on Tokyo’s overfilled underground railway system in 1995 in which there were numerous injuries and several people died. It was the first militarily planned attempted murder by a religious group from an industrialized country which was directed outwardly (i.e. not against its own membership). The immense danger of such insidious attacks, against which the masses are completely unprotected, is obvious. For all the depth of feeling which the act stirred up among the international public, no-one has until now made the effort of investigating the ideological and religious bases and motives which led Asahara to commit his crime. Here too, the ways lead to Tibetan Buddhism, especially the Shambhala myth of the Kalachakra Tantra. Asahara saw himself as an incarnation of the Rudra Chakrin, the raging wheel turner, who destroys one half of the world in order to (literally) rescue the other half through his Shambhalization plan. Not only was did he practice Vajrayana, he was also a “good friend” of the Dalai Lama, whom he met five times in person.

The atavistic pattern of Tibetan Buddhism:

Despite all these problematic points, the image of Tibetan Buddhism as the best of all religious systems and the Dalai Lama as the gentlest (!) of all beings continues to spread successfully. One of the latest high points in this glorification has been the cover story on Buddhism in the German news magazine Spiegel (April 1998). In the case of the Dalai Lama this magazine, well-known for its critical stance towards religion and anti-church articles which often did not shy away from a sharp cynicism, let itself be used as a propaganda instrument by an atavistic, autocratic religious system. The author of the euphoric article, Erich Follath, was like so many of his colleagues completely captivated by the god-king’s charm after a visit to Dharamsala. “I show old friends like you around my garden!”, the Kundun had smiled at the Spiegel editor and shown him his flower beds (Spiegel, no. 16, April 13, 1998). The journalist Follath gratefully accepted this personal gesture by the divine charmer and in the same moment abandoned his critical awareness and his journalistic responsibility. His article is an embarrassing collection of historical distortions and sentimental celebration of the Kundun, his country, and his religion. [1]

If we were to characterize the obvious self-presentation of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama on the world political stage, we would soon recognize that he strictly abides by (a) four positive rules and (b) four negative ones which proves him to indeed be a masterful manipulator:

1. (a) In public, always argue using the terms of Mahayana Buddhism. Refer to compassion, love, and peace. (b) Never mention the sexual magic mysteries and power-political obsessions of Vajrayana.

2. (a) Lead all arguments that could in any manner be directed against Buddhism into the “emptiness” (shunyata) and in public “shunyatize” even your own religious approach: “nothing has an inherent existence” — that is, everything comes from nothingness and everything ends in nothingness.
(b) In contrast, never mention in public the Tibetan gods, demons, and spirits (the Nechung oracle) or their power-political program (the Shambhala myth), who sink into this “emptiness” only to push through their “Buddhocratic” interests and tantric ideology globally.

3. (a) Apparently take on all progressive currents within western culture (democracy, freedom of opinion, human rights, individualism, women’s rights, ecology, humanism, and so forth). (b) Never mention the autocratic clerical intentions of the tantric system, and under no circumstances the establishment of worldwide control by the androcentric Buddhist monastic state which can perpetuate itself via the doctrine of reincarnation.

4. (a) Smile and always appear friendly, ordinary, modest, humble, and human. Always play the gentle “Lord of Compassion”, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.(b) Never display annoyance or pride in public, and thickly veil the destructive aspects of those gods and demons (herukas) whose emanation on earth you are. Be silent about the cruelty of Lamaist history.

The smile and the friendly words of the “living Buddha” are only the outer facade of his many-layered personality. But it is not what the Dalai Lama says, but rather the religious system which stands behind him and what his gods command that determine the politics of Tibetan Buddhism, as we have shown in the course of our study. It is not the new pseudo-Western constitution of the Tibetans in exile which counts, rather it is in the final instance the “political theology” recorded in the Kalachakra Tantra and Shambhala myth and the sexual magic practices prescribed there for the accumulation of power which are decisive. It is not the relaxed and friendly relations between His Holiness and western celebrities which are a problem, but rather his close contacts with occult sects like Shoko Asahara’s AUM cult and with representatives of “esoteric Hitlerism” like Miguel Serrano. The reason they are extremely problematic and very dangerous is because both occultists (Asahara and Serrano) have placed the philosophy and practice of Vajrayana and the warlike Shambhala myth at the center of their destructive world view. It is not the conflict between the Dalai Lama and Beijing which poses a threat for the West and the world community, but rather in contrast a possible future cultural conquest of the “Chinese dragon” by the “Tibetan snow lion” (of Lamaism). The Shambhala myth provides the optimal ideological foundations for an aggressive, pan-Asian superpower politics and for the unleashing of a Buddhist jihad (holy war). It is not the gentle downward-looking Avalokiteshvara and the “simple monk” from Dharamsala, but rather Yama the god of death and Kalachakra the time god with his woman-destroying cult which are the problem, since they are likewise incarnated in the figure of the Dalai Lama. It is not that the Dalai Lama privately seeks advice from an oracle that is problematic, but rather that a Mongolian war god speaks through the state oracle. It is not the popularity that Hollywood has lent the Kundun which should be criticized, but rather the use of these media giants to distort historical facts.

Yet the atavistic and mythic pattern of Tibetan thought and Tantric Buddhism is completely ignored by people in the West (as long as they are not converted Buddhists). If it were to be examined, one would inevitably reach the conclusion that there is absolutely no freedom of opinion in the Lamaist culture of Tibet, and hence no real criticism either, since the Tibetan people have always been administered autocratically, and even in exile have no democracy, having “ opted” for a constitutionally fixed(!) Buddhocracy instead. Further, since doctrine has it that the highest ruler of the country, the Dalai Lama, is not a state president but a living “god” (an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara and the Kalachakra deity), his will must always be valued more highly than that of his subjects, even should they have a seat in the exile Tibetan government.

Additionally, Tibet has no ordinary history but rather a sacred one, with the Shambhala myth at its center and as its goal. For this reason, every political act of the Kundun and the Tibetans in exile must be subsumed within this eschatology. Lamaist culture is in its essence undemocratic, fundamentalist, and totalitarian, and sees nothing bad in this — in contrast, it holds itself to be the best system of all. Thanks to the doctrine of reincarnation, the ruling clerical elite views its absolutist exercise of power as unlimited even by death.

Every reform policy, every affirmation of democratization, every profession of peace remains a lie for as long as the Dalai Lama has not renounced the tantric ritual system, especially the Kalachakra Tantra. At heart this rests on the magic transformation of sexuality into power and ultimately aspires to the militarily enforced enthronement of a sacred/political world king. Nonetheless, without even the slightest concession and headed by the Kundun, all schools of Lamaism continue to hold fast to the — as we believe we have demonstrated them to be — extremely destructive and humanity despising rites and associated political ideology.

Even if the Tibetan clergy were to relinquish its political privileges for a time in a “liberated” Tibet, the idea of the hegemony of a patriarchal monastic dictatorship as the supreme goal would remain, as this is the core of the entire tantric ritual system. The theocratic system that can be found in all the past cultures of the world only survives today in Tibetan Buddhism and parts of Islam. In both cases it demands worldwide recognition and distribution. Among the Tibetans in exile it does so — grotesquely — from behind a mask of democracy, human rights, the ecumenical mission, and the protection of nature.

However, when they not in public, the Tibetan Gurus do not shrink at all from talking about their mystic envisionings, plans for conquest, apocalyptic battles, or the worldwide expansion of a Buddhocracy. In their followers’ circles the Shambhala myth has long since become a power-political factor. Yet it is not even mentioned in the world media. The lamas tailor their outwardly presented depictions of Tibet to their audience. If the tenor of an academic conference is one of sober discussion, then the arguments of the Tibetans in exile are likewise sober, analytic, and critical. If another meeting is more emotional and esoteric, then the very same people there subscribe to the fantastic historical myths of the eternally peaceful and mysterious, occult highlands (Shangri La) which at the first conference they claimed to be the invention of a errant “western orientalism”. In turn, at the congresses of “committed Buddhists”, the Tibet of old is built up as the sanctuary of all those values which are gaining ground in postmodern society. „Tibetan exiles”, Toni Huber writes, „have reinvented a kind of modern, liberal Shangri-La image of themselves”, in that they adopt images from the protest movements of the industrialized West „which are now transnational in scope and appeal: environmentalism, pacifism, human rights, and feminism” (Huber, 2001, p. 358). Yet Western values, like the separation of ecclesiastical and secular power, equality before the law, the rule of law, freedom of expression, social pluralism, political representation, equality of the sexes, and individualism, had no place in the history of Tibet.

But it is not just a result of pure naïveté when government sources in Europe and America express the opinion that autocratic Lamaism is compatible with the fundamentals of a modern constitution. Behind this also lie the tactical politics of power with an “impending” Chinese threat. Washington in particular is most interested in making use of an oppressed Tibet as an argument in discussions with China, the USA’s greatest competitor.

This dangerous antagonism between the two superpowers (China vs. the USA) is efficiently stirred up by their respective internal politics, and Dharamsala does not let a chance pass without pouring gas on the flames. The Kundun with his loud and “heartfelt” criticism of China is a American king-piece in the political chess game between Washington and Beijing. In it, official posts in the USA are thoroughly informed about the “true” history of the old and the new Tibet as well as the “undemocratic” circumstances in Dharamsala. They are advised by such objective scholars as, among others, A. Tom Grunfeld and Melvyn C. Goldstein. In public, however, the State Department has until now followed the pro-Tibetan arguments of the Hollywood actor and Kalachakra initiate, Richard Gere.

“Clash of Religions”: The fundamentalist contribution of Lamaism:

In the last fifteen years, the West has to its great surprise discovered just how much political explosiveness religiously based strategies for world domination (like the Shambhala myth) and magic/mystic practices (like the Kalachakra ritual) have been able to develop today, on the threshold of the third millennium. Catching the western cultures unprepared, theocratic (and Buddhocratic) visions of the most varied schools of belief have burst forth explosively from the depths of the human subconscious, where they have survived in hiding since the bourgeois Enlightenment (of the 18th century). Events in Iran, the country where the mullahs established the first smoothly functioning Moslem religious state of the modern era, triggered a culture shock in the West. All at once the atavistic attitudes and rules of violence, the warrior ethic, racism, intolerance, discrimination against women, the dictatorship of the priesthood, the persecution of nonbelievers, inquisitions, visions of global wars and the end of the world, etc., with which theocratic (and Buddhocratic) systems are associated were once more (as in the Middle Ages) were very current issues.

In a widely respected book, Clash of Civilizations, the American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, has indicated with convincing arguments that the confrontations which await the world of the 21st century primarily have neither economic, class conflict, nor nationalistic causes. In their search for identity, people have since the eighties been grouping themselves around “cultures”, but most especially around religions.

Surprisingly, all religious traditions have in the meantime overcome their opposition to technology. “The West” and “technology” are no longer identified with one another as they once were. Even the most radical fundamentalists use high-tech gadgets and the latest means of communication. It is the students from the faculties of engineering and the natural sciences who fell particularly drawn to religious ideas. According to Huntington, social conflicts (rich against poor) are also no longer a primary factor in the causes of war. Cultural spheres, such as that of Islam for instance, can encompass both extremely rich and extremely poor countries at the same time. The critical factor is the common religion.

The West and its values, Huntington argues, is becoming increasingly weak as a central power, while other cultural power blocs are crystallizing. Of these the two most significant are Islam and China. Its universalistic claims are increasingly bringing the West into conflict with other cultural spheres, most seriously with Islam and China. ... Islam and China embody grand cultural traditions that are very different from those of the West and, in the eyes of these cultural spheres, vastly superior to them. The power and self-assurance of these two spheres are increasing in comparison to the West, and the conflicts of interest and values between them and the West are becoming more numerous and intense (Huntington, 1997, p. 19). Wars, under certain circumstances world wars, are for Huntington hardly avoidable.

If we take Huntington’s suggestion seriously, we have to ask ourselves whether the Kalachakra Tantra and Shambhala myth of the Dalai Lama do not represent an extremely dangerous ideological bomb which could set the whole world aflame. As we know, the Time Tantra predicts an eschatological apocalyptic war with Islam. In the year 2327, the prophecy says, Rudra Chakrin, the “wrathful wheel turner” from Shambhala, will lead his army into battle against the Mlecchas (Moslems). A contribution from the Internet has thus rightly compared the vision of the Time Tantra with the idea of an Islamic holy war (jihad). “The Kalachakra initiation”, writes Richard P. Hayes, “seems to have been a call to the Buddhist equivalent of jihad ... the Kalachakra was interpreted externally as a call to Holy War (to preserve the Dharma against its enemies)” (Hayes, Newsgroup 11).

For historical reasons Islam has proven itself to be the most culturally aggressive counterforce to western culture. The struggles between the Christian Occident and the Islamic Orient are part of a centuries old tradition. With their explicit hostility towards Islam the Kalachakra Tantra and Shambhala myth are thus stirring up a fire which is already glowing fiercely on the current world political stage and has even spread to the center of the greatest western power (the USA).

According to Huntington, China will very soon be the West’s most potent economic and ethnic challenger. The country will develop into the core state and magnet of a Sinitic cultural sphere and will culturally dominate all its neighbors; the entire East Asian economy will be centered around China. Unification between the People’s Republic and Taiwan is just a question of time. Huntington sees the “Middle Kingdom” as the one power that could one day cast doubt on the global influence of the West.

In contrast to Islam, the philosophy (which can hardly still be described as communist) currently dominant in China, that terms itself the “inheritance of Confucian thought” both on the mainland and in Taiwan, is not outwardly aggressive and oriented towards conquest. On a general level, the Confucian ethos stresses authority, hierarchy, a sense of family, ancestor worship, the subordination of the rights of the individual to the community, and the supremacy of the state over the individual, but also the “avoidance of confrontations”, that is, wars as well.

We must nevertheless not forget that in the course of its history China has never been free from external ideological influences. Buddhism in its various forms, as well as Christianity and communism are cultural imports and have at times had a decisive influence on the politics of the country. In the 14th chapter of Part II of our study we thus posed the question of whether the Chinese might not also be susceptible to the Shambhala myth’s global visions of power. The “Middle Kingdom” has always had spiritually and mythically based claims to world domination. Even if it has not tried to impose these militarily, the Chinese Emperor is nonetheless revered as a world king (a Chakravartin). As we have demonstrated in our detailed portrait of Mao Zedong, such a claim survived even under communism. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is most aware of this. For a good five years now his missionary work has been concentrated on Taiwan (Nationalist China). We have quoted several prophecies from his own lips which foretell a decisive codetermining role for Lamaism in shaping the Chinese future. Taiwan, which — according to all prognoses — will sooner or later return to the mother country, can be considered the springboard from which the Tibetan monks and the new Nationalist Chinese recruits ordained by them could infiltrate the Chinese cultural fabric.

Return to rationalism?:

Why is the West so helpless when it encounters the “battle of cultures”, and why is it surprised every time violent eruptions of fundamentalist religious systems (as in Islam for instance) occur? We believe that the reasons for this must be of a primarily epistemological nature: Since the time of the Enlightenment, the occidental culture has drawn a clear dividing line between the church and the state, science and religion, technology and magic, politics and myth, art and mysticism. This division led to the assessment of all state, scientific, technical, political, and artistic phenomena purely according to the criteria of reason or the aesthetics. Rationalism unconditionally required that the church, religion, magic, myth, and mysticism have no influence on the “scientific culture of the Enlightenment”. Naïvely, it also projects such conceptions onto non-Western cultural spheres. In the issue of Tibet, for example, the West neatly separates Tantric Buddhism and its mysteries (about which it knows as good as nothing) from the political questions of human rights, the concept of democracy, the national interests of the Tibetan people. But for the Dalai Lama and his system, politics and religion have been united for centuries. For him and for Lamaism, power-political decisions — of whatever kind — are tactical and strategic elements in the plan for world conquest recorded in the Kalachakra Tantra and Shambhala myth.

Since rationalism does not take the power-political effectiveness of myths and religions seriously enough, it refrains from the outset from examining the central contents of religious cults (such as the Kalachakra Tantra for example). The mysteries of the various religious orientations have never been more hidden and mysterious than in the Age of Reason, for the simple reason that this has never examined them.

To be successful, however, a critical analysis and evaluation of an ancient world view must fulfill three conditions:

1. First of all it must be able to immerse itself in the world view of the particular religion, that is, it must be capable of perceiving the world and the universe through the eyes and filters of the religious dogmata to be examined. Otherwise it will never learn what it is all about. In the specific case of Tibetan culture, this means that it must familiarize itself with the sexual magic and micro-/macrocosmic philosophy of the Kalachakra Tantra and the political ideology of the Shambhala myth so as to be able to understand the politics of the Dalai Lama and his executive at all.

2. Only after obtaining exact knowledge about the basis, goals, and history of the religion in question should it compare these with western values so as to then make an evaluation. For example, it must relate the “female sacrifice” and the absorption of gynergy through yoga practices in Buddhist Tantrism to contemporary demands for the equality of the sexes. The West cannot overcome the myths by denying their power. It has itself had to experience their unbroken and enormous presence even in the twentieth century. In the case of national socialism (Nazism) the mythological world view developed an all but superhuman potency. Only if investigative thinkers risk entering into the heart of the religious cult mysteries and are prepared to engage with the innermost core of these mysteries can such “religious time bombs” be diffused. For this reason,

3. the requirements for a critical reappraisal of the cultures are that their mystery cults and their contents be brought into the arena for public discussion — a procedure which is sure to send a shiver down the spines of the majority of fans of the esoteric and fundamentalists. But such an open and public discussion of the mystery knowledge is not at all an achievement of our liberal-democratic age. If, for example, we consider the critical and polemic disputes of the fathers of the Christian church with the various religious currents of their times and the rejoinders of the latter, then we can see that between the 2nd and the 5th centuries there was — despite the very primitive state of communication technologies — a far larger openness about fundamental questions of how the world is viewed than today. These days, religions are either blindly adopted or rejected per se; back then religions were made, formed, and codified.

As absurd as it may sound, “western rationalism” is actually the cause of occultism. [2] It pushes the esoteric doctrines and their practices (the New Age for example) into the social underground, where they can spread undisturbed and uninhibited, and lay claim to one mind after another unnoticed, until one day when — as in the case of national socialism in Germany in the 30s, the Mullah regime in Iran in the 80s, and perhaps the Shambhala myth in Asia in the ??s — they burst forth with immense power and draw the whole of society into their atavistic wake. [3]

On the other hand, the “critical descent” into the mystery cults of the religious traditions makes possible valuable learning processes. We did not want to reach the conclusion in our analysis of Buddhist Tantrism that everything about traditional religions (Buddhism in this particular case) ought to be dismissed. Many religious teachings, many convictions, practices, and visions appear thoroughly valuable and even necessary in the establishment of a peaceful world community. We too are of the opinion that the “Enlightenment” and western “rationalism” alone no longer have the power to sensibly interpret the world, and definitely not to change it. Man does not live on bread alone!

Hence, in our view, the world of the new millennium is thus not to be demythologized (nor dis-enchanted or re-rationalized), but rather humans have the power, the right, and the responsibility to subject the existing myths, mysteries and religions to a critical examination and selection process. We can, may, and must resist those gods who exhibit destructive conceptions and dualist thoughts and deeds. We can, may, and ought to join those who contribute to the construction of a peaceful world. we can, may, and perhaps should even seek new gods. There is, however, a great danger that the time for a fundamental renewal of the religious process will disappear if the atavistic/warlike world views (with western help as well) continue to spread further and are not replaced by other, peaceful depictions of the world (and myths). The existing traditions (and the deities and mysteries behind them) may only be of help in such a process of renewal in as far as they adhere to certain fundamentals like mutual respect, peaceableness, openness, equality of the sexes, cooperation with nature, charity, etc.

The cultural critic Samuel P. Huntington rejects from the outset the idea of a universal culture, a new world culture as unrealistic and unwanted. But why actually? The general interconnection, the technologization, the interlacing of the economy, the expansion of international travel have like never before in the history of humankind generated the communicative conditions for the discussion of a global cultural beginning. This is, at least as far as certain western values like human rights, equality of opportunity, democracy, and so forth, already encouraged by the world community (especially the UN) with more or less large success. But on a religious level, everything remains the same — or will there be new mysteries, oriented to laws of human harmony without a need to sacrifice intercultural variety and colorful splendor?



[1] We will not go into the individual points raised in the article here as we have already discussed them at appropriate points throughout the book.

[2] The word “occultism” in its current sense first emerged during the age of rationalism.

[3] An interpretation of national socialism on the basis of its “occult and mythological background” is still considered highly dubious by the majority of established historians and cultural researchers in the West. But there is no political movement of the 20th century which more deliberately and effectively derived itself from myths. We are indebted to C. G. Jung for several articles on Hitler and his movement, in which the depth psychologist interpreted the “Third Reich” and the “Führer” as the epiphany (or incarnation) of the violent Germanic god Wotan/Odin, whose spirit descended into not just the dictator but also his followers. With this analysis, Jung — as Miguel Serrano saw clearly — comes close to a depiction of the Tibetan tulku principle. Since his article revealed a certain sympathy with the Nazis, it was withdrawn from circulation by the author after the Second World War. Even though we strictly distantiate ourselves from Jung’s fascist sympathies, we nonetheless consider his diagnosis of Hitlerism as a “Wotan cult” to be completely accurate. If we identify the deity who is pulling the strings behind a political movement, it does not mean in the slightest that we must therefore become followers of this deity and its mysteries (in the case in question a disciple of the Wotan cult and the Nazis). In contrast, only then can we gain a differentiated relation towards the mythic forces and powers that determine a culture — we can just as well combat it as follow it, just as well publicly condemn and accuse it as enter into a compromise with it.
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