Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

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.

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Zen Buddhism

The Buddha-nature and Yogacara philosophies have had a strong influence on Chán and Zen. The teachings of Zen are expressed by a set of polarities: Buddha-nature – sunyata;[192][193] absolute-relative;[194] sudden and gradual enlightenment.[195]

The Lankavatara-sutra, a popular sutra in Zen, endorses the Buddha-nature and emphasizes purity of mind, which can be attained in gradations. The Diamond-sutra, another popular sutra, emphasizes sunyata, which "must be realized totally or not at all".[196] The Prajnaparamita Sutras emphasize the non-duality of form and emptiness: form is emptiness, emptiness is form, as the Heart Sutra says.[194] According to Chinul, Zen points not to mere emptiness, but to suchness or the dharmadhatu.[197]

The idea that the ultimate reality is present in the daily world of relative reality fitted into the Chinese culture which emphasized the mundane world and society. But this does not explain how the absolute is present in the relative world. This question is answered in such schemata as the Five Ranks of Tozan[198] and the Oxherding Pictures.

The continuous pondering of the break-through kōan (shokan[199]) or Hua Tou, "word head",[200] leads to kensho, an initial insight into "seeing the (Buddha-)nature.[201] According to Hori, a central theme of many koans is the "identity of opposites", and point to the original nonduality.[202][203] Victor Sogen Hori describes kensho, when attained through koan-study, as the absence of subject–object duality.[204] The aim of the so-called break-through koan is to see the "nonduality of subject and object", [202][203] in which "subject and object are no longer separate and distinct."[205]

Zen Buddhist training does not end with kenshō. Practice is to be continued to deepen the insight and to express it in daily life,[206][207][208][209] to fully manifest the nonduality of absolute and relative.[210][211] To deepen the initial insight of kensho, shikantaza and kōan-study are necessary. This trajectory of initial insight followed by a gradual deepening and ripening is expressed by Linji Yixuan in his Three Mysterious Gates, the Four Ways of Knowing of Hakuin,[212] the Five Ranks, and the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures[213] which detail the steps on the Path.

Essence-function in Korean Buddhism

The polarity of absolute and relative is also expressed as "essence-function". The absolute is essence, the relative is function. They can't be seen as separate realities, but interpenetrate each other. The distinction does not "exclude any other frameworks such as neng-so or 'subject-object' constructions", though the two "are completely different from each other in terms of their way of thinking".[214] In Korean Buddhism, essence-function is also expressed as "body" and "the body's functions".[215] A metaphor for essence-function is "a lamp and its light", a phrase from the Platform Sutra, where Essence is lamp and Function is light.[216]

Tibetan Buddhism

The Gelugpa school, following Tsongkhapa, adheres to the adyava Prasaṅgika Mādhyamaka view, which states that all phenomena are sunyata, empty of self-nature, and that this "emptiness" is itself only a qualification, not a concretely existing "absolute" reality.[217]

Buddha-nature and the nature of mind


In Tibetan Buddhism, the essentialist position is represented by shentong, while the nominalist, or non-essentialist position, is represented by rangtong.

Shentong is a philosophical sub-school found in Tibetan Buddhism. Its adherents generally hold that the nature of mind, the substratum of the mindstream, is "empty" (Wylie: stong) of "other" (Wylie: gzhan), i.e., empty of all qualities other than an inherently existing, ineffable nature. Shentong has often been incorrectly associated with the Cittamātra (Yogacara) position, but is in fact also Madhyamaka,[218] and is present primarily as the main philosophical theory of the Jonang school, although it is also taught by the Sakya[219] and Kagyu schools.[220][221] According to Shentongpa (proponents of shentong), the emptiness of ultimate reality should not be characterized in the same way as the emptiness of apparent phenomena because it is prabhāśvara-saṃtāna, or "luminous mindstream" endowed with limitless Buddha qualities.[222] It is empty of all that is false, not empty of the limitless Buddha qualities that are its innate nature.

The contrasting Prasaṅgika view that all phenomena are sunyata, empty of self-nature, and that this "emptiness" is not a concretely existing "absolute" reality, is labeled rangtong, "empty of other."

The shentong-view is related to the Ratnagotravibhāga sutra and the Yogacara-Madhyamaka synthesis of Śāntarakṣita. The truth of sunyata is acknowledged, but not considered to be the highest truth, which is the empty nature of mind. Insight into sunyata is preparatory for the recognition of the nature of mind.


Dzogchen is concerned with the "natural state" and emphasizes direct experience. The state of nondual awareness is called rigpa. This primordial nature is clear light, unproduced and unchanging, free from all defilements. Through meditation, the Dzogchen practitioner experiences that thoughts have no substance. Mental phenomena arise and fall in the mind, but fundamentally they are empty. The practitioner then considers where the mind itself resides. Through careful examination one realizes that the mind is emptiness.[223]

Karma Lingpa (1326–1386) revealed "Self-Liberation through seeing with naked awareness" (rigpa ngo-sprod,[note 18]) which is attributed to Padmasambhava.[224][note 19] The text gives an introduction, or pointing-out instruction (ngo-spro), into rigpa, the state of presence and awareness.[224] In this text, Karma Lingpa writes the following regarding the unity of various terms for nonduality:

With respect to its having a name, the various names that are applied to it are inconceivable (in their numbers).
Some call it "the nature of the mind"[note 20] or "mind itself."
Some Tirthikas call it by the name Atman or "the Self."
The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or "the absence of a self."
The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or "the Mind."
Some call it the Prajnaparamita or "the Perfection of Wisdom."
Some call it the name Tathagata-garbha or "the embryo of Buddhahood."
Some call it by the name Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol."
Some call it by the name "the Unique Sphere."[note 21]
Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or "the dimension of Reality."
Some call it by the name Alaya or "the basis of everything."
And some simply call it by the name "ordinary awareness."[229][note 22]

Other eastern religions

Apart from Hinduism and Buddhism, self-proclaimed nondualists have also discerned nondualism in other religious traditions.


Sikh theology suggests human souls and the monotheistic God are two different realities (dualism),[230] distinguishing it from the monistic and various shades of nondualistic philosophies of other Indian religions.[231] However, Sikh scholars have attempted to explore nondualism exegesis of Sikh scriptures, such as during the neocolonial reformist movement by Bhai Vir Singh of the Singh Sabha. According to Mandair, Singh interprets the Sikh scriptures as teaching nonduality.[232]


Taoism's wu wei (Chinese wu, not; wei, doing) is a term with various translations[note 23] and interpretations designed to distinguish it from passivity. The concept of Yin and Yang, often mistakenly conceived of as a symbol of dualism, is actually meant to convey the notion that all apparent opposites are complementary parts of a non-dual whole.[233]

Western traditions

A modern strand of thought sees "nondual consciousness" as a universal psychological state, which is a common stratum and of the same essence in different spiritual traditions.[2] It is derived from Neo-Vedanta and neo-Advaita, but has historical roots in neo-Platonism, Western esotericism, and Perennialism. The idea of nondual consciousness as "the central essence"[234] is a universalistic and perennialist idea, which is part of a modern mutual exchange and synthesis of ideas between western spiritual and esoteric traditions and Asian religious revival and reform movements.[note 24]

Central elements in the western traditions are Neo-Platonism, which had a strong influence on Christian contemplation c.q. mysticism, and its accompanying apophatic theology; and Western esotericism, which also incorporated Neo-Platonism and Gnostic elements including Hermeticism. Western traditions are, among others, the idea of a Perennial Philosophy, Swedenborgianism, Unitarianism, Orientalism, Transcendentalism, Theosophy, and New Age.[237]

Eastern movements are the Hindu reform movements such as Vivekananda's Neo-Vedanta and Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, the Vipassana movement, and Buddhist modernism.[note 25]

Roman world


Since its beginning, Gnosticism has been characterized by many dualisms and dualities, including the doctrine of a separate God and Manichaean (good/evil) dualism.[238] Ronald Miller interprets the Gospel of Thomas as a teaching of "nondualistic consciousness".[239]


The precepts of Neoplatonism of Plotinus (2nd century) assert nondualism.[240] Neoplatonism had a strong influence on Christian mysticism.

Some scholars suggest a possible link of more ancient Indian philosophies on Neoplatonism, while other scholars consider these claims as unjustified and extravagant with the counter hypothesis that nondualism developed independently in ancient India and Greece.[241] The nondualism of Advaita Vedanta and Neoplatonism have been compared by various scholars,[242] such as J. F. Staal,[243] Frederick Copleston,[244] Aldo Magris and Mario Piantelli,[245] Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan,[246] Gwen Griffith-Dickson,[247] John Y. Fenton[248] and Dale Riepe.[249]

Medieval Abrahamic religions

Christian contemplation and mysticism

In Christian mysticism, contemplative prayer and Apophatic theology are central elements. In contemplative prayer, the mind is focused by constant repetition a phrase or word. Saint John Cassian recommended use of the phrase "O God, make speed to save me: O Lord, make haste to help me".[250][251] Another formula for repetition is the name of Jesus.[252][253] or the Jesus Prayer, which has been called "the mantra of the Orthodox Church",[251] although the term "Jesus Prayer" is not found in the Fathers of the Church.[254] The author of The Cloud of Unknowing recommended use of a monosyllabic word, such as "God" or "Love".[255]

Apophatic theology is derived from Neo-Platonism via Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. In this approach, the notion of God is stripped from all positive qualifications, leaving a "darkness" or "unground." It had a strong influence on western mysticism. A notable example is Meister Eckhart, who also attracted attention from Zen-Buddhists like D.T. Suzuki in modern times, due to the similarities between Buddhist thought and Neo-Platonism.

The Cloud of Unknowing – an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century – advocates a mystic relationship with God. The text describes a spiritual union with God through the heart. The author of the text advocates centering prayer, a form of inner silence. According to the text, God can not be known through knowledge or from intellection. It is only by emptying the mind of all created images and thoughts that we can arrive to experience God. Continuing on this line of thought, God is completely unknowable by the mind. God is not known through the intellect but through intense contemplation, motivated by love, and stripped of all thought.[256]

Thomism, though not non-dual in the ordinary sense, considers the unity of God so absolute that even the duality of subject and predicate, to describe him, can be true only by analogy. In Thomist thought, even the Tetragrammaton is only an approximate name, since "I am" involves a predicate whose own essence is its subject.[257]

The former nun and contemplative Bernadette Roberts is considered a nondualist by Jerry Katz.[2]

Jewish Hasidism and Kabbalism

According to Jay Michaelson, nonduality begins to appear in the medieval Jewish textual tradition which peaked in Hasidism.[240] According to Michaelson:

Judaism has within it a strong and very ancient mystical tradition that is deeply nondualistic. "Ein Sof" or infinite nothingness is considered the ground face of all that is. God is considered beyond all proposition or preconception. The physical world is seen as emanating from the nothingness as the many faces "partsufim" of god that are all a part of the sacred nothingness.[258]

One of the most striking contributions of the Kabbalah, which became a central idea in Chasidic thought, was a highly innovative reading of the monotheistic idea. The belief in "one G-d" is no longer perceived as the mere rejection of other deities or intermediaries, but a denial of any existence outside of G-d.[note 26]

Neoplatonism in Islam

Western esotericism

Western esotericism (also called esotericism and esoterism) is a scholarly term for a wide range of loosely related ideas and movements which have developed within Western society. They are largely distinct both from orthodox Judeo-Christian religion and from Enlightenment rationalism. The earliest traditions which later analysis would label as forms of Western esotericism emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity, where Hermetism, Gnosticism, and Neoplatonism developed as schools of thought distinct from what became mainstream Christianity. In Renaissance Europe, interest in many of these older ideas increased, with various intellectuals seeking to combine "pagan" philosophies with the Kabbalah and with Christian philosophy, resulting in the emergence of esoteric movements like Christian theosophy.

Perennial philosophy

The Perennial philosophy has its roots in the Renaissance interest in neo-Platonism and its idea of The One, from which all existence emanates. Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) sought to integrate Hermeticism with Greek and Jewish-Christian thought,[259] discerning a Prisca theologia which could be found in all ages.[260] Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94) suggested that truth could be found in many, rather than just two, traditions. He proposed a harmony between the thought of Plato and Aristotle, and saw aspects of the Prisca theologia in Averroes, the Koran, the Cabala and other sources.[261] Agostino Steuco (1497–1548) coined the term philosophia perennis.[262]


The western world has been exposed to Indian religions since the late 18th century.[263] The first western translation of a Sanskrit text was made in 1785.[263] It marked a growing interest in Indian culture and languages.[264] The first translation of the dualism and nondualism discussing Upanishads appeared in two parts in 1801 and 1802[265] and influenced Arthur Schopenhauer, who called them "the consolation of my life".[266] Early translations also appeared in other European languages.[267]

Transcendentalism and Unitarian Universalism

Transcendentalism was an early 19th-century liberal Protestant movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the Eastern region of the United States. It was rooted in English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume.[web 19]

The Transcendentalists emphasised an intuitive, experiential approach of religion.[web 20] Following Schleiermacher,[268] an individual's intuition of truth was taken as the criterion for truth.[web 20] In the late 18th and early 19th century, the first translations of Hindu texts appeared, which were read by the Transcendentalists and influenced their thinking.[web 20] The Transcendentalists also endorsed universalist and Unitarianist ideas, leading to Unitarian Universalism, the idea that there must be truth in other religions as well, since a loving God would redeem all living beings, not just Christians.[web 20][web 21]

Among the transcendentalists' core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.

The major figures in the movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Margaret Fuller and Amos Bronson Alcott.


Unitarian Universalism had a strong impact on Ram Mohan Roy and the Brahmo Samaj, and subsequently on Swami Vivekananda. Vivekananda was one of the main representatives of Neo-Vedanta, a modern interpretation of Hinduism in line with western esoteric traditions, especially Transcendentalism, New Thought and Theosophy.[269] His reinterpretation was, and is, very successful, creating a new understanding and appreciation of Hinduism within and outside India,[269] and was the principal reason for the enthusiastic reception of yoga, transcendental meditation and other forms of Indian spiritual self-improvement in the West.[270]

Narendranath Datta (Swami Vivekananda) became a member of a Freemasonry lodge "at some point before 1884"[271] and of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in his twenties, a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshab Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore.[272] Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, had a strong sympathy for the Unitarians,[273] who were closely connected to the Transcendentalists, who in turn were interested in and influenced by Indian religions early on.[274] It was in this cultic[275] milieu that Narendra became acquainted with Western esotericism.[276] Debendranath Tagore brought this "neo-Hinduism" closer in line with western esotericism, a development which was furthered by Keshubchandra Sen,[277] who was also influenced by transcendentalism, which emphasised personal religious experience over mere reasoning and theology.[278] Sen's influence brought Vivekananda fully into contact with western esotericism, and it was also via Sen that he met Ramakrishna.[279]

Vivekananda's acquaintance with western esotericism made him very successful in western esoteric circles, beginning with his speech in 1893 at the Parliament of Religions. Vivekananda adapted traditional Hindu ideas and religiosity to suit the needs and understandings of his western audiences, who were especially attracted by and familiar with western esoteric traditions and movements like Transcendentalism and New thought.[280]

In 1897 he founded the Ramakrishna Mission, which was instrumental in the spread of Neo-Vedanta in the west, and attracted people like Alan Watts. Aldous Huxley, author of The Perennial Philosophy, was associated with another neo-Vedanta organisation, the Vedanta Society of Southern California, founded and headed by Swami Prabhavananda. Together with Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, and other followers he was initiated by the Swami and was taught meditation and spiritual practices.[281]

Theosophical Society

A major force in the mutual influence of eastern and western ideas and religiosity was the Theosophical Society.[282][283] It searched for ancient wisdom in the east, spreading eastern religious ideas in the west.[284] One of its salient features was the belief in "Masters of Wisdom",[285][note 27] "beings, human or once human, who have transcended the normal frontiers of knowledge, and who make their wisdom available to others".[285] The Theosophical Society also spread western ideas in the east, aiding a modernisation of eastern traditions, and contributing to a growing nationalism in the Asian colonies.[235][note 28]

New Age

The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics".[290] The New Age aims to create "a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas" that is inclusive and pluralistic.[291] It holds to "a holistic worldview",[292] emphasising that the Mind, Body and Spirit are interrelated[293] and that there is a form of monism and unity throughout the universe.[web 22] It attempts to create "a worldview that includes both science and spirituality"[294] and embraces a number of forms of mainstream science as well as other forms of science that are considered fringe.[citation needed]

Scholarly debates

Nondual consciousness and mystical experience

Insight (prajna, kensho, satori, gnosis, theoria, illumination), especially enlightenment or the realization of the illusory nature of the autonomous "I" or self, is a key element in modern western nondual thought. It is the personal realization that ultimate reality is nondual, and is thought to be a validating means of knowledge of this nondual reality. This insight is interpreted as a psychological state, and labeled as religious or mystical experience.


According to Hori, the notion of "religious experience" can be traced back to William James, who used the term "religious experience" in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience.[295] The origins of the use of this term can be dated further back.[296]

In the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, several historical figures put forth very influential views that religion and its beliefs can be grounded in experience itself. While Kant held that moral experience justified religious beliefs, John Wesley in addition to stressing individual moral exertion thought that the religious experiences in the Methodist movement (paralleling the Romantic Movement) were foundational to religious commitment as a way of life.[297]

Wayne Proudfoot traces the roots of the notion of "religious experience" to the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), who argued that religion is based on a feeling of the infinite. The notion of "religious experience" was used by Schleiermacher and Albert Ritschl to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique, and defend the view that human (moral and religious) experience justifies religious beliefs.[296]

Such religious empiricism would be later seen as highly problematic and was – during the period in-between world wars – famously rejected by Karl Barth.[298] In the 20th century, religious as well as moral experience as justification for religious beliefs still holds sway. Some influential modern scholars holding this liberal theological view are Charles Raven and the Oxford physicist/theologian Charles Coulson.[299]

The notion of "religious experience" was adopted by many scholars of religion, of which William James was the most influential.[300][note 29]


The notion of "experience" has been criticised.[304][305][306] Robert Sharf points out that "experience" is a typical Western term, which has found its way into Asian religiosity via western influences.[304][note 30]

Insight is not the "experience" of some transcendental reality, but is a cognitive event, the (intuitive) understanding or "grasping" of some specific understanding of reality, as in kensho[308] or anubhava.[309]

"Pure experience" does not exist; all experience is mediated by intellectual and cognitive activity.[310][311] A pure consciousness without concepts, reached by "cleaning the doors of perception",[note 31] would be an overwhelming chaos of sensory input without coherence.[312]

Nondual consciousness as common essence

Common essence

A main modern proponent of perennialism was Aldous Huxley, who was influenced by Vivekanda's Neo-Vedanta and Universalism.[281] This popular approach finds supports in the "common-core thesis". According to the "common-core thesis",[313] different descriptions can mask quite similar if not identical experiences:[314]

According to Elias Amidon there is an "indescribable, but definitely recognizable, reality that is the ground of all being."[315] According to Renard, these are based on an experience or intuition of "the Real".[316] According to Amidon, this reality is signified by "many names" from "spiritual traditions throughout the world":[315]

[N]ondual awareness, pure awareness, open awareness, presence-awareness, unconditioned mind, rigpa, primordial experience, This, the basic state, the sublime, buddhanature, original nature, spontaneous presence, the oneness of being, the ground of being, the Real, clarity, God-consciousness, divine light, the clear light, illumination, realization and enlightenment.[315]

According to Renard, nondualism as common essence prefers the term "nondualism", instead of monism, because this understanding is "nonconceptual", "not graspapable in an idea".[316][note 32] Even to call this "ground of reality", "One", or "Oneness" is attributing a characteristic to that ground of reality. The only thing that can be said is that it is "not two" or "non-dual":[web 24][317] According to Renard, Alan Watts has been one of the main contributors to the popularisation of the non-monistic understanding of "nondualism".[316][note 33]


The "common-core thesis" is criticised by "diversity theorists" such as S.T Katz and W. Proudfoot.[314] They argue that

[N]o unmediated experience is possible, and that in the extreme, language is not simply used to interpret experience but in fact constitutes experience.[314]

The idea of a common essence has been questioned by Yandell, who discerns various "religious experiences" and their corresponding doctrinal settings, which differ in structure and phenomenological content, and in the "evidential value" they present.[319] Yandell discerns five sorts:[320]

1. Numinous experiences – Monotheism (Jewish, Christian, Vedantic)[321]
2. Nirvanic experiences – Buddhism,[322] "according to which one sees that the self is but a bundle of fleeting states"[323]
3. Kevala experiences[324] – Jainism,[325] "according to which one sees the self as an indestructible subject of experience"[325]
4. Moksha experiences[326] – Hinduism,[325] Brahman "either as a cosmic person, or, quite differently, as qualityless"[325]
5. Nature mystical experience[324]

The specific teachings and practices of a specific tradition may determine what "experience" someone has, which means that this "experience" is not the proof of the teaching, but a result of the teaching.[327] The notion of what exactly constitutes "liberating insight" varies between the various traditions, and even within the traditions. Bronkhorst for example notices that the conception of what exactly "liberating insight" is in Buddhism was developed over time. Whereas originally it may not have been specified, later on the Four Truths served as such, to be superseded by pratityasamutpada, and still later, in the Hinayana schools, by the doctrine of the non-existence of a substantial self or person.[328] And Schmithausen notices that still other descriptions of this "liberating insight" exist in the Buddhist canon.[329]

See also


• Abheda
• Acosmism (belief that the world is illusory)
• Anatta (Belief that there is no self)
• Cosmic Consciousness
• Emanationism
• Henosis (Union with the absolute)
• Holism
• Kenosis (Self-emptying)
• Maya (illusion) (Cosmic illusion)
• Monad (philosophy)
• Neo-Advaita
• Nihilism
• Nirguna Brahman
• Oceanic feeling
• Open individualism
• Panentheism
• Pantheism (Belief that God and the world are identical)
• Pluralism (metaphysics)
• Process Psychology
• Rigpa
• Shuddhadvaita
• Sunyata (Emptiness).
• The All
• Turiya
• Yanantin (Complementary dualism in Native South American culture)
Metaphors for nondualisms
• Jewel Net of Indra, Avatamsaka Sutra
• Blind men and an elephant
• Eclipse
• Garden of Eden
• Hermaphrodite, e.g. Ardhanārīśvara
• Mirror and reflections, as a metaphor for the continuum of the subject-object in the mirror-the-mind and the interiority of perception and its illusion of projected exteriority
• Great Rite
• Sacred marriage


1. See Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Bucke
2. See, FAQ and, What is Nonduality, Nondualism, or Advaita? Over 100 definitions, descriptions, and discussions.
3. According to Loy, nondualism is primarily an Eastern way of understanding: "...[the seed of nonduality] however often sown, has never found fertile soil [in the West], because it has been too antithetical to those other vigorous sprouts that have grown into modern science and technology. In the Eastern tradition [...] we encounter a different situation. There the seeds of seer-seen nonduality not only sprouted but matured into a variety (some might say a jungle) of impressive philosophical species. By no means do all these [Eastern] systems assert the nonduality of subject and object, but it is significant that three which do – Buddhism, Vedanta and Taoism – have probably been the most influential.[20] According to Loy, referred by Pritscher:
...when you realize that the nature of your mind and the [U]niverse are nondual, you are enlightened.[21]
4. This is reflected in the name "Advaita Vision," the website of, which propagates a broad and inclusive understanding of advaita.[web 3]
5. Edward Roer translates the early medieval era Brihadaranyakopnisad-bhasya as, "(...) Lokayatikas and Bauddhas who assert that the soul does not exist. There are four sects among the followers of Buddha: 1. Madhyamicas who maintain all is void; 2. Yogacharas, who assert except sensation and intelligence all else is void; 3. Sautranticas, who affirm actual existence of external objects no less than of internal sensations; 4. Vaibhashikas, who agree with later (Sautranticas) except that they contend for immediate apprehension of exterior objects through images or forms represented to the intellect."[43][44]
6. "A" means "not", or "non"; "jāti" means "creation" or "origination;[84] "vāda" means "doctrine"[84]
7. The influence of Mahayana Buddhism on other religions and philosophies was not limited to Advaita Vedanta. Kalupahana notes that the Visuddhimagga contains "some metaphysical speculations, such as those of the Sarvastivadins, the Sautrantikas, and even the Yogacarins".[86]
8. Neo-Vedanta seems to be closer to Bhedabheda-Vedanta than to Shankara's Advaita Vedanta, with the acknowledgement of the reality of the world. Nicholas F. Gier: "Ramakrsna, Svami Vivekananda, and Aurobindo (I also include M.K. Gandhi) have been labeled "neo-Vedantists," a philosophy that rejects the Advaitins' claim that the world is illusory. Aurobindo, in his The Life Divine, declares that he has moved from Sankara's "universal illusionism" to his own "universal realism" (2005: 432), defined as metaphysical realism in the European philosophical sense of the term."[97]
9. Abhinavgupta (between 10th – 11th century AD) who summarized the view points of all previous thinkers and presented the philosophy in a logical way along with his own thoughts in his treatise Tantraloka.[web 6]
10. A Christian reference. See [web 8] and [web 9] Ramana was taught at Christian schools.[115]
11. Marek: "Wobei der Begriff Neo-Advaita darauf hinweist, dass sich die traditionelle Advaita von dieser Strömung zunehmend distanziert, da sie die Bedeutung der übenden Vorbereitung nach wie vor als unumgänglich ansieht. (The term Neo-Advaita indicating that the traditional Advaita increasingly distances itself from this movement, as they regard preparational practicing still as inevitable)[120]
12. Alan Jacobs: "Many firm devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi now rightly term this western phenomenon as 'Neo-Advaita'. The term is carefully selected because 'neo' means 'a new or revived form'. And this new form is not the Classical Advaita which we understand to have been taught by both of the Great Self Realised Sages, Adi Shankara and Ramana Maharshi. It can even be termed 'pseudo' because, by presenting the teaching in a highly attenuated form, it might be described as purporting to be Advaita, but not in effect actually being so, in the fullest sense of the word. In this watering down of the essential truths in a palatable style made acceptable and attractive to the contemporary western mind, their teaching is misleading."[121]
13. Presently Cohen has distanced himself from Poonja, and calls his teachings "Evolutionary Enlightenment".[124] What Is Enlightenment, the magazine published by Choen's organisation, has been critical of neo-Advaita several times, as early as 2001. See.[web 11][web 12][web 13]
14. See also essence and function and Absolute-relative on Chinese Chán
15. Nagarjuna, Mūlamadhyamakakārika 24:8-10. Jay L. Garfield, Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way[144]
16. See, for an influential example, Tsongkhapa, who states that "things" do exist conventionally, but ultimately everything is dependently arisen, and therefor void of inherent existence.[web 15]
17. "Representation-only"[157] or "mere representation."[web 17]Oxford reference: "Some later forms of Yogācāra lend themselves to an idealistic interpretation of this theory but such a view is absent from the works of the early Yogācārins such as Asaṇga and Vasubandhu."[web 17]
18. Full: rigpa ngo-sprod gcer-mthong rang-grol[224]
19. This text is part of a collection of teachings entitled "Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones"[225] (zab-chos zhi khro dgongs pa rang grol, also known as kar-gling zhi-khro[226]), which includes the two texts of bar-do thos-grol, the so-called "Tibetan Book of the Dead".[227] The bar-do thos-grol was translated by Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868–1922), and edited and published by W.Y. Evans-Wenz. This translation became widely known and popular as "the Tibetan Book of the Dead", but contains many misatkes in translation and interpretation.[227][228]
20. Rigpa Wiki: "Nature of mind (Skt. cittatā; Tib. སེམས་ཉིད་, semnyi; Wyl. sems nyid) — defined in the tantras as the inseparable unity of awareness and emptiness, or clarity and emptiness, which is the basis for all the ordinary perceptions, thoughts and emotions of the ordinary mind (སེམས་, sem)."[web 18]
21. See Dharma Dictionary, thig le nyag gcig
22. See also Self Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness
23. Inaction, non-action, nothing doing, without ado
24. See McMahan, "The making of Buddhist modernity"[235] and Richard E. King, "Orientalism and Religion"[236] for descriptions of this mutual exchange.
25. The awareness of historical precedents seems to be lacking in nonduality-adherents, just as the subjective perception of parallelsbetween a wide variety of religious traditions lacks a rigorous philosophical or theoretical underpinning.
26. As Rabbi Moshe Cordovero explains: "Before anything was emanated, there was only the Infinite One (Ein Sof), which was all that existed. And even after He brought into being everything which exists, there is nothing but Him, and you cannot find anything that existed apart from Him, G-d forbid. For nothing existed devoid of G-d's power, for if there were, He would be limited and subject to duality, G-d forbid. Rather, G-d is everything that exists, but everything that exists is not G-d... Nothing is devoid of His G-dliness: everything is within it... There is nothing but it" (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Elimah Rabasi, p. 24d-25a; for sources in early Chasidism see: Rabbi Ya'akov Yosef of Polonne, Ben Poras Yosef (Piotrków 1884), pp. 140, 168; Keser Shem Tov(Brooklyn: Kehos 2004) pp. 237-8; Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, Pri Ha-Aretz, (Kopust 1884), p. 21.). See The Practical Tanya, Part One, The Book for Inbetweeners, Schneur Zalman of Liadi, adapted by Chaim Miller, Gutnick Library of Jewish Classics, p. 232-233
27. See also Ascended Master Teachings
28. The Theosophical Society had a major influence on Buddhist modernism[235] and Hindu reform movements,[283] and the spread of those modernised versions in the west.[235] The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united from 1878 to 1882, as the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj.[286] Along with H. S. Olcott and Anagarika Dharmapala, Blavatsky was instrumental in the Western transmission and revival of Theravada Buddhism.[287][288][289]
29. James also gives descriptions of conversion experiences. The Christian model of dramatic conversions, based on the role-model of Paul's conversion, may also have served as a model for Western interpretations and expectations regarding "enlightenment", similar to Protestant influences on Theravada Buddhism, as described by Carrithers: "It rests upon the notion of the primacy of religious experiences, preferably spectacular ones, as the origin and legitimation of religious action. But this presupposition has a natural home, not in Buddhism, but in Christian and especially Protestant Christian movements which prescribe a radical conversion."[301] See Sekida for an example of this influence of William James and Christian conversion stories, mentioning Luther[302] and St. Paul.[303] See also McMahan for the influence of Christian thought on Buddhism.[235]
30. Robert Sharf: "[T]he role of experience in the history of Buddhism has been greatly exaggerated in contemporary scholarship. Both historical and ethnographic evidence suggests that the privileging of experience may well be traced to certain twentieth-century reform movements, notably those that urge a return to zazen or vipassana meditation, and these reforms were profoundly influenced by religious developments in the west [...] While some adepts may indeed experience "altered states" in the course of their training, critical analysis shows that such states do not constitute the reference point for the elaborate Buddhist discourse pertaining to the "path".[307]
31. William Blake: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru' narrow chinks of his cavern."[web 23]
32. In Dutch: "Niet in een denkbeeld te vatten".[316]
33. According to Renard, Alan Watts has explained the difference between "non-dualism" and "monism" in The Supreme Identity, Faber and Faber 1950, p.69 and 95; The Way of Zen, Pelican-edition 1976, p.59-60.[318]
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1. John A. Grimes (1996). A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English. State University of New York Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7914-3067-5.
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9. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Robert Hume (Translator), Oxford University Press, pp. 127–147
10. Max Muller, Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 15, Oxford University Press, page 171
11. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Robert Hume (Translator), Oxford University Press, page 138
12. Paul Deussen (1997), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814677, page 491; Sanskrit: ससलिले एकस् द्रष्टा अद्वैतस् भवति एष ब्रह्मलोकः (...)
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14. S Menon (2011), Advaita Vedanta, IEP, Quote:"The essential philosophy of Advaita is an idealist monism, and is considered to be presented first in the Upaniṣads and consolidated in the Brahma Sūtra by this tradition."
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20. Loy 1988, p. 3.
21. Pritscher 2001, p. 16.
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25. Renard 2010, p. 88.
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27. Renard 2010, p. 89.
28. Sarma 1996, p. xii.
29. Ksemaraja, trans. by Jaidev Singh, Spanda Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.119
30. Sarma 1996, p. xi.
31. Renard 2010, p. 91-92.
32. Renard 2010, p. 92.
33. Renard 2010, p. 93.
34. Renard 2010, p. 97.
35. Renard 2010, p. 98.
36. Renard 2010, p. 96.
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[c] Richard Davis (2014), Ritual in an Oscillating Universe: Worshipping Siva in Medieval India, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-60308-7, page 167 note 21, Quote (page 13): "Some agamas argue a monist metaphysics, while others are decidedly dualist."
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49. Stoker, Valerie (2011). "Madhva (1238–1317)". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
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61. [a] Atman, Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press (2012), Quote: "1. real self of the individual; 2. a person's soul";
[ b] John Bowker (2000), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-280094-7, See entry for Atman;
[c] WJ Johnson (2009), A Dictionary of Hinduism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-861025-0, See entry for Atman (self).
62. R Dalal (2011), The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths, Penguin, ISBN 978-0-14-341517-6, page 38
63. [a] David Lorenzen (2004), The Hindu World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21527-7, pages 208–209, Quote: "Advaita and nirguni movements, on the other hand, stress an interior mysticism in which the devotee seeks to discover the identity of individual soul (atman) with the universal ground of being (brahman) or to find god within himself".;
[ b] Richard King (1995), Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2513-8, page 64, Quote: "Atman as the innermost essence or soul of man, and Brahman as the innermost essence and support of the universe. (...) Thus we can see in the Upanishads, a tendency towards a convergence of microcosm and macrocosm, culminating in the equating of atman with Brahman".
[c] Chad Meister (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-534013-6, page 63; Quote: "Even though Buddhism explicitly rejected the Hindu ideas of Atman (soul) and Brahman, Hinduism treats Sakyamuni Buddha as one of the ten avatars of Vishnu."
64. Deussen, Paul and Geden, A. S. The Philosophy of the Upanishads. Cosimo Classics (1 June 2010). P. 86. ISBN 1-61640-240-7.
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67. A Rambachan (2006), The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-6852-4, pages 47, 99–103
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75. John Grimes, Review of Richard King's Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism, Journal of the American Academy of Religion Vol. 66, No. 3 (Autumn, 1998), pp. 684–686
76. S. Mudgal, Advaita of Sankara, A Reappraisal, Impact of Buddhism and Samkhya on Sankara's thought, Delhi 1975, p.187"
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90. [a] KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, ISBN 978-8120806191, pp. 246–249, from note 385 onwards;
[ b] Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791422175, page 64; "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence.";
[c] Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction, p. 2, at Google Books to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, pp. 2–4;
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1. What is Non-Duality?
2. Elizabeth Reninger, Guide Review: David Loy’s "Nonduality: A Study In Comparative Philosophy"
3. Advaita Vision - Ongoing Development
4. Sanskrit Dictionary, Atman
5. Michael Hawley, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
6. Piyaray L. Raina, Kashmir Shaivism versus Vedanta – A Synopsis
7. Sri Ramanasramam, "A lineage of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi?" Archived 13 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
8. David Godman (1992), I am – The First Name of God. The Mountain Path, 1992, pp. 26–35 and pp. 126–42
9. David Godman (1991), 'I' and 'I-I' – A Reader's Query. The Mountain Path, 1991, pp. 79–88. Part one
10. American Gurus: Seven Questions for Arthur VersluisArchived 17 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine
11. What is Enlightenment? September 1, 2006
12. What is Enlightenment? December 31, 2001 Archived 10 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
13. What is Enlightenment? December 1, 2005
14. [8] (accessed: Friday November 6, 2009)
15. Patrick Jennings, Tsongkhapa: In Praise of Relativity; The Essence of Eloquence Archived 18 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
16. Susan Kahn, The Two Truths of Buddhism and The Emptiness of Emptiness
17. Oxford Reference, vijñapti-mātra
18. Rigpa Wiki, Nature of Mind
19. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Transcendentalism
20. Jone John Lewis, What is Transcendentalism?"
22. Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. Cult Observer, 1993, Volume 10, No. 1. What Is "New Age"?, retrieved 2006-07
23. Quote DB
24. Swami Jnaneshvara, Faces of Nondualism

Further reading


• Katz, Jerry (2007), One: Essential Writings on Nonduality, Sentient Publications
• Loy, David (1988), Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy, New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, ISBN 1-57392-359-1
• Renard, Philip (2010), Non-Dualisme. De directe bevrijdingsweg, Cothen: Uitgeverij Juwelenschip
• Taft, Michael (2014), Nondualism: A Brief History of a Timeless Concept, Cephalopod Rex
• King, Richard (2002), Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and "The Mystic East", Routledge
• Kalupahana, David J. (1994), A history of Buddhist philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited
• Newland, Guy (2008), Introduction to Emptiness: As Taught in Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, Ithaca
Advaita Vedanta
• Sarma, Chandradhar (1996), The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass

External links

• Media related to Nondualism at Wikimedia Commons


• Susan Kahn, The Two Truths of Buddhism and The Emptiness of Emptiness
• Patrick Jennings, Tsongkhapa: In Praise of Relativity; The Essence of Eloquence
• Emptiness, Buddhist and Beyond


• Wellings, Nigel (2009). "Is there anything there? – the Tibetan Rangtong Shentong debate".
• Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche, Vedanta vis-a-vis Shentong
• Alexander Berin, Self-Voidness and Other Voidness

Advaita Vedanta

• Advaita Vedanta at Curlie
• David Loy, Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?
• Vedanta Hub - Resources to help with the Study and Practice of Advaita Vedanta
Comparison of Advaita and Buddhism[edit]
• Alexander Berzin, Study Buddhism, Nonduality in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta
• David Paul Boaz, Unbounded Wholeness: Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta in a Postmodern World
• Eric T. Reynolds, On the relationship of Advaita Vedānta and Mādhyamika Buddhism
• On Hesychasm and Eastern Christian mysticism

Nondual consciousness


• Non-duality Magazine
• Undivided. The Online Journal of Nonduality and Psychology
• Sarlo's Guru Rating Service: list of nondual teachers
•, Western Teachers and Writers
• Swami Jnaneshvara, Faces of Nondualism
• After Non Duality
• Jed McKenna, Non-Dualist Fundamentalism
• Gregory Desilet, Derrida and Nonduality
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:05 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/20/19



Dualism in Indian philosophy refers to the belief held by certain schools of Indian philosophy that reality is fundamentally composed of two parts. This mainly takes the form of either mind-matter dualism in Buddhist philosophy or consciousness-matter dualism in the Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy. These can be contrasted with mind-body dualism in Western philosophy of mind, but also have similarities with it.

Another form of dualism in Hindu philosophy is found in the Dvaita ("dualism") Vedanta school, which regards God and the world as two realities with distinct essences; this is a form of theistic dualism. By contrast, schools such as Advaita ("nondualism") Vedanta embrace absolute monism and regard dualism as an illusion (maya).

Buddhist philosophy

During the classical era of Buddhist philosophy in India, philosophers such as Dharmakirti argued for a dualism between states of consciousness and Buddhist atoms (the basic building blocks that make up reality), according to the "standard interpretation" of Dharmakirti's Buddhist metaphysics.[1]

Samkhya and Yogic philosophy

While Western philosophical traditions, as exemplified by Descartes, equate mind with the conscious self and theorize on consciousness on the basis of mind/body dualism; some Eastern philosophies provide an alternate viewpoint, intimately related to substance dualism, by drawing a metaphysical line between consciousness and matter — where matter includes both body and mind.[2][3]

In Samkhya and Yoga, two of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy, "there are two irreducible, innate and independent realities: 1) consciousness itself (Purusha), and 2) primordial materiality (Prakriti)". The unconscious primordial materiality, Prakriti, contains 23 components including intellect (buddhi, mahat), ego (ahamkara) and mind (manas). Therefore, the intellect, mind and ego are all seen as forms of unconscious matter.[4] Thought processes and mental events are conscious only to the extent they receive illumination from Purusha. Consciousness is compared to light which illuminates the material configurations or 'shapes' assumed by the mind. So intellect after receiving cognitive structures form the mind and illumination from pure consciousness creates thought structures that appear to be conscious.[5] Ahamkara, the ego or the phenomenal self, appropriates all mental experiences to itself and thus, personalizes the objective activities of mind and intellect by assuming possession of them.[6] But consciousness is itself independent of the thought structures it illuminates.[5]

By including mind in the realm of matter, Samkhya-Yoga avoids one of the most serious pitfalls of Cartesian dualism, the violation of physical conservation laws. Because mind is an evolute of matter, mental events are granted causal efficacy and are therefore able to initiate bodily motions.[7]

Dvaita philosophy

The Dvaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy espouses a dualism between God and the universe by theorizing the existence of two separate realities. The first and the more important reality is that of Shiva or Shakti or Vishnu or Brahman. Shiva or Shakti or Vishnu is the supreme Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of dependent but equally real universe that exists with its own separate essence. Everything that is composed of the second reality, such as individual soul (Jiva), matter, etc. exist with their own separate reality. The distinguishing factor of this philosophy as opposed to Advaita Vedanta (monistic conclusion of Vedas) is that God takes on a personal role and is seen as a real eternal entity that governs and controls the universe. Because the existence of individuals is grounded in the divine, they are depicted as reflections, images or even shadows of the divine, but never in any way identical with the divine. Salvation therefore is described as the realization that all finite reality is essentially dependent on the Supreme.[8]

See also

• Dravya
• Dualistic cosmology
• Panpsychism


1. Georges B.J. Dreyfus, Recognizing Reality, SUNY Press 1996 (ISBN 978-0791430989)
2. Haney, p. 17.
3. Isaac, p. 339.
4. Haney, p. 42.
5. Isaac, p. 342.
6. Leaman, p. 68.
7. Leaman, p. 248.
8. Fowler, Jeaneane D. Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism. Sussex Academic Press. P. 340-344. ISBN 1-898723-93-1.


• Haney, William S. Culture and Consciousness: Literature Regained. Bucknell University Press (August 1, 2002). ISBN 1611481724.
• Isaac, J. R.; Dangwal, Ritu; Chakraborty, C. Proceedings. International conference on cognitive systems (1997). Allied Publishers Ltd. ISBN 81-7023-746-7.
• Leaman, Oliver. Eastern Philosophy: Key Readings. Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0-415-17357-4.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:10 am

Reality in Buddhism
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/20/19



Reality in Buddhism is called dharma (Sanskrit) or dhamma (Pali). This word, which is foundational to the conceptual frameworks of the Indian religions, refers in Buddhism to the system of natural laws which constitute the natural order of things. Dharma is therefore reality as-it-is (yatha-bhuta). The teaching of Gautama Buddha constituting as it does a method by which people can come out of their condition of suffering (dukkha) involves developing an awareness of reality (see mindfulness). Buddhism thus seeks to address any disparity between a person's view of reality and the actual state of things. This is called developing Right or Correct View (Pali: samma ditthi). Seeing reality as-it-is is thus an essential prerequisite to mental health and well-being according to Buddha's teaching.

Buddhism addresses deeply philosophical questions regarding the nature of reality. One of the fundamental teachings is that all the constituent forms (sankharas) that make up the universe are transient (Pali: anicca), arising and passing away, and therefore without concrete identity or ownership (atta). This lack of enduring ownership or identity (anatta) of phenomena has important consequences for the possibility of liberation from the conditions which give rise to suffering. This is explained in the doctrine of interdependent origination.

One of the most discussed themes in Buddhism is that of the emptiness (sunyata) of form (Pali: rūpa), an important corollary of the transient and conditioned nature of phenomena. Reality is seen, ultimately, in Buddhism as a form of 'projection', resulting from the fruition (vipaka) of karmic seeds (sankharas). The precise nature of this 'illusion' that is the phenomenal universe is debated among different schools. For example;

• Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of. Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma.
• Other schools of thought in Buddhism (e.g., Dzogchen), consider perceived reality literally unreal. As a prominent contemporary teacher puts it: "In a real sense, all the visions that we see in our lifetime are like a big dream [...]".[1] In this context, the term 'visions' denotes not only visual perceptions, but appearances perceived through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations, and operations on received mental objects.

Reality in Buddhist sutras

Buddhist sutras devote considerable space to the concept of reality, with each of two major doctrines—the Doctrine of Dependent Origination (pratitya-samutpada) and the Doctrine of Cause and Effect (karma and vipaka)—attempting to incorporate both the natural and the spiritual into its overall world view. Buddhist teachings continue to explore the nature of the world and our place in it.

The Buddha promoted experience over theorizing. According to Karel Werner,

Experience is ... the path most elaborated in early Buddhism. The doctrine on the other hand was kept low. The Buddha avoided doctrinal formulations concerning the final reality as much as possible in order to prevent his followers from resting content with minor achievements on the path in which the absence of the final experience could be substituted by conceptual understanding of the doctrine or by religious faith, a situation which sometimes occurs, in both varieties, in the context of Hindu systems of doctrine.[2]

The Mahayana developed those statements he did make into an extensive, diverse set of sometimes contrasting descriptions of reality "as it really is."[3] For example, in Tibetan Buddhism the Gelugpa draw a distinction between Svatantrika-Prasaṅgika in Madhyamika philosophy.[4] This distinction was most prominently promulgated by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419 CE), when he argued that this distinction can be found explicitly and implicitly within in the works of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, and Buddhapalita.[5]

The Theravada school teaches that there is no universal personal god. The world as we know it does not have its origin in a primordial being such as Brahman or the Abrahamic God. What we see is only a product of transitory factors of existence, which depend functionally upon each other. The Buddha is said to have said: "The world exists because of causal actions, all things are produced by causal actions and all beings are governed and bound by causal actions. They are fixed like the rolling wheel of a cart, fixed by the pin of its axle shaft." (Sutta-Nipata 654)[6]

The word 'illusion' is frequently associated with Buddhism and the nature of reality. Some interpretations of Buddhism teach that reality is a coin with two sides: the not-permanent characteristic or anicca and the "not-self characteristic" or anatta, referred to as "emptiness" in some Mahayana schools. Dzogchen, as the non-dual culmination of the Ancient School (a school with a few million followers out of a few hundred million Buddhists) of Mantrayana, resolves atman and anatman into the Mindstream Doctrine of Tapihritsa. The Buddha Shakyamuni is said to have taught the variously understood and interpreted concept of "not-self" in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta. In this sutta, he lists the characteristics that we often associate with who we are, and found that these characteristics, ultimately, are not who we are because they are subject to change without control. He further illustrates the changing nature of our feelings, perceptions, and consciousness.

We can look at the concepts of not-permanent and not-self in objective terms, for example by deconstructing the concept of an aggregated object such as a lotus and seeing that the flower is made up entirely of non-flower elements like soil, nutrients, photosynthetic energy, rain water and the effort of the entities that nourished and grew the flower. All of these factors, according to the Diamond Sutra, co-exist with each other to manifest what we call a 'flower'. In other words, there is no essence arisen from nothingness that is unique and personal to any being. In particular, there is neither a human soul that lives on beyond the death of the physical body nor one that is extinguished at death since, strictly speaking, there is nothing to extinguish. The relative reality (i.e., the illusory perceived reality) comes from our belief that we are separate from the rest of the things in the universe and, at times, at odds with the processes of nature and other beings. The ultimate or absolute reality, in some schools of Buddhist thought, shows that we are inter-connected with all things. The concept of non-discrimination expands on this by saying that, while a chair is different from a flower, they 'inter-are' because they are each made of non-flower and non-chair elements. Ultimately those elements are the same, so the distinction between chair and flower is one of quantity not of quality.

The Diamond Sutra, a Mahayana scripture, has many passages that use the formula: A is not A, therefore A is called A.

Reality and dreams in Dzogchen

In Dzogchen, perceived reality is considered to be relatively unreal.

The real sky is (knowing) that samsara and nirvana are merely an illusory display.[7]

— Mipham Rinpoche, Quintessential Instructions of Mind, p. 117

According to contemporary teacher Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, all appearances perceived during the whole life of an individual, through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations in their totality, are like a big dream. It is claimed that, on careful examination, the dream of life and regular nightly dreams are not very different, and that in their essential nature there is no difference between them.

The non-essential difference between the dreaming state and ordinary waking experience is that the latter is more concrete and linked to attachment; the dreaming experience while sleeping is slightly detached.

Also according to this teaching, there is a correspondence between the states of sleep and dream and our experiences when we die. After experiencing the intermediate state of bardo, an individual comes out of it, a new karmic illusion is created and another existence begins. This is how transmigration happens.

According to Dzogchen teachings, the energy of an individual is essentially without form and free from duality. However, karmic traces contained in the individual's mindstream give rise to two kinds of forms:

• forms that the individual experiences as his or her body, voice and mind
• forms that the individual experiences as an external environment.

What appears as a world of permanent external phenomena, is the energy of the individual him or herself. There is nothing completely external or separate from the individual. Everything that manifests in the individual's field of experience is a continuum. This is the 'Great Perfection' that is discovered in Dzogchen practice.[8]

It is possible to do yogic practice such as Dream Yoga and Yoga Nidra whilst dreaming, sleeping and in other bardo states of trance. In this way the yogi can have a very strong experience and with this comes understanding of the dream-like nature of daily life. This is also very relevant to diminishing attachments, because they are based on strong beliefs that life's perceptions such as objects are real and as a consequence: important. If one really understands what Buddha Shakyamuni meant when he said that everything is (relatively) unreal, then one can diminish attachments and tensions.

The teacher advises that the realization that life is only a big dream can help us finally liberate ourselves from the chains of various emotions, different kinds of attachment and the chains of ego. Then we have the possibility of ultimately becoming enlightened.[1]

Different schools and traditions in Tibetan Buddhism give different explanations of what is called "reality".[9][10]

Reality in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras

Prior to the period of the Tathagatagarbha Sutras, Mahayana metaphysics had been dominated by teachings on emptiness in the form of Madhyamaka philosophy. The language used by this approach is primarily negative, and the Tathagatagarbha genre of sutras can be seen as an attempt to state orthodox Buddhist teachings of dependent origination using positive language instead, to prevent people from being turned away from Buddhism by a false impression of nihilism. In these sutras the perfection of the wisdom of not-self is stated to be the true self; the ultimate goal of the path is then characterized using a range of positive language that had been used in Indian philosophy previously by essentialist philosophers, but which was now transmuted into a new Buddhist vocabulary to describe a being who has successfully completed the Buddhist path.[11]

Contrasting with some forms of Buddhism, the Buddha's teaching on 'reality' in the Tathagatagarbha Mahayana scriptures - which the Buddha states constitute the ultimate manifestation of the Mahayana Dharma (other Mahayana sutras make similar claims about their own teachings) - insists that there truly is a sphere or realm of ultimate truth - not just a repetitious cycle of interconnected elements, each dependent on the others. That suffering-filled cycle of x-generating-y-and-y-generating-z-and-z-generating-a, etc., is Samsara, the prison-house of the reincarnating non-self; whereas liberation from dependency, enforced rebirth and bondage is nirvana or reality / spiritual essence (tattva / dharmata). This sphere also bears the name Tathagatagarbha (Buddha matrix). It is the deathless realm where dependent origination holds no sway, where non-self is supplanted by the everlasting, sovereign (aishvarya) self (atman) (as a trans-historical, unconditioned, ultimate, liberating, supra-worldly yet boundless and immanent awakened mind). Of this real truth, called nirvana - which, while salvationally infused into samsara, is not bound or imprisoned in it - the Buddha states in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra:[12]

"What is the Real (tattva)? Knowledge of the true attributes of Nirvana; the Tathagata, the Dharma, the Sangha, and the attributes of space ... is the Real. What is knowledge of the attributes of Nirvana? The attributes of Nirvana are eightfold. What are these eight? Cessation [of ignorance and suffering]; loveliness/ wholesomeness; Truth; Reality; Eternity, Bliss, the Self [atman], and complete Purity: that is Nirvana."

He further comments: " ... that which is endowed with the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and Purity is stated to be the meaning of 'Real Truth' ... Moreover, the Real is the Tathagata [i.e., the Buddha]; the Tathagata is the Real ... The Tathagata is not conditioned and not tainted, but utterly blissful: this is the Real ...".

Thus, in such doctrines, a very positive goal is envisioned, which is said to lie beyond the grasp of the five senses and the ordinary, restless mind, and only attainable through direct meditative perception and when all inner pollutants (twisted modes of view, and all moral contaminants) are purged, and the inherently deathless, spotless, radiantly shining mind of Buddha stands revealed. This is the realm of the Buddha-dhatu (popularly known as buddha nature) - inconceivable, beginning-less, endless, omniscient truth, the Dharmakaya (quintessential body-and-mind) of the Buddha. This reality is empty of all falsehood, impermanence, ignorance, afflictions, and pain, but filled with enduring happiness, purity, knowingness (jnana), and omni-radiant loving-kindness (maitri).


Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit: विपश्यन) in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. It is a practice of realizing our reality in order to see life as it is, in turn liberating ourselves like Buddha.

See also

• Anunatva-Apurnatva-Nirdesa
• Buddha-nature
• Dream argument
• Guhyagarbhatantra
• Kalachakra
• Kleshas (Buddhism)
• Mahaparinirvana Sutra
• Maya in Hinduism
• Nirvana the state of being free of illusion
• Reality and chakras in Bön
• Simulated reality
• Śūnyatā
• Tathagatagarbha
• Ten suchnesses


1. Sarvabuddhavishayavatarajñanalokalamkarasutra as cited by Elías Capriles: Clear Discrimination of Views Pointing at the Definitive Meaning. The Four Philosophical Schools of the Sutrayana Traditionally Taught in Tibet with Reference to the Dzogchen Teachings. Published on the Web.


1. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Dream Yoga And The Practice Of Natural Light Edited and introduced by Michael Katz, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, ISBN 1-55939-007-7, pp. 42, 46, 48, 96, 105.
2. Karel Werner, Mysticism and Indian Spirituality. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press, 1989, page 27.
3. See Henshall, Ron (2007), The Unborn and Emancipation from the Born[1], a master's thesis by a student of Peter Harvey.
4. Lama Tsongkhapa, Lamrim Chenmo V3 Pp 224-267
5. Lama Tsongkhapa, Lamrim Chenmo V3 Pp 224-267
6. [2]
7. In: Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light. Edited and introduced by Michael Katz, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, ISBN 1-55939-007-7, pp. 117.
8. The Crystal and The Way of Light. Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Compiled and Edited by John Shane, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, USA, 2000, ISBN 1-55939-135-9, pp. 99, 101.
9. Dr. A. Berzin. Alaya and Impure Appearance-Making
10. Elías Capriles. the Doctrine of the Buddha and the Supreme Vehicle of Tibetan Buddhism. Part - Buddhism: a Dzogchen Outlook. Published on the Web.
11. Sallie B. King (1997),The Doctrine of Buddha Nature is Impeccably Buddhist. In: Jamie Hubbard (ed.), Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm Over Critical Buddhism, Univ of Hawaii Press 1997, pp. 174-192. ISBN 0824819497
12. Yamamoto, Kosho (tr.), Page, Tony (ed.) (1999–2000).The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra in 12 volumes. London: Nirvana Publications[page needed]
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:52 am

My Letter to the Mipham
by Craig Morman



Sorry, I'm Back
My Letter to the Mipham
Your Majesty,

(one last time for old times sake)

You were supposed to help. You said you were here to help. Not only that, you said that you were one of the only ones in the whole universe who could truly help.

I was 21 years old when I met you. I was alone, vulnerable, and flush with inheritance money from my mother’s death. I hope you are enjoying it since most of that cash went to you or one of your shitty organizations.

I gave my entire adult life to your lies. I worked for 6.5 years for your organization under conditions that are most likely illegal. I spent money in the high five-figures on Naropa, and in order to sit in windowless tents for ten hours a day in sweltering heat while I listened to a recording of one of your slaves reading a really crappy book that you clearly made up by googling the etymology of words. By then I was realizing that you are full of shit.

Riddle me this enlightened master: how can you have spent so many years claiming to be enlightened and now expect me to have sympathy for your pathetic, flawed humanity? You broke all of your vows the minute you tried to have it both ways. I know that you fooled most of your Acharya slaves in the same way that you fooled yourself, so I can’t really blame them. If they had seen how truly pathetic you are, the way that I did, they might have realized that you are a fraud.

I keep saying slave because that is what you called me, to my face. Remember that night you apparently assaulted that woman in Chile? No? Of course you don’t. You were shitfaced.
You had no control of yourself and were not resting in the state of unborn awareness. Let me remind you of a few details.

When we arrived back at the apartment we did not have the keys. As we stood at the door you told Kevin to “break the door down.” I remember my feeling of terror as he calmly told you that it would be crossing a line.

So, while we waited for the keys to arrive you berated the two of us for around 45 minutes. To this day it was one of the most horrible nights of my life. Here is the funny part: When the keys arrived Kevin went upstairs and opened the door so that you could walk right in, and your stupid, petty drunk ass stood there and said “I don’t understand, it was locked and now it is wide open.”
That is some next level enlightenment if I ever did see it.

I kept your petty, greedy little secret for fifteen years. I got tired of your lies. Something about me still holds out hope that you will too. You are not, I believe, a monster. You are an irresponsible shithead who had a bad situation and failed to take the MANY opportunities you had to change things. There was a time when I and so many others tried to be a friend to you. It seems you preferred fancy vacations and lounge chairs. I wouldn’t blame you had you obtained those things through honest work, but you just kept lying to yourself and everyone else.

Today is my birthday. I have spent most of the day curled up in a ball crying. Much of that time has been spent thinking of you.

While I feel a certain amount of relief from having finally dispensed with the burden of carrying your many secrets, I feel you need someone to be truthful with you. Whatever you may think, no one has for a long time.

So, here is the scoop, Mipham. You are not a guru. You are not enlightened. You are not even socially functional. You wrote a book on conversation after 20 years of not having to have one.

I know why you faked it. I just wish you would stop. We had a few tender moments over my time with you, you can’t hide that shit from me, Mukpo. You have been afraid since the day you sat down on that throne.

You got a bad deal. You were forced into a dumb, deceptive cult that your clever, abusive father started. At times I think you even believed it was your job to save the world. I don’t think that you really cared if we got there, you just wanted to look like you are trying. You lied to yourself as much as you lied to all of us.

You can bullshit people more if you want, but I know the truth. You never wanted to be a Sakyong. You never wanted to be a guru. You did this shit out of some twisted obligation. The reason why I understand it is that I did the same thing. It would take way too long to illustrate the many ways that I rationalized your behavior. You don’t have to do it anymore, and you shouldn’t.

I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t helping anyone. The wisdom you offered us could be summarized in a pamphlet. You are not Profound. There is no benefit to those people as they slave away at land centers destroying their health for illegal amounts of pay. I told you that once while I lived at Shambhala Mountain. You looked the other way and changed the subject.

It is so odd to me that I could watch you for so many years avoiding any genuine human connection while ensuring that you got your rocks off in every conceivable way, and still take you as a teacher who was showing me how to face “things as they are”. It is a joke to me now.

There was a talk that you gave during one of the Sangha events with Pema. It was a rare post-2000 question and answer session. Someone asked a question about eating meat and you went on and on about how you couldn’t just proclaim that we should all be vegetarians because people had to arrive at the compassionate decision in their own way. This is what is called lying by omission. You let that woman believe that you don’t chow down on giant pieces of meat. But those of us who know you know that you prefer your meat on a bone. You are a liar, all you have to do is stop.

You deceived me, you deceived so many others. You stole my youth and the wealth of my family. You stole that money and energy by fraud. I say this because you and I both know it to be true. You are not enlightened, you are not even functional in society. It is not completely your fault, but you avoided and continue to avoid every chance you have had to make things right. You teach courage, and you are a coward.

The thing that I would like to see is for you to finally come clean.

Apologize for all that you have done and make it right with the people you have harmed. That includes me, the women you abused, and so many other staff members, kusung, directors and teachers. You have a lot of work to do.

If you were to make genuine retribution for all the terrible things you have done, the sangha might not want you to teach anymore but they might be willing to forgive you. They might even let you keep some of the money that you stole from us through your lies. We might even let you walk away.

Let’s be clear. You have no clue what it means to actually live in the world. Your seemingly impossible endeavors stemmed not from an enlightened vision, but a complete lack of knowledge of how the world works. Remember the Kalapa Center?

The fact is, you need to get a real job and live like an actual person before you have any right to condescend to your “students”. You should retire, move into a small cottage and go to therapy. I bet people would let you keep enough of the stolen money if you committed to that. No more thrones, no more servants. Wash your own dishes. Then see how hard it is to maintain a practice in real life. If you had known that before, then demands that you made of your students would have been far more appropriate. As it stands, you literally have nothing of value to offer those who are suffering. You cause more harm than good by a long shot.

You deceived me. You betrayed my trust and that of many others.
Had you not been so dishonest in the way that you presented yourself in public, had you taken any of the many offers of genuine friendship that you received from myself and many others, had you been honest enough with the community about your lack of certainty and your own very real neuroses, had you told us that you were a fucked up, confused guy who held some pretty potent wisdom, had you told us up front that daddy needs blue velvet, had you been a “warrior of the heart” something you once wrote to me as advice, then possibly you could have avoided the insecurity and rage that caused you to do the horrible things that you did.

I understand that you tried to convince yourself that you had healed by projecting it to the rest of us. I have done the exact same thing. But you did it on an enormous scale and the only way for you to heal is to stop faking it.

You are the only one who can tell the truth now. Think about what a great book it would be. You could finally tell the truth. You could admit your abuse.

I know what a relief the truth has been for me. You could admit that your manipulations of your staff had nothing to do with their benefit. You could admit that you don’t need that many pairs of shoes, i-pads, and the ridiculously wasteful lifestyle. You could tell the true story of how you went from an insecure throat-clearing mess to a somewhat powerful teacher, to a wealth obsessed entitled brat.

You could tell us why, when everything was given to you you still felt the need to take things by force. You could explain why you treated the people who loved you the most like total shit. You could admit that it was not in fact for their benefit. You have so much to teach us about trauma and how it leads to aggression and disconnect. You could be a warrior, but you would have to stop pretending to be a guru.

I know that you have a heart. I know that you care. I am pretty sure that you convinced yourself of your own crap, at least part of the time. I also think that you care very deeply for your father and for the Shambhala doctrine. I am not sure if that is in your best interests, but the point is that I know you were trying for at least some of the time. At least when I met you, you worked pretty hard. From what I understand, these days not so much.

You are now trapped in a room with two doors. One is to keep lying. The other is to tell the truth. Some of your students may be trying to rationalize this. Some will do it. They have too many sunken costs and so much identity caught up in the enlightened society project that it will be hard for them to get away from it.

The thing is, you don’t have the first clue about history, economics, business, or any kind of science. You never had any business “Creating Enlightened Society” or making it possible.

I took you seriously, so I started to try to understand those things. After looking at how your organization was run, I came to the conclusion that enlightened society could not possibly have been the goal. Either that or you are a fucking idiot.

Some might think that those of us who blew the whistle on your deceit have somehow broken samaya, or the kasung vows, or the super extra continuity kusung samaya that apparently has you and I bound for eternity. But here’s the thing: every logical way one looks at this has you being a fraud. Unless you saw this coming, in which case, kudos.

Your bond to your students is a two way street. A proper guru would not accept an improper student. Even if we were spies, as the piper said, your omniscience should have prevented that. But you see, your samaya was bullshit, and so was ours.

I appreciate that you released those students who wish to be released. It is the only decent thing that you have done through this whole ordeal. For those who were afraid to leave, you gave them some solace. I wish you had given proper solace to your victims.

As far as the kasung oath goes, I am following it even to this very moment. The fact is, just like any other victim of abuse, I still feel sympathy for you. When I finally told the truth and broke confidentiality I was committing my final act of protection. Protecting them from you, and you from yourself. I will keep doing so out from under your oppressive yolk.

So Boss, I hope that you will make the right decision. The protection that I offer is the advice that a friend would give you. A real friend, the kind that you always rejected, would tell you to tell the explicit truth, make amends, and focus on healing your deep wounds. I doubt that you will do it, but I have to try.

I am one of many who you stole from with your deceit. You have taken my youth, my wealth and my physical and mental health in order to further your acquisition project. You have hurt many more as badly and worse than you have hurt me. I am broke, broken and middle aged. Perhaps you could tell me how this will benefit me after I die. At this point the only teaching I see is that I should not trust those who would claim to be specially appointed to teach, yet cannot give a straight answer to a single question. Was that the teaching? Maybe I can use it for the rest of my life to attain some true wisdom.

This is just how I feel. Extend that to the thousands of hearts you have broken. I will carry that weight with you. I told your lies and kept your secrets too, so their broken hearts are on me as well.

Time to put on your big boy pants Ösel. Step down always and forever. Write your tell-all memoir, the one that has the truth in it. It will sell a lot better than the crap you have put out recently. Sell everything and compensate your victims. You can use the book money to fund your rehab. But most of all, work as a waiter or bagging groceries for a few years so that you can understand what the humility that you preached for so long actually looks like.

If you did all of those things I could maybe respect you again and might even forgive you.

If you keep this up though, that is on you.

Keep in mind that your biggest mistake was training those of us you abused better than anyone else. We know you. We know your strategies because you taught them to us and we helped you develop them. We know you think you can wait this out by playing the long game.

Diana and your Acharya slaves will try to salvage as much of the sinking ship as possible, then you all just wait until we forget.

You are operating like a anachronistic politician who has not yet grocked the power of the internet. We are not going to forget.
I recommend you choose warriorship. It is time to man up.

Say it. Say it out loud and clear. “I was forced into this and it made me an asshole. Now I apologize and here is the truth that I owe you.” You might even be able to purify your negative karma.

Okay, that’s it for me. I am going to try to salvage the last hour of my birthday with some hope that I will be able to afford the therapy that it will take to overcome the damage that you personally did to me, and that I can move forward with what is left of my life. I hope you will have the courage to do the same.

I continue my search for wisdom. I hope that you will begin yours.

Yours in the name of Truth, Justice, And the American Way,

Craig Morman
Site Admin
Posts: 34633
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:11 am

Letter from Lady Diana Mukpo
February 19, 2019



Dear Members of the Shambhala Community,

I write to you today with a very heavy heart. This is an incredibly painful time for all of us. However, in many ways, I feel that the situation we find ourselves in as a community was inevitable. The deep dysfunction and unkindness at the heart of our organization has been like a festering boil that finally burst. The revelations that have come to light over the last year have been horrifying. It has been so shocking to hear how women have been harmed. The abuse of power and violation of trust that allowed this to occur is unimaginable. As an organization and as individuals, we need to do whatever we can to support not only the women who have been abused but, as we now know, the men who are victims as well.

I have been heartbroken for years as I have watched the expansive vision of the Vidyadhara becoming more and more reduced. He used to say that Shambhala was a vast umbrella that would encompass many different activities and levels of practice. Over the last two decades, our community has become fractured, and the teachings that promise the way toward manifesting an enlightened and compassionate society have become hollow words.

During my seventeen-year marriage to the Vidyadhara I saw him manifest and teach in many different ways. The priority for him was always to find the best way to connect with people. I am sure that if he were alive today, he would be using totally different forms to interact with his students than those he employed during the era in which he was teaching. During his lifetime, he created the Kalapa Court to be a vehicle for students to have access to him. The current interpretation of court is a perversion of the initial intention. The Vidyadhara’s court was designed to build a bridge for his students to interact with him. The current model has built a wall.

I feel that the model of the court and of monarchy has become an obstacle, within which, as we have recently heard, there were abuses and cruelty. I have avoided the court situation for many years, having felt increasingly uncomfortable in that environment. It has been very sad for me, but I felt that I had to distance myself. At the same time, not being aware of the harm that was being perpetrated, I felt that it would only have caused divisiveness to speak out publicly about what I perceived to be a misunderstanding of the teachings. I have watched so many of the beautiful parts of our culture disappear and be replaced by what I have perceived to be a culturally bound religiosity. Like many others, I also have felt marginalized and have been subject to unhealthy power dynamics. If I had thought that speaking out publicly would have helped, I would have done so. In many respects, I now regret that I did not do so earlier. Privately, over the years, I have tried to give the Sakyong advice, but his reaction has been to avoid communication with me. I wrote to him twice last summer imploring him to take responsibility for his actions. We spoke on the phone, and I made a similar plea. Ultimately it is up to him to do what he can to repair the harm he has created.

There has been much discussion about the Sakyong’s childhood. He had a very difficult time growing up. When he arrived in this country as a traumatized ten-year-old child, I, his stepmother, was nineteen. I did not have the parenting skills to help him sufficiently. I am sorry about this and wish it had been different. His father was always loving toward the Sakyong but did not give him as much attention as he needed. This too is sad, but we all have different degrees of trauma. It is the nature of life and doesn’t really excuse his abuse of power and all that went along with it.

There also has been plenty of discussion about the Vidyadhara over the past year. I feel that it is my duty to be completely honest about his life.He was the most brilliant, kind, and insightful person that I have ever met. He was also ultimately unfathomable. When one examines his life, it is easy to make judgements, since his behavior was so unconventional. He was a human being and was not perfect, but he was unrelentingly kind and helped many, many people. During this difficult time, many people have spoken up about how he saved their lives. This is how they have put it, and I can connect with that completely.

I am a 65-year old woman who was sexually assaulted many times by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche when he first settled in Boulder in the early 70s. I was the same age as, and friends with, his wife, Diana Mukpo. Having her husband sexually assault me over the course of two years when I was in my late teens, eroded my sense of self, trust in friendships and the very understanding of the core of Buddhism -- to do no harm.

-- An Olive Branch Report on the Shambhala Listening Post

I recounted a story from veteran Kusung who was violently assaulted by Chogyam Trungpa. Knocked to the ground and kicked multiple times with boots on....

-- An Open Letter to the Shambhala Community from Long-Serving Kusung To the Shambhala community, by Craig Morman, Ben Medrano, MD, Laura Leslie, Louis Fitch, David Ellerton, Allya Canepa

“It was summer of 1985. I "married" Rinpoche on June 12th of that year. I met him around May 31st at a wedding of Jackie Rushforth and Bakes Mitchell in the back yard of Marlow and Michael Root's home. That year, we had our wedding at RMDC a few days before Assembly, then we had Seminary and Encampment happened during Seminary.

That was the year he spoke of limited bloodshed and taking over the city of Halifax and the Provence of Nova Scotia. We were in the middle of the Mahayana portion of seminary teachings. For weeks, CTR (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) had been asking everyone he saw if they had seen a cat. He asked the head cook, the shrine master, and all of his servants if they'd seen one. We returned to our cabin late one night after a talk and there was this beautiful tabby cat sitting on the porch. I said, "Here kitty, kitty" and it came right over to me, purring and rubbing against my legs. I picked it up and said: "Here, Sweetie. Here's the cat you've been wanting."

I can't remember exactly which guard was on duty, but I think it was Jim Gimian, and of course Mitchell Levy. Someone took the cat from me and Rinpoche ordered them to tie him to the table on the porch. He instructed them to make a tight noose out of a rope so the cat didn't get away. He stood over his guards to examine the knots and make sure they were secure. I was curious at this point, wondering what this enlightened master had in mind for the cat. I knew there were serious rodent problems on the land and I assumed he wanted to use the cat for this problem.

Then, he instructed the guard to bring him some logs from the fire pit that was in front of the porch, down a slight slope. We took our seats. Rinpoche was seated to my right and there was a table between us for his drinks. He ordered a sake. The logs were on his right side, so he could use his good arm. (His left side was paralyzed due to a car accident that happened in his late twenties.)

The cat was still tied by a noose to the table. Rinpoche picked up a log and hurled it at the cat, which jumped off the table and hung from the noose. It was making a terrible gurgling sound. He finally got some footing on the edge of the deck and made it back onto the porch. Rinpoche hurled another log, making contact and the cat let out a horrible scream as the air was knocked out of him.

I said: "Sweetie, stop! What are you doing? Why are you doing this?" He said something about hating cats because they played with their food and didn't cry at the Buddha’s funeral. He continued to torture the poor animal. I was crying and begging him to stop.

I said, "I gave you the cat. Please stop it!" I'll never forget his response. He looked at me and said: "You are responsible for this karma" and he giggled. I got up to try and stop him and he firmly told me to sit down. One of the guards stepped closer to me and stood in a threatening manner to keep me in my place.

The torture went on for what seemed like hours, until finally the poor cat made a run for his life with the patio table bouncing after him. It was clear he had a broken back leg. I'm sure that cat died. I looked for him or the table for the rest of Seminary and never found either. I imagined him fleeing up the mountain and the table catching on something and strangling him.

I was completely traumatized by the event, but it was never spoken of again. Rinpoche told me the "karma" from this event was good. I was dumbfounded. A common feeling I had when around Rinpoche was that there were things going on that I simply could not understand. It seemed like other people, with a knowing nod of their heads, understood things on a deeper level than I. I was in fear of exposing my ignorance, so i learned not to question and to go with the crowd around him. They didn't appear to have any problems with what he did. Such was the depth of their devotion. I just needed to generate more devotion to Rinpoche and one day I might understand.”

-- by Leslie Hays

However, the truth was that Max was a nervous wreck, and beneath my dignified British facade so was I. Finally, Max asked Rinpoche if he could go back to Boulder for a few weeks. Rinpoche gave his okay and Max departed, leaving Rinpoche and me alone in a house surrounded by deep snow. By necessity Max left his dog, Myson, with us. One night after supper Rinpoche said, "Get Myson and bring him in here." I dragged the shaking dog into the kitchen and following Rinpoche's instructions I sat him on the floor and covered his eyes with a blindfold. I set up stands with lighted candles by either side of his head. Myson couldn't move his head without being burned. Rinpoche took a potato and hit Myson on the head with it. When the dog moved, the fur on his ear would catch on fire. I put out the flames. Now and then Rinpoche would scrape his chair across the tiled floor and whack him again on the head with a potato.

"Sir," I began hesitantly, trying to stop him.

"Shut up," snapped Rinpoche, "and hand me another potato."

I started to empathize with the dog. In fact, I became the dog. I was blindfolded and was banged on the head with a spud and if I turned my head my hears would burn and there was the squealing sound of the chair on the floor. Pissing in my pants I was that dog not being able to move, feeling terrified and at the same time excited. Finally, the scraping chair and the potato throwing stopped and we released the shaking dog, who ran upstairs to Max's empty room.

"That's how you train students," Rinpoche calmly stated to me.

"Jesus," I thought, "that's pretty barbaric."

Rinpoche had me change the telephone number so that Max could not call us before he came back. He arrived, bags in hand, concerned that he had not been able to reach us. Before he could say much else, Myson rushed in and jumped all over him in exuberant delight. Rinpoche deliberately scraped the kitchen chair across the tiled floor. The terrified dog shot out of the house and fled across the field. Max was shocked and pointedly asked, "Rinpoche, what did you do to my dog?"

"I don't see any dog," he replied, looking at me.

"I got it!" I said, with the realization of being blindfolded and having three things happen to you at once, knowing the scraping and the disappearance of the dog were both somehow illusion. In fact, it was all illusion. Everything was illusion, but real. Rinpoche smiled and warmly greeted Max.

Did I get it? Not then.

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks [John Andrews]

Regarding the actual stripping, Persis McMillen recalled, "It happened so fast." She remembers the guards surrounding her, and it took them two minutes to take off her clothes. She was shocked: she didn't resist. The guards hoisted her while nude, aloft. Being a dancer, at first she took a poised dance pose, but after a few seconds felt differently: felt, in her words, "really trashed out." She ran upstairs. In her own words, she "felt sick," and "literally stripped," and " ... very, very upsetting."

-- Interview with Persis McMillen (Santoli) 7/1/77

"I had a whole interchange with Rinpoche. I can't remember the order. I think it must have happened before ... He called me up to him. He saw me, and ... we got into this whole thing. He was picking up on my costume. The whole aggression. (She was in costume as a biker.) We started sort of like making out. I mean it was very lavish, and all these people were dancing, and sitting around (laughs), and we just started doing this whole thing. And he was being so brutal. He was being so physically brutal, and like, clawing my arm, and just, biting my lip, just so vicious. And then he did this whole thing with my cheek (bit into the skin, leaving tooth marks), and I was in this state of mind -- well, if that's what he wants, that's what I'll give him too. And I just came back with it. And we're in this intense, you know (makes unh-ing sound) like this you know, very tense, very, very tense ... Somebody else came up or something and I managed to get away. But it was very nonverbal, direct, powerful, intense brutal communication. I didn't know what to make of it at all."

-- Interview with Barbara Meier (Faigao) 6/29/77

"Then things got heavier and heavier. Rinpoche would start out by giving a talk, saying, 'I really admire Merwin's poetry, and I'm a great fan of his, and I think he's doing really well, but there's a certain kind of resistance going on, and he's under the idea that he wants to study Vajrayana and he really wants to practice Buddhism, and I want you to realize that I'm really going to insist that Merwin come down here no matter what, or what it takes.'

"... Everyone was getting very tired by then: it was getting late, around midnight. People were exhausted, drunk ... My own particular take was, God, Merwin, the worst that could happen is you get your clothes taken off ... 'OK, tell Merwin we're going to break down the door if he doesn't want to come down.

"... And no one wanted to do it; nobody wanted to do it. No one knows how to break down a door. And then ... loads of people are saying. 'Drop it, Rinpoche.'"

-- Jack Niland (Santoli) 6/23/77

"They went down and told Rinpoche, 'Merwin's barricaded himself and there is no way to break down the door, can't we drop it?' Rinpoche says, 'Break through the plate glass window' ... So the guards ... decided to simultaneously break through the door and enter the plate glass window."

-- Jack Niland (Santoli) 6/23/77

"So apparently they just grabbed him and the word got back that Rinpoche had sent out the word ... that Merwin was not to be harmed at all, because by then people were getting pissed. And the word was out that no matter what Merwin does to anyone, he is not to be harmed, except for physically subduing him. So, by then the guys charged in -- the story we were getting back was that Merwin, ya know, they got the beer bottle out of his hand, and a bunch of guys grabbed him and did a hammerlock on him. He started ranting and raving that he basically was trying to protect his girl friend, and that became his central theme ..."

-- Interview with Jack Niland (Santoli) 6/23/77

Then someone announced, with satisfaction, that Rinpoche had sent an order to bring us down "at any cost". Evidently it was just what some had been waiting for. They started to smash at the door in unison with something heavy; I never saw what it was, but I'd heard something earlier about getting a beam from somewhere. We pushed as hard as we could, but finally the lock (a brass knob) was forced through the wood, and that door gave way. As the first hand came through I hit it with a bottle, and as the opening widened I reached around and struck down, hitting something I couldn't see. The bottle broke. I passed the broken top of it to my left hand, took another, reached through and struck downward again, not seeing who or what I was hitting at, and again the bottle broke. At that point Dana shrieked, and there was a loud crashing as the big glass balcony door was smashed, by McKeaver, among others, with another heavy object -- a large rock, I think. It was taken away afterwards before I had a chance to look closely. I crossed the room and started to beat the remnants of the glass door outward onto the balcony, pushing with the broken bottles, but meanwhile the crowd forced its way into the room behind us, from the hall. Dana was shouting, "Police! why doesn't somebody call the police?" but they laughed at her, women too, and Trungpa later mocked her for that, in one of his lectures.

They surrounded us. Dana was backed into a corner. They kept away from the broken bottles I was holding out. It was then that McKeaver asked if I wanted to kill him. As I remember, my answer was to tell him to keep his distance. If I'd "gone berserk", or hit him, as he claims, he'd probably have scars. The way he'd just made his way into the room, for one thing, would seem inconsistent with his statement that "all physical damage" was my doing. If he told me at that moment that he was my friend, as he says he did, I may not have taken the statement very seriously. Another disciple of Trungpa's, Richard Assally (?), was trying to edge along the wall toward Dana, meanwhile coaxing us both, sentimentally, to come and "dance with the energies" -- a phrase that was getting a lot of use.

It was at this point that they led my (in fact) friend Loring up in front of me, and I saw that his face had been cut by a bottle at the door, and was streaming blood. At the sight, I suddenly fell helpless, put my arms out, and let them take the bottles. They bent my arms back and piled onto me, and as they did, Dana started to fight. It was she who dealt out the black eye -- or eyes. (We thought there was only one: a tall man named Hirsch. Neither of us remembers that McKeever got one. Oh well.)

-- W.S. Merwin, letter to Pope, Pickering, and Trupp, 7-20-77

"Rinpoche talking to Dana, said, 'You're oriental; you're smarter than this. You might be playing slave to this white man but you and I know where it's at. We're both oriental ... we know where it's at.' Then he started to talk about 'my country being ripped out from under me, and it was the Chinese communists who did it ... If there's one thing I want to see in my lifetime, it's to see my country back. Only one oriental to another can understand that.' He said, 'I know your background, Dana ... ' He kept doing this super racist thing ... very cutting, and her only response was, 'You're a Nazi, you're a Nazi,' and 'Someone call the police.' She was completely freaking out."

-- Interview with Jack Niland (Santoli) 6/23/77

They piled onto Dana, too, until someone, probably Tom Reikan, told them to lay off, and they let us go. We said we'd go down by ourselves, if they kept their hands off us. Tom told us they would, and we went down. The hall was crowded with onlookers. Dana shouted again. "Why doesn't somebody call the police?" One of the women insulted her, told her to shut up. One of the male disciples threw a glass of wine in her face. I didn't see it, and she said nothing about it until afterwards.

In the dining-room, Trungpa seated in a chair: a ring of subdued party-goers sitting on the floor. As we walked in, Dana looked around and said loudly, "You're all a bunch of cowards."

Trungpa called us to come over in front of him, looked up at me, and said. "I hear you've been making a lot of trouble." Grabbed my free hand to try to force me down, saying, "Sit down." (The other hand had been bleeding a lot and was wrapped in a towel.) When he let go, we sat down on the floor. He said we hadn't accepted his invitation. I said that if we had to accept it it wasn't an invitation. He insisted that it was an invitation. An invitation, I said, allowed the other person the privilege of declining. We pushed that around a bit. The way he saw it, no force seemed to have been used, except by us. I reminded him that we'd never promised to obey him. He said, "Ah, but you asked to come." Then, dramatically, "into the lion's mouth!" I said that they'd developed big corkscrews, new, for forcing coyotes out of their burrows, and that maybe he ought to get one, to do his job more easily. He said he wasn't interested. Cross. That he wanted us to join in his celebration. I said that we'd thought it was lugubrious, and that as I understood it, one couldn't be forced to celebrate, if it was to mean anything. In one of these exchanges he got angry and threw his glass of sake in my face. "That's sake," he told me. He turned to Dana and said. "You and I can understand each other better. You're an Asiatic." And more on that tack. I think Dana should recount what their conversation consisted of. She was very clear, and she I turned him off that one. In an exchange with us both the subjects of fascism came up. I said I thought his use of a gang, and of intimidation, was fascistic. He said the Chinese had ripped off his country, and that he wanted to rip off theirs. The whole question of violence, then. How violent we were. Dana asked him, "And what about the people who start violence and wars in the first place?" He said, "What's the matter with wars?" And in the pause that followed that, he changed the subject, said he wanted us to join in the dance and celebration and take our clothes off." At that point; then and there, we both refused, saying that it was one more non-invitation. He asked, "Why not? What was our secret? Why didn't we want to undress?" To Dana he said, "Are you afraid to show your pubic hair?" We said there was no secret: we didn't dig his party, weren't there at our own choice, and didn't feel like undressing. He said that if we wouldn't undress, we'd be stripped, and he ordered his guards to do the job. They dragged us apart, and it was then that Dana started screaming. Several of them on each of us, holding us down. Only two men, Dennis White and Bill King, both of whom were married, with small children there at the seminary, said a word to try to stop it, on Dana's behalf. Trungpa stood up and punched Bill King in the face, called him a son-of-a-bitch, and told him not to interfere. The guards grabbed Bill King and got him out of there. One of the guards who'd stayed out of it, went out and vomited, as we heard later. When I was let go I got up and lunged at Trungpa. But there were three guards in between, and all I could swing at him, through the crowd, was a left, which was wrapped in the towel, and scarcely reached his mouth. It didn't amount to much, and I was dragged off, of course.

"See?" Trungpa said, "It's not so bad, is it?" When I asked, "Why us?" I meant not just the stripping, but why had we been chosen, out of all the others who'd retired early from the "celebration." But I dropped the subject -- what was the point? Everybody rushed and took their clothes off, as though that was all it was really about. It must have been a relief. Some of them said it was: that they'd shared the whole thing with us. I asked if he was ready to call off his dogs and let us go. He said yes, and as we started out he came after us, saying something about how he really loved us. We went up to the room, where a few people were starting to pick up the broken glass and stretch plastic over the balcony door. (Laura Kaufman, whom we know only slightly, meticulously cleaned the whole bathroom.) And from there a friend drove us to the hospital.

-- William S. Merwin letter to Pope, Pickering, and Trupp, 7/20/77

-- Behind the Veil of Boulder Buddhism: Ed Sanders, The Party, by Boulder Monthly

In general and understandably, people – especially those who did not know him and only are hearing second-hand stories – may pass negative judgements on him. I know that there is one person who has prominently spoken up about feeling traumatized by the Vidyadhara and those around him. As his wife, the last few years of his life were very difficult for me. There is no question in my mind that alcohol had a devastating effect on both his body and mind in his latter years. My sense of this is quite different from some of the students who were close to him at that time. I have heard from a number of close students that they had positive experiences during that era, and I honor that. I think this is a time for us to honor one another’s experience, rather than judging or dismissing it. Simply speaking for myself, however, this period was very difficult. Nevertheless, it does not negate the brilliance of his teachings both in his words and in the sacred environments he created as learning situations.

The Vidyadhara taught that the Shambhala teachings should be practiced along with the Buddhadharma, and that the two must support one another. He wrote, for example: “We can plant the moon of bodhichitta in everyone’s heart and the sun of the Great Eastern Sun in their heads.” (Collected KA, page 194.) The Sakyong’s de-emphasis and outright omission of the Kagyu and Nyingma teachings in the last 15 years has been a great detriment for our community. As much as the Vidyadhara conducted Kalapa Assemblies where he opened the Shambhala terma, at the same time he also taught Vajradhatu seminaries where he transmitted the Buddhist teachings of the three yana’s in a traditional manner. Not long before his death, when he was very ill, he made it a priority to give the Chakrasamvara Abisheka to several hundred students. This was an important Buddhist ceremony empowering people to practice advanced vajrayana teachings. He felt that it was imperative that he give this transmission to senior practitioners. I truly believe that he saw the Shambhala and the Buddhist teachings as
equally important.

At the first Kalapa Assembly, in 1978, there was a lot of discussion about what problems might arise from propagating the Shambhala vision. In that era, people often openly questioned the Vidyadhara and each other about any number of things. The following question was posed to him:

“As someone who has been worried about fascism and the possibility of the degeneration of Shambhala into that, could you say something that might be a safeguard against that?”

His response was: “Gentleness, meekness. Most of the warriors are meek persons. That’s it. And also they are practitioners of Buddhadharma.” (Collected KA, page 148)

There are many other examples of how the Vidyadhara viewed the two aspects of his teaching as equally important and supportive of one another. I do not think it was his intention to combine these teachings into one “Shambhala Buddhism”, as the Sakyong did after the Vidyadhara’s death. This move has created deep and painful rifts, not only with Trungpa Rinpoche’s heart students but also with respected members and teachers within the Tibetan community. So I think we need to look to the buddhadharma, as well as to the Shambhala teachings, to help us find the path forward. This does not invalidate the path taught by the Sakyong, nor the diligence of his students in applying themselves to it or the genuine experience of devotion many have had. Rather, it is a call for us to incorporate a bigger version of our relationship to the dharma.

I am writing to all of you and sharing my innermost thoughts with you today because I do believe so strongly that this community is worth fighting for. The incomparable practice of meditation and all the valuable teachings we have received have helped numerous people. Clearly, everything has to be re-evaluated and a healthy organizational structure needs to grow out of this. Over the past year, I have worried that the unfolding of events would be the destruction of Shambhala, but now I am wondering if, in fact, these disclosures might be what actually saves our precious community. I truly pray that we can get back on track and become what we profess to be, becoming a safe and nurturing home for those who seek these teachings. I don’t have the answers, nor do I know how all this is going to happen. There is certainly going to be more difficulty as things unfold.

Please know that I am willing to help in any way I can. I will make myself available if anyone would like to reach out to me.

In closing, I would like to discuss the role that I have played as the copyright holder for all the Vidyadhara’s written and other intellectual properties. Since his death, almost thirty-three years ago, there have been close to thirty books published, and many more could appear in the years to come. It always has been and will continue to be my intention to make his work accessible and available to all those who wish to practice and learn from his teachings. I consider this legacy as a sacred trust and will continue to work to protect and safeguard his teachings so that they will be available to people for years to come. I will do whatever is necessary to honor this commitment to all of you.

Holding you all in my heart,

Diana J. Mukpo

Contact Lisa Fiore at:
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:04 pm

Part 1 of 2

Shambhala’s Military Starts Turning On Their King
by Christine A. Chandler, M.A., C.A.G.S.
Ex-Tibetan Buddhist and Ex-Shambhala Kasung
© 2019
Feb 19, 2019



The Latest ‘Open Letters” from Shambhala’s Faux Military Arm and Shambhala’s Inner Sanctum’s Faux Promises of More of the Same:

A small portion of the faux-military branch of Shambhala’s ‘Enlightened Dictatorship,’ six members of the Shambhala cult’s ersatz army are blowing the whistle in their Open Letter exposing more of the truth about the horrors inside the inner sanctum of Shambhala International; part of the Karma Kagyu Lamaist cult in our midst.

Yet, many hundreds of these still-in-the- fold Kasung, the most cult-controlled, far-gone of all of Shambhala membership, will still tolerate these egregious things the six who broke free reported. The other hundreds will keep their vows to the Chinese Communist Karmapa, Head Karma Kagyu Lama of their Shambhala International organization, and protect Osel Mukpo, a.k.a. Sakyong Mipham, the No Longer Great, still pimping for him and enabling the same disgusting, abusive behaviors he has perpetrated upon his naive, devoted students, as described in detail in the Kasung Open Letter linked above.

Once these few Kasung put in writing what goes on in the ‘inner, inner sanctum’ of the faux King’s ‘Degenerate but Sacred World’ then Shambhala International’s Interim Board of Lies and Deceit knew, once some of their most thought-controlled, they believed, started to break free, using their reason and intelligence again, they had to immediately issue another, boiler-plate meaningless, insincere Shambhala Interim Board’ Promissory Letter. I think this is number four, if anyone’s counting. Same promise, same language:

February 18, 2019

Dear Shambhala Community,

It is from a place of great sadness that we write you today. When we took our seats as an Interim Board, we did so with the positive aspiration of restoring Shambhala culture to one of trust, kindness, and genuine concern for the welfare of others. In the last days we have learned of patterns of behavior by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche at odds with these fundamental principles.

Six Shambhala students who have served as Kusung, a role of close personal protection and direct service to the Sakyong, have bravely come forward with An Open Letter to the Shambhala Community from Long Serving Kusung. In addition to a signed, joint statement, each has provided stories that describe Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as an individual who has been disrespectful, unkind and has caused harm to others.

We strongly disapprove of the Sakyong’s behavior described in the Kusungs’ letter. We will do our part to protect Shambhala culture and community and we do not and will not support the behaviors described.

We feel strongly that we need to do what we can to protect the continued mission of Shambhala to connect people with their own basic goodness. We will remain focused on the issues of care and conduct in our community. The Interim Board completed the Wickwire Holm investigative project given to us by the outgoing Kalapa Council and will soon complete the project they started with An Olive Branch, pending receipt of An Olive Branch’s final report and subsequent communication with the community.

We will now turn our attention to exploring how to go forward as we work with these recent reports of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s behavior. We will engage with the various Shambhala leadership groups and the Shambhala Process Team to determine structures of governance that make most sense for Shambhala now and in the future.

Our hearts are with all of you in this time of difficulty. We aspire that we can rely on the truths we feel in ourselves and can find support with each other in our community. We value your continued input and rely on your support for our efforts.

The Shambhala Interim Board

Veronika Bauer
Martina Bouey
Mark Blumenfeld
John Cobb
Jennifer Crow
Sara Lewis
Susan Ryan
Paulina Varas
Copyright © 2019 Shambhala, All rights reserved.

LIES LIES LIES and more LIES! And Cult Rote Talk.

They will do everything, say anything; they just want to protect their Shambhala cult, as they have for the last forty-five years, with the same self-deception and pretense for the public. These are promise-to-change letters written by cult members still in a frozen dream.

Every one of these people, who signed this above Shambhala Community Promissory Letter, has taken Vajrayana vows, or will, to keep their gurus’ secrets for life, and will continue to enable the abuse as ” great teachings and blessings”; lessons in the Vajrayana of ‘non-duality’ and ‘no-good no bad’, ‘no right, no wrong,’ transmitted from ‘wise beings’ beyond human understanding; their Lama Avatars, who must always be obeyed as Vajra Masters in all things.

And, this includes obeying all the other Tibetan Lamas who come in and out of their Shambhala mandala, who are also pretending that they are going to change and become ‘westernized’ and ethical, when Guru Yoga and obeying your guru, is the essence of Tibetan Vajrayana Tantra. It kept Tibetans enslaved for over a thousand years and has the Dalai Lama’s monks and nuns setting themselves on fire into the Twenty-First century!

So, no matter what egregious behavior they see? It will be reframed as “blessings” and as the only way to achieve ‘enlightenment’ in this lifetime and in future, imaginary lifetimes.

Besides, lying is perfectly all right in Vajrayana, as long as it keeps the Tantric teachings spreading. It is a great Bodhisattva activity!

When will the West wake up and realize that this Cult of Tantric Lamaism is far more dangerous than any other cult in our midst who can get parents of children to accept sexual abuse of young girls as ‘higher teachings’ of Tantra? When will we start calling these faux-religions, “Cults” and treat them accordingly? Before it is too late and their sickness keeps spreading to destroy our western nations by stealth? These Tibetan Lamas and their thousands of western helpmates are determined to destroy the separation of Church and State in our Constitution. No one notices that they have become highly politicized.

The Shambhala cult is also praying that no one discovers that most all the popular apps on Mindfulness such as, who have Shambhala-trained and Tibetan Lamaist Mindfulness trainers, advertised on major cable news stations, including Fox News, seen by more Americans than any other cable T.V.. and on Facebook, and every other social media platform, are mostly created by Shambhala and /or Tibetan Lamaist cult members. Many, who are listed as the mindfulness instructors on apps like these, are the more ‘advanced’ mindfulness teachers; i.e., those most soaked in their guru-worshipping cults, whose mindfulness meditation form put them in the same mindfulness trance as these Kasung who accepted this terrible abuse for so long, programmed to ignore western laws, ethics, and values. The Sakyong wanted ten million members by 2010. He may reach his goal through his students’ mindfulness apps by 2020.

This is a massive movement being promoted on iPhones and Androids, and courses online, advertised and hosted on social media platforms and other mass media venues to push a “Secular Spirituality’ Buddhocracy by stealth that is slowly undermining the reasoning abilities of increasingly more westerners and the separation of Church and State in our Constitutional Democracy. It will make more people passive, narrow, and dumbed-down, self-obsessed but believing they are becoming more awake as they lose more of their individuality, over time. The people they really hook? Are those who will commit to more mindfulness practices in the mindfulness instructors’ group retreats, later on. And, cults, like Shambhala International, always recommend doing ‘mindfulness’ retreats in groups.

These western change agents for their lamas have found a more indirect way to recruit.

Many Zen and Theravada groups, with greed in their hearts, and dreams of a Three-Stream Buddhocracy for the planet, are all on board. This is ‘too big to fail,’ they believe, and they see even more dollar signs for themselves and their own organizations. They are simply going to recruit people through this mindfulness disguise on our Skinnerian black boxes: our iPhones and Smartphones and tablets.

So, what does it really matter if the Tibetan Lamas are all going off to South East Asia and China, now? To help the Communist Chinese further dumb their populations down? They have done their job in the West. And, their thousands of cult members of Tantra are left behind, as mindfulness purveyors for their billion-dollar commodity to make the rest of the world chill out and “no longer judge’ things they should judge as terrible and inimical to a free society.

I am glad these Kasung have revealed the secrets of how bad it was; what those who escaped much sooner than them, and started speaking out, suspected was this bad. But, what took them so long? How did they tolerate this much sociopathy up close and for so long? It is hard to get your mind around unless you have been in this cult, and know how all the practices and mindfulness slow-frog boiling works.

One of the signators above is a licensed psychiatrist in this Open Kasung Letter linked above. That should scare everyone into discovering how many western-trained psychologists and psychiatrists are part of these Tibetan Lamaist Cults who will accept and enable egregious sexual abuses by Tibetan Lamas as not just normal, but leading to a higher ‘consciousness of understanding’ in the world of their Tantric non-duality!

This is a large part of why sexual abuse and pedophilia has increased and is more tolerated in western countries. Thanks to this amoral Tantra. Shambhala International is in every major city and town throughout the United States, and in major cities in Canada, Europe, and Britain, Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa; there is nowhere they have not planted their flag of Tantra.

Shambhala is still carrying on, as though nothing has happened, since the major newspapers. like the New York Times, and Washington Post, only reported on all this abuse in one article or two, here and there.

If these Shambhalians and Tibetan Lamas weren’t all on board the ” Green New Deal” religion of the Hard Left, a big part of its ‘spiritualized arm’ trying to impose their own fundamentalist geopolitical Utopia, do you think these Lamas would still be protected by the mega-corporate mainstream media and the New York Times and Washington Post? The Tibetan Lamas “Spiritualized Green New Deal” and their Chinese Communist Eco-Karmapa, has long been part of their Utopian mix and the Sakyong’s Shambhala International has long been pulling this chain. Helping the Hard Left dumb young people down with their own cult techniques. Each group has learned from each other in how to target and recruit groups. This keeps these other fanatic fundamentalists, the Western Lamaist Tantric change agents, safe in states like New York and New Jersey and California that has a Buddhist Governor and Dalai Lama groupie, Nancy Pelosi, and this Communist Tibetan Lama, the Eco- Karmapa the 17th in residence in New York, slated to take the Dalai Lama’s place.

India now rejects his claim as the Karmapa, long believing he is a Chinese spy. But The West doesn’t pay attention to factual news anymore and is embracing him. That’s what this Tantric influence, all over New York and California, does. It makes people crazy and unable to use their reasoning abilities and common sense anymore; electing women and men who hate our Constitutional Democracy and want to destroy it.

Besides, the colluding media has the Catholic Church’s abuses to keep trotting out as camouflage. The pattern of the Catholic Church abuse articles always coincides and overshadows the Tibetan Lama abuses that are hardly reported, if at all. Now, there is a Catholic Summit on their sexual abuse while Shambhala is still protected for their exposed pedophilia, sexual abuse grooming of young girls, harem-keeping and serial sexual abuses of young western women, that is institutionalized in their cult ‘religion.’ Not to worry, as long as you are part of the Corporate Green World Socialism movement brought to us by billionaires, East, and West, like the Dalai Lama.

People should know that these abusive behaviors by Trungpa, the Regent, and Trungpa’s son, are still tolerated and enabled by other psychiatrists and medical doctors in the Cult of Shambhala, such as Trungpa’s first Queen and wife’s, second husband, the Head of the Dorje Kasung.

Who is calling him out for enabling these things by the Sakyong, after enabling Trungpa’s harem-keeping and sexual abuses, and the abuses of the AIDS-carrying Regent’s behaviors that caused the death of a dharma brat?

Or these other hundreds of enabling Kasung who will keep this abuse going? Why are these six Kasung not going to the police with this information? What good are letters to the same old Buddhist chat rooms if nothing changes?

That is when I will believe this group has really done something to protect others from this abuse, instead of just protecting themselves, although that is important; leaving a burning building and warning others. But, letters to just inside groups? Talking forever amongst themselves? Circulating these testimonies in narrow venues ensures they will just fade and disappear.

Last time I looked, psychiatrists have a duty to report abuse to the police. It is part of their western oaths they took, to get licensing in their various States and countries, in the first place.

Or has enough of this sick Vajrayana Tantra infiltrated their professions so deeply now, that the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association all turn a blind eye, too?

The very best thing these six Kasung have done, if people read their report, is to realize, and help others realize, that Shambhala International’s Tibetan Tantric Lamaism, misnamed Tibetan Buddhism, has been able to more deeply indoctrinate their cult members into accepting the most egregious behaviors of their leaders, than any other cult group in our midst, bar none, for decades.

“CULT” needs to come back into our vocabulary to replace ‘new religious movement’ that has given these cults cover, and quick. And report this abuse to someone in authority that can stop it for good, besides just each other and on Buddhist blogs. I would certainly join them. The emotional, financial and spiritual abuse we have all endured by this sick cult and its leaders should be cried out, to every corner of the world.


Tara Carreon· Reply
March 19, 2019 at 3:46 AM
Hi, Chris,
I am enjoying reading your blogposts immensely — you are really expressing your anger without regret. Charles and I read your book. Thanks for all your detail. We are trying to get back up but it is going rather too slowly. We got one article up on “compassionate killing” [NOT] and have another one coming soon on Bercholz’s hell book. Keep punching away here and we will try and get your back.

Christine A. Chandler· Reply
March 21, 2019 at 11:49 AM
Yes, anger without regret. It was particularly ironic that when I started using my anger as fuel (in the beginning of breaking free one has to), all these Vajrayana “anger as clarity” and the so-called Dzogchen people where that is particularly true) were the first wimps who wanted to repress me over at Radio Free Shambhala, as they did you, and you were way out there, way more than me. I wonder if some of them remember that? What a bunch of manipulative cowards they were, ( of course they were really confused, believing they were NOT an arm of the Sakyong bunch controlling the narrative) They attacked you and then shortly afterward they kicked me off because I started to look at the root cause of all this Lamaism as being the problem. It was reading your posts on American Buddha that got me thinking, yes thinking with my rational mind again, the greatest obstacle we were all told that would prevent our enlightenment! They also told us there was no such thing as good or bad, so we would never see how bad they were. I am convinced that the Lamas learned a thing or two about mind control during their time with C.I.A. and MK Ultra was alive and well at the time. I didn’t learn about the Dalai Lama’s connection with the C.I.A. until I was almost totally free. And, you led me to the Trimondis, real scholars regarding Tibetan Lamaism, not the cult members and fans of Lamaism, most of them guru-worshipers themselves who write Tibetology articles for each other, to reinforce the cult members’ belief that they are engaged in an intellectual pursuit’ as Tibetan Buddhists! And can say they are “published.” When they are either writing for Tricycle or a predatory journal. The Madhyamika types really love that stuff. Papers that are so obscure and dense about these fairytale topics, so that these ‘academic’ Tibetan Buddhists actually believe they are engaged in ‘scholarly pursuit.’ Instead of this being all part of the massive mind-control. This western form of Tibetan Lamaism is, I believe, a syncretic form of mind-control that comes from many streams that were happening at the time, in the late sixties, and early 70’s and I have no doubt Trungpa was intimately involved in creating all this with the help of different streams, including his Naropa and Esalen pal, Bateson and his double bind theory in action.

Tara Carreon· Reply
March 23, 2019 at 6:25 AM
I wanted to say a few things about this Kasung letter. I was okay with Laura Leslie’s accounts of abuse from Shambhala men other than Mr. Mukpo. Her stories were detailed and believable. Of course, she was a woman kasung, and would not have seen all the crap that Sakyong would have engaged in around male kasungs.

Ben Madrano tells lots of stories, unfortunately without getting into any details and naming names. He tells how Mr. Mukpo drank from sunrise to sunset; made people take off their clothes; placed his hands on women’s thighs; invited many women to his private quarters; had girlfriends who were married; used his “grip” to hurt people; hit kasung; called people names; made people get naked; bit people; threw drinks in people’s faces; slapped people; insulted people; couldn’t get enough compliments from people; spent money like crazy; and was completely unsympathetic in his role as a teacher, and blamed people for bringing him their problems.

But apparently, Ben could have told us a lot more if he hadn’t been so grossed out by the Sakyong’s drunkenness that every time he started drinking, Ben would go find a place to hide.

But why is Ben encouraging people to remain anonymous with these lame excuses that (1) relationship dynamics are highly complex; (2) that it takes time to process; (3) that there are spiritual and social consequences to betraying your teacher and friends; (4) that people feel sorry for Mr. Mukpo and his family; (5) that they have doubt, shame, and grief. These are excuses for cowards who are morally degenerate. Where is their compassion and love for their fellow sangha members who have been harmed by this behavior? Ben should not be saying these things and encouraging silence from people who know about the abuse, including child abuse.

I hate to say anything critical of Allya Canepa because he’s so sincere, but he spent 25 years serving the Sakyong, and why couldn’t he give us some specific stories of sexual abuse after watching hundreds of women go in and out of Sakyong’s bedroom, and listening to them cry while he held their hands?

David Ellerton’s contribution was total b.s. 14 years as a Kasung, and he gives us nothing at all. Exactly what he thinks he has accomplished here, I can’t imagine. A grand gesture of emptiness, I suppose. Very blameworthy.

Craig Mormon confirms the Chile sexual assault happened just as the victim claimed. Good for him. And he tells us about the Sakyong’s vicious biting habits, which is very interesting. But he tells us he knows of lots of other abuse that occurred, but “that is for another time.” No, this is the time, Craig. He’s another big excuse maker for not speaking up. And he was 18 years as a Kasung. I’m sure he has lots he could tell.

And lastly, there is Louis Fitch (years as a Kasung unknown), who tells us that general ogling of women was common, but as to all the sexual abuse that took place, that happened because people like him kept his mouth shut — and he is still keeping his mouth shut. So his contribution is to tell us that it’s people like his fault that sexual abuse happened, and guess what? He’s still not going to tell us what happened!

So, in general, this letter shows widespread cowardice among the big, brave kasung to stand up for the victims of abuse in Shambhala. We need details, names, places, times in order to see this story. Shambhaloids should freekin’ start coughing up the details.

Christine A. Chandler· Reply
March 23, 2019 at 1:13 PM
There are no more cowardly sycophants to Trungpa’s legacy and the Sakyong’s pathetic and sociopathic modeling, that took Trungpa’s inherent disdain for the West and sexual exploitations to new ‘heights, than these Kasung. That there are at least now three western licensed psychiatrists that never went to the police about all this, tells you how dangerous a silly delusional cult can be, if it is part of the Mafia of Lamaism and is one of the most popular and most brainwashed of the Lamaist cults under the Dalai Lama’s Lord Chakravartin umbrella. This is because we literally took vows to perpetuate this world of the frustrated, mentally sick War Lord from Kham, to perpetuate the sick world of the Wheel of Destruction Kalachakra prophecies, most of us clueless that that is what we were doing. He was so sneaky that he got us to distrust the Gelugpas, as a strategy, when he was actually fulfilling the Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra Prophecies for him with his Gesar of Ling War Lord Shambhala teachings. You can’t trust any of them. And why would we? The still live in their heads in the `8th and 13th century. But, that doesn’t mean they are not profoundly clever in creating a massive brainwashing tool and culture, so admired by dictators, Left and Right, throughout the centuries.

IF you have been heavily into the Kasung trip, as the Kasung branch of the cult were, they know exactly what the Gesar of Ling prophecies are about, and watched its sick movie trailer for decades, and did nothing, said nothing. Manchurian candidate Kasung Encampments. China is so pleased.

I think it is the undue influence of the enablers in the groups, who , if they don’t start going to the police, with details as you say, like to the Larimer County Police, where much of this abuse took place during these cult military events, then they are just trying to jump ship, now that it is sinking. What else could anyone believe if they don’t give details, as you say, name names and instead keep protecting the Sakyong and his merry gang of misogynistic sadistic enabling predators and bystanders? They enabled him, pimped for him, and without them, this thing of the Sakyong’s couldn’t have continued. To really make amends for that, they need to fully wake up and see what is going on, around them, as they try to have it both ways. Come out, but stay in. They are still in. Shambhala cult members are the most brainwashed and China is watching what they do. They can’t leave each other, stuck like glue.

Unable to: “Go Beyond Hesitation” that means more than giving blow jobs to the Regent and the drunk Sakyong, and drunk Trungpa.

Tara Carreon· Reply
March 24, 2019 at 4:57 AM
More from Craig Mormon here: ... he_mipham/

Tara Carreon· Reply
March 24, 2019 at 5:46 PM
The interesting thing here is the fact that Sakyong never wanted to be a tulku. John Riley Perks in his book “The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant” tells this story about a 12-year-old Osel Mukpo:

“I don’t want to be a tulku,” he would say to me. “I don’t want to be a tulku.” To me, it sounded like Brer Rabbit not wanting to be thrown into the brier patch.

“I don’t want to be a tulku,” he pleaded to me.

“Okay, okay,” I said. “Let’s hide and go to the movies.”

Osel brightened. “Great!” he said. “What’s showing?”

I opened the paper. “The Man Who Would Be King,” I read aloud.

Charles and I have been talking a lot about this lately. It’s so clear that the Sakyong is hugely angry and hateful at everyone for having made him a tulku-slave, that he is acting out and getting back at everyone. He doesn’t know what else to do but get drunk and abuse women and insult men. Can you imagine how hard it would be to imitate an enlightened Tibetan master? You’ve got to have a certain flair and charisma to get away with that kind of chicanery. It was the Sakyong’s basic truthfulness that made him express these opinions when he was 12 years old. How much he must hate people who see him as a transcendental guru when they know damn well that he was set up in this position like an actor in a play. Then, to take it all so very seriously — even unto eternity! No wonder he abuses his acolytes. They’re so very stupid.

I see “Lady” Diana in her last letter of February, 2019 is throwing the Sakyong under the bus. Is it conceivable in your opinion, Chris, that the Sakyong would do ANYTHING without “Lady” Diana’s permission in terms of major institutional programs, like focusing on “Shambhala Buddhism” as opposed to the Nyingma and Kagyu teachings? Surely, it was “Lady” Diana who forced him into this untenable position in the first place, and is now moaning over the Sakyong’s abuse of power, but promising us that she’s going to exercise her “copyright” privileges and publish more Trungpa books in the future!

Christine A. Chandler· Reply
March 26, 2019 at 1:42 PM
I don’t believe there are, or ever were, ‘enlightened Tibetan masters.” That ended for me when I was able to get rid of Trungpa as such. That is the hook for ex-Tibetan Buddhists, that deeply programmed belief that there were, or are, Tibetan Enlightened Masters, somewhere. The next charlatan who comes along will know they can depend on that deeply embedded hook in western Tibetan Buddhists’ heads.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:04 pm

Part 2 of 2

peter· Reply
March 24, 2019 at 7:07 PM
I don’t know Tara, not very convinced. He’s no longer twelve. Guess what?, neither am I and I don’t get the pass. Your showing up little late to the game and not buying what you shilling.

peter· Reply
March 24, 2019 at 7:13 PM
It is not a fact. It is a supposition.

Tara Carreon· Reply
March 25, 2019 at 4:51 AM
I was in the game when you were still in nappies, Peter. I cooked dinner for the Sakyong at Gyatrul Rinpoche’s request, and knew him for a jerk on that day. I took empowerments from Pednor Rinpoche before Pednor sold Mipham his title. And Craig Mormon has been in the game for some time, and the letter he put out makes it absolutely clear that every word I said is correct:

[Craig Mormon] I know the truth. You never wanted to be a Sakyong. You never wanted to be a guru. You did this shit out of some twisted obligation.

Christine A. Chandler· Reply
March 25, 2019 at 3:20 PM
I will agree with Tara, based on what I observed during the 1991-2001 period when I was watching the Sakyong try to take a seat he could never fill.

First, there were three camps re the Sakyong. The Old Trungpa students who never saw him capable, many who split and joined the others who left, after the Regent scandal, going off like sheep to further slaughter, with other lamas.

I would have left sooner, too, but I started taking care of the Sakyong’s handicapped brother and was really stuck. And delusional still myself about the Vajrayana and Trungpa, but not the Sayong. That gave me a very objective, I believe view about him, to watch the next scene in the Shambhala play-out. I became an distant but increasingly informed bystander although not witness to the worst of his behavior like those in this letter. But I felt his anger that he couldn’t disguise. I felt he didn’t like or trust anyone, really. But, he loved the perks.

In my role, not way in but not way out, I always felt I was watching the coldest most self centered dysfunctional family, and I came to see all of Trungpa’s children as handicapped, emotionally if not cognitively like the son I was taking care of. They had been made dysfunctional in some way and handicapped themselves, and all narcissistic and angry, by being around so much sycophantic flattery of Trungpa’s students. This was true of the children of other second-generation Tulkus, as well from other sanghas. to take their sick feudal thrones, and now they had not even the 13th-century training of their predecessors; had not any training at all, and only cult members surrounding them, too.

The Sakyong was a lost son and ignored in the grand Shambhala Court as the history goes; The Old Trungpa students, who stayed after the Regent fiasco, the Acharyas and the ‘waiting-with-bated-breath and more sycophancy, decades of it, to get that coveted title, (meant more cash donations) groomed the Sakyong with speech therapy and idiot compassion, and writing his books for him (common by translators of Lamas, and the first one took his editor, and former consort, eight years. She would visit us and complain about how difficult it was).

Both these groups felt sorry for the Sakyong, however. The Trungpa students who stayed, and those that left. I felt sorry for him. He was very good at getting people to feel sorry for him, as some learning disabled children are, who manipulate from a ‘learned helplessness’ state. They get others to do everything for them, because of this emotional blackmail learned early.

The Sakyong knew how the sangha felt about him when he was a lost child. Now,with Trungpa and the Regent dead, he was going to make up for them ignoring him. Not one Old Lama of Trungpa’s Karma Kagyu sect recognized him as a Tulku. Karma Kagyus usually recognize relatives. They weren’t impressed and probably suspected he wasn’t Trungpa’s son. But Akong’s son; the bursar of Trungpa, until elevated by the Global Elite idiots and China, to be another Great Tulku Akong Rinpoche; colluding with China since 1984, and “discovering the Chinese Government’s pick’, Ogyen Trinley, the now head of the Karma Kagyu sect by the West, but not India anymore. And then soon the Dalai Lama is also recognizing him, already giving him a temple in Dharamsala to stay in; but still playing the victim of China while promoting this Chinese Karmapa for all those billions in Free Tibet donations.

After the stupa was built, The Dalai Lama gave the Sakyong further prestige when he came to the grotesque Stupa for a Ceremony of Peace Award that the Sakyong gave him! Look at how that elevated this fraudulent lie. The Sakyong is so high in status, he gives an award to the Dalai Lama.That was the narrative created. But it is really the Dalai Lama using the Sakyong as a puppet to further his Kalachakra prophecy through Shambhala and its Mindfulness hoax. And the New Age, Sustainibility Hoax now merged with the Lamas’ Tantra. Think about how colluding the Dalai Lama was with this sexually abusive cult! Just like he was with Sogyal’s Rigpa. Also pushing mindfulness and sexually abusiveness e in the extreme too. And this stupa? When I was with the Regent as his personal, at the ’88 seminary ground-breaking ceremony during more humble RMDC days, it was going to be much more ordinary in height and when finished it was what? A hundred and eight feet tall. That secretly the other lamas made fun of, just like the Sakyong’s 10-foot throne. Most Stupas were about 15 feet tall, or shorter, not a Las Vegas-style height to attract cash-paying visitors. It was already Hollywood-esque and Shambhala was being made into an Esalen-like spa for the wealthy elite and their conferences. Shambhala Mountain went through that phase for A-type personalities to come and ‘chill out’; even fly-fish! When called out by it, the Sakyong minions said it was ‘catch and release’. Now the CEOs could have their training for their executives in Mindfulness. Another way in infiltrating into Goldman Sachs; you also hire the spouse of one of the daughters of a Goldman Sachs head CEO. Suddenly the Sakyong is giving talks before Goldman Sachs executives. And other former CEO’s join in, in promoting this fake Lama. They are all fakes. But this one is a fake, fake Lama. Now the propaganda and spin really begin.

Then there were the dharma brats, affected by all this nonsense, who took their cues from the second group, the enabling Old Trungpa students, who had careers to maintain in this cult and to me were the least bright of Trungpa’s students. Or the most ambitious for their careers. Or both.

Observing the Sakyong as I did, in both intimate groupings and larger groups, I always felt he hated his role, he always seemed sarcastic and that he couldn’t believe how stupid people were to be groveling around him, and it made him hate them more for it. He was imprisoned, as all these tulkus were imprisoned.

However, after a lifetime of being trained in the Systems Theory of Esalen New Age Gregory Bateson, and watching what this ‘let’s blame the system’ so no individuals will have to be responsible, I balk at letting people are free the hook with system excuses. Notice none of abused Western Tibetan Lamaist devotees now believe that any of these Lamas should be punished under western laws because they have all been brainwashed in the U.N. model of ‘forgiveness.” and let’s talk it to death. Fake remorse and just a confession and apology will do, the U.N. model for rogue countries that have gotten worse and who have now taken over the United Nations and their Progressive Model.

So, I also reject that he wasn’t responsible for this, which is not what I hear Tara totally saying, and what Peter is very clearly saying: That he was responsible. I also remember a Dharma brat writing up an interview with the Sakyong, when he admitted to her (it’s still is in the Iron Wheel archives that many of us have saved) that he had tried to set a part of Samye Ling on fire when he was playing with matches, and Trungpa was very upset! This Dharma Brat didn’t even pause or blink or seemed to notice, being in this cult since a child, and with her own pedophilia cover-up in this group to deal with. Already a compartmentalized mind to cope when quite young. There were many dharma brats like this, I am sure. Just cut off the painful parts to cope. Be a super Shambhala child and devotee.

At that time the Sakyong is referring to, in the interview, he was seven years old, and was staying with Akong and Trungpa was visiting him. One can imagine that this was already a damaged child caught between two crazy Tulku ‘parents’. One has to remember that these two Lamas, one a Tulku, and one the bursar of the Tulku in charge, might not have known who was the father of the Sakyong was between this woman they shared, both in their flight from Tibet and at Samye Ling where they all lived. It was common for these Tulkus to have shared intimate relations with one woman. Paternity was not an issue for them. Uncles, Fathers, the same. And, the Sakyong’s mother, a nun, had no status in this group, but probably knew enough to claim that Trungpa was the father since he had the most status, both in India with the Dalai Lama, and later in Europe and America. Her own status in the future was at stake. But the Sakyong looks nothing like Trungpa and much more like Akong. So there is that. ( Radio Free Shambhala even put out the two profile pictures of Akong and the Sakyong, and one can see that resemblance immediately).

So, now you have a child who doesn’t know who his real father is. They are presumably fighting over him, and he is setting the house on fire, is learning disabled, and has been in Refugee camps with his mother; a very low status for Tibetans in India. He has much to make up for in this realm and that is probably brewing over his adolescent years.

So, this is already someone with lots of problems at seven years old. But these cult members that stay, after the Regent nightmare, and who wind up grooming him in the new Shambhala International they delusionally but craftily create, together, would never look at Western facts anymore, or assess this situation rationally. They would ignore everything in their face for their fantasies about Tibet, Lamas, and the Vajrayana; that always rejects Western Reason anyway. Now they are going full-throttle and with George Soros type approval, and a wealthy corporate elite, to fulfill Trungpa’s plan to create an Enlightened Society based on a degenerate kleptocracy, who lost their own territory because of their greed and cruelty. But, the new War Lord son has to be given more status by a Progressive Globalist elite who are promoting these Lamas and already gave the slaveholder, the 14th Dalai, a Nobel Prize. For what? Fleeing from his Country? Abandoning his own people with his mile-long mule line escaping with the tons of Gold? Yet a beggar to the West. and a Victim. When he and his Lamaist cabal were the perpetrators in Tibet. They always ‘escape’ when the going gets rough. Abandoning the people around them, as this Sakyong did over and over. Calling it a ‘teaching.’ Or, in the Dalai Lama’s case, an escape from being tortured, himself. I don’t think so, anymore. So Precious are they, they must save themselves and their Precious teachings. They even designate themselves ‘precious ones’: ‘Rinpoches’ with a capital ‘R.’

ALL these Lamas are not who they seem. ( in my view, the Sakyong is being thrown out as a scapegoat, this time around, as is Sogyal) so Lamaism overall can survive in its new incarnation that Trungpa started: MINDFULNESS; and the Sakyong completed with Yoga/Mindfulness/Green Hoax Climate Change, Millenial Shambhala Mountain Spas. And, this already damaged soul is surrounded by the craziest of the Karma Kagyu sanghas and Vajradhatu/Shambhala’s next inner-circle, the less bright ones but crafty, like him, determined to have him fulfill his role so they can continue as Acharyas and administrate their Tantric Mindfulness Hoax, and Nalanda Translation, and Gampo Abbey, and the new Spa Yoga centers can continue; and they can and write their own books that can be published in the Lamas’ Publishing Houses. They aren’t going to let it go, Part of the grooming is to have Penor ‘recognize’ the Sakyong, assumed to be taking payoffs for recognitions, also common I would bet ( Steven Segal at the same time).

They elevate him to “MIPHAM THE GREAT” he gets a 10- foot throne that needs a ladder to serve him tea during his still rambling and incoherent and always the same cookie cutter talks, that he just wants to get over, so he can get back to his practices of exploiting women and emotionally torturing young men, and hanging out with his rotating drinking buddies, whom he will also exploit and torture, sadistically, hope and fear; and his translators/ editors who create more ‘authored books”, and make him a YouTube star, and marathon runner, with another duped wealthy benefactor, who promoted this image for him and ran his kleptocracy for a while, and he is able to fool the Beastie Boys, like Trungpa fooled Joni Mitchell, and Shambhala Songs by the Beastie Boys, are created by 1995-1996! The fix is in, again. In its next incarnation of fooling another generation. Generation X.

So, you have a boy with sociopathic tendencies already, and tremendous anger, who questions his paternity ( playing with matches was a very red flag when I was a protective social worker) learning disabled, and in a misogynistic, feudal cult religion, pretending to be Mahayana Buddhism for the newer students, and the ones that remain being the most naive; who will continue to deny what Tantra is pointing to, i.e.; guru-worship and exploitation of everyone, and mostly women and young girls, but everyone and the Sakyong now has a revolving group of total useful idiots around him, less sharp, but savvier in media spin. The most cynical, or the most naive; but all of them with delusions of grandeur. Like him. A Perfect Storm.

And, as for Lady Diana, who doesn’t want her royalties from Trungpa’s archives and books and online courses that spin out by the Sakyong’s inner circle, to dry out; a sangha that is always scheming to reach that 10 million mark of new recruits. She even writes a book. Further adding to the Trungpa myth by excusing him as a ‘great teacher’ and making herself a hero/victim. So the money can’t dry up for these spoiled exploiters and deceivers: the cling-ons of the head cling-ons. Nor her ability to pretend to be Royal aristocracy, while having a gutter mouth and with her own issues of revenge on those early consorts of Trungpa, who now become her own cadre of sycophantic slaves and media spin, to make up for their having slept with Trungpa.She was able to use their guilty feelings I believe. She too wants it both ways. Again, this is what I observed. She is recognized as the Queen Dowager now, when the Sakyong is elevated as Mipham the Great, and taken back into the fold, after escaping to Hawaii when the proverbial ‘hits the fan’ with the Regent. And the Old students are very pissed at her. I heard that over and over. But, now, after elevating the Sakyong, she is back, to be really running the show more than ever, behind the scenes with the Sakong. The Sakyong always kowtowed to her wishes. From what I observed.

The dharma brats are the angriest, now, because they were the most deceived.

If they were the brighter ones, they were also taking in the bullshit as well as the fantasies, which exploded when the Truth was revealed. They are the ones not afraid, they were the ones that took The Shambhala teachings’ to heart and have the most cognitive dissonance to contend with, to break through it. They believed that this was real. Instead of a clever way for Trungpa and his early students to create a “Path’ to fulfill, by deception, the spread of the most sexually exploitative, feudal cult and its Kalachakra Prophecies, by Lamas that kept they own people serfs and slaves for a thousand years and is an Apocalyptic Cult, admired and embraced by the violent Khans, Himmler, and other Fascist dictators, and the Pan Hinduism Nationalists of Modi, not the India people who are sick to death of these Lamas. They no longer ‘recognize’ the 17th Karmapa, as legitimate, always believing he was a Chinese spy. But, the cult members of Shambhala are never told that. That news is kept from them, as this Communist-run Karmapa starts further taking over New York along with Shambhala, whose sexual abuses explode, but are still not fully reported. The Catholic Church is always the story in the no-longer-illustrious New York Times.

These Billionaire God Realm Dwellers, like Soros and Zuckerberg, have their own delusions. And are promoting this feudal society for the future to destroy the ordinary middle class who still believe in a nation.Soros is doing it cynically and purposely with billions given to Leftist causes, and Zuckerberg is doing the same Mindfulness practices and has gone Buddhophile trance. He hasn’t a clue but is another Utopian God that can and should control what people say and think. elections, and is in the same God Realm. Both are destroying the middle class (Zuckerberg has already done that in parts of California) but the middle class keeps us from becoming a third world dictatorship. Instead, Let’s have a more debt-ridden, over-taxed populace everywhere! With Tibet as the model! That is what these bright bulbs are doing, without a clue about anything, or are cynically wanting that to be true.

That the Fascist Left has hooked up with these Lamas, particularly in New York City, slowly turning it back to a hovel of the early 18th century, more crime, more homeless people, and people taxed to death to take care of what these liberal progressives have done for the last forty years in that city? I never forget that it was Wilson, First Progressive President with a Theosophist Vice President, who created the League of Nations, that turned into to U.N. who has always had a World Citizenship trajectory, with them as the World Government. Wilson was one of the worst presidents we ever had, who signed the Versaille Treaty that brought Germany to its knees with repayments that caused such suffering. Paving the way for Hitler and World War II. We see the same Progressives and their arrogance again, trying to bring their own country to its knees’ Progressive Utopian idiots who have almost run our country, and countries all over the world, into the ground. Now they want to go full-throttle in their Utopian Insanity with the Green New Deal. The Plan to tax the middle class out of existence. They are always so dumb.

The dharma brats, as part of their recovery, should demand from the American Government a release of the C.I.A.’s involvement with the Dalai Lama, and the true history of Tibet; how these Lamas, some of them still alive, treated their own people, and are still controlling them in India under the CTA. This is an exploitative, misogynistic kleptocracy, and the sooner the ex-cult members realize this, the sooner the world can be set free of this myth of Shangri La; the sooner the dharma brats can be released from their profound personal grief and ‘personal’ storylines we all have to tell. Otherwise, they will waste another decade or more of their life, in another Lama sangha, coming to the same realization and same place. Wasting ten more years of their lives. Under this sick Lamaist spell. I hope they don’t do it. They have so much more information at hand and are not alone, like Tara was, and later me, but I had her as a precedent boldly speaking out; she had no one when coming out and telling the truth as she experienced it. She had June Campbell and the other Tibetan scholars, but they were in England or Europe, not here in the U.S.; the most targeted to be fooled. The should request a Freedom of Information Act release on these Lamas, and their real history and C.I.A. involvement; And the Dalai Lama’s ‘escape.’ I watched this ‘escape’ of the 17th Karmapa, by helicopter and S.U.V. on a pirated film in 2000. The Chinese could have stopped him, they didn’t because he was sent here to continue this Tibetan Lama influence on our nation; China’s best weapon.

It has been sixty years now. Time for that to be known to the American public who has been inundated with lies from the establishment media swamp regarding these lamas, who believed these duped members of Tantra. That is, if the dharma brats really want to help the world, as they say.

They were in a CULT, that is what they first have to realize. Yes, even them; who all believed they were so smart, so special; the special children of Dharma? Right? and so savvy compared to all the ‘heretics’ they saw in ‘samsara’ out here. Whom they took vows to these charlatans to ‘save’. They need to save themselves, now. We were in just another cult of coercive control and sexual abuse, like those Christian cults, whom we were taught to look down on, but many of them have woken up sooner. It will be humiliating for only a while, and then totally freeing. If they can get there. And realize they are not ‘special’ but ordinary. And, not as smart as the people who never joined Shambhala. Saw it was a cult right away How many people did Level I of the programming and said, ‘This is a cult” “I am getting out of here.”

These kindest, morally superior, and oh, so, compassionate Shambhalians, were so vicious to Tara, as the other Tibetan Buddhists were to June Campbell, whose life was threatened. Why? because Tara was direct! And very angry. They couldn’t stand that. They couldn’t stand anyone using anger as clarity, what they all claimed they were striving to achieve. They couldn’t even recognize anger as clarity. They were Church Ladies. Both the men and the women in Shambhala. And, Tara took on that trickster, the worst of the worst, and the most twisted, Dzongsar, that only now, almost twenty years later, the other western Tibetan Buddhists are seeing how creepy he is, and what a two-faced deceptor; with a little ‘r’ another sociopathic Lama, in my view. Who has managed to fool the wealthy academic elite. The easiest to fool. Just like the Dalai Lama has done for so long.

peter· Reply
March 25, 2019 at 2:10 PM
I am always very cautious with arguments that lead with ‘ I know the truth’ or ‘I know him better than anyone…I know best….I have the most’….etc i am so proud you are expressing your anger so well. Always gives me pause . The letter referenced from Mr Mormon leaves open the potential return of the king as has been hinted at by a number of forgiving pro sakyong reddit commenters and a potential DARVO like senario .

peter· Reply
March 25, 2019 at 5:20 PM
Thank you you both,
Greatly appreciated.

Christine A. Chandler· Reply
March 26, 2019 at 12:42 PM
Thank you, for your input on here. Each of us has our own experience with this group, which has been dismissed over the years. We never seem to be able to channel that energy, like, say, former Scientologists, who grouped together and really went after those leaders, or like some Christian groups, and the best example is Catholics who were abused and worked together to get these priests jailed.

I think it is because the teachings in the Vajrayana really messed with our reasoning minds. All of us, in different ways but similar in that it made us more mentally absorbed instead of taking action. We didn’t act in this group, we obeyed, we self-visualized and created images in our heads, and we chanted for hours together, but separate, on our cushions. We were programmed for years to believe we were in this big “together hug,” when in reality we were in separate bubbles, in a cluster of bubbles that all moved together, according to the way the cult and its inner circle blew us.

It takes years, in my experience, to just recover from that, and everyone personally has their own trajectory in recovery.

The dharma brats that have woken up, like that Craig Mormon, or even these six Kasung that wrote the letter together, clearly have a focused purpose to even write and sign that letter, but I bet they are at different places and the idea of going to the police together? None of them? And besides, when after this, how do you trust anyone, again, to work together? Plus this wish-wash recovery model in now so built into the mix, that people just want a confession, and an ” I am sorry.”

What happened to justice? Were the last two generations so programmed to not believe in our justice system, not just because it sometimes fails people, but because of now two generations awash in this U.N. forgiveness model? That’s really worked out well in worn-torn Africa, or how about the U.N. when the U.N soldiers are caught raping women. Third-World countries that keep slaves have as much voice as the Democratic nations? We should abolish this U.N. run by Global Progressives; they are Utopian ideologues and idiots. Who are ignoring abuses of countries just like cult members are still the leaders of Shambhala.

This apology trope is just a theme and variation of the Little Red Book to me. This demanding a confession, Except with no real consequences for the perpetrators of this abuse. Even in their anger, the dharma brats seem to just want remorse from sociopaths. As though their confessing and apology is enough. But, sociopaths never feel remorse. Or it is fleeting and their predilections continue. That is why we still lock up sociopathic predators. So they can’t live to abuse again.

It seems the only thing left is our personal stories, our anger and our views of what happened. Because Buddhists are just so passive unless their idealized leadership tells them where to move. That is why dictators love Buddhism as the religious part of the equation. Think Pol Pot, Myanmar, Tibet.

But getting a confession and apology from the Sakyong, (it is easy for him to do that) is not going to stop this from continuing. It is weighing the facts. Do people, whose injuries and abuses are within the statute of limitations have a case, even a class action suit which would be better if it gets lots of press? That is the only way this is ever going to stop this abuse. Otherwise, Dzongsar and his ilk will have won. The Vajrayana will have trumped Western Law.

Tara Carreon· Reply
March 28, 2019 at 7:35 PM
Chris, I am so impressed at your March 25 post about the Sakyong’s anger. You should pull that out and make it into a proper topic all its own. It’s a very important topic. And it’s some of your best and clearest writing, not generalized in any way, but specific. Beautifully written. Compelling reading. So honest, direct, and thorough. i hate to see it get lost in this comments thread.

I am interested in hearing more about “the UN model of forgiveness.” You know Freda Bedi, “mommy” for the Tibetan lamas escaping Tibet, was funded by the League of Nations, and probably also the CIA-funded World Council of Churches. I’m doing a big research project on her right now.

I agree with everything you say about “the fascist left.” I have been a radical leftie all my life, but never a Democrat, or fascist leftie, (I’m a third party Nader fan) and it has bothered me to no end that the left is so caught up in fascist ideas that they are not aware of. Which are definitely emanating from the Green Party in Europe (not America so much), who have that racist, class-conscious, ariosophical background through Rudolf Steiner, whose group was thoroughly complicit with Hitler. For any one interested, see “The Art of Avoiding History,” by Peter Staudenmaier and also his “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism.”

I think that people who want to play the lama, or guru, should think twice about adopting that role, which is really for a lifetime. Are they going to be able to keep it up? Will they want to do that their whole life? Are they sure they’re not trapping themselves in something they’d rather not do at some point; rather, perhaps, be free.

Peter: I thought you were just a nasty troll, but you didn’t come back with more nasty in response to my reply, and so you’re not the guy I thought you were. Good for you, showing some fairness and kindness.

It’s a good day for the Truth here at your board, Chris.

Tara Carreon· Reply
March 28, 2019 at 9:36 PM
Chris: You talk about the reasons why Buddhists aren’t able to get together like Scientologists and Christians to talk about our problems: (1) our reasoning minds have been messed up, (2) we are too obedient, (3) we’re locked in our own minds, pursuing inner practice while ostensibly practicing together. And you ask what about justice?

I just read a book called, “Zen at War,” by Brian Daizen Victoria, which I highly recommend, that taught me that Buddhism has not been Buddhism since King Ashoka, especially in Japan, but rather a state-run Buddhism on the Hegelian model of “everything for the state; nothing for the people.” So the Japanese people were taught to be the most slavishly obedient people in history due to their state-run Buddhism for over 1,500 years. So when World War II came, and all the Buddhist propaganda for war emerged in its full ugliness out of the mouths of every Buddhist priest, after the war Japanese Buddhists started looking at what happened in light of imported American values. [But why they listened to the same propagandists tell them what went wrong, who had psychologically bludgeoned everyone into believing that kamikaze self-sacrifice would get them enlightened (just like the Muslim suicide bombers), I can’t imagine.]

Anyway, this guy Ichikawa Hakugen came up with twelve reasons why Buddhism was responsible for the Japanese conduct in the war (God forbid the priests should be responsible) that I think are worth looking at here in answer to your questions, and are also reasons why Buddhists everywhere act the way they do.

The first reason was the basic subservience of Buddhism to the state. He pointed to a number of Mahayana sutras from India that emphasized the role of Buddhism as “protector of the state,” that had been particularly welcomed into Japan. At the point Buddhism is serving the state rather than individuals who make up the state, Buddhism has been completely gutted of any real content, and is just an empty vessel for the teachings of nationalism, militarism, and imperialism. That’s what all states do to Buddhism: gut it, and fill it with their nasty content as needed.

The second reason was the doctrine of karma overrides social justice issues. We all know how karma works according to popular belief: everything is your fault, and you deserve everything you get. And everything is just the way it’s supposed to be in society. If there’s a problem, it’s you and your karmic problem from this and future lives. You should work on yourself more.

The third reason was a particularly Japanese Buddhist reason that had to do with one of Japan’s oldest legal documents, the Seventeen Article Constitution of Prince Regent Shotoku (604), that said everyone had to obey the emperor, based on Confucian reasoning that the people of earth couldn’t overthrow the emperor of heaven without causing destruction. So it wasn’t only the state that Buddhism protected, but also the hierarchical social structure as well.

The fourth reason pointed to the Buddhist doctrine of dependent co-arising, that says all phenomena are in a state of flux, with no inherent existence, and empty; and self is also empty, leaving no room for individual anything. So Western enlightenment concepts such as human rights and justice have no place in this kind of Buddhism. So forget about the self, and serve the public good, which is the state and the emperor.

The fifth reason is the Buddhist emphasis on the inner self, with little concern for external actions. How is it that Mahayana Buddhists talk so much about compassion, but what that really means is sitting in meditation and imagining things to be good. No impetus at all to go out and work for humanity. “Compassion” in Buddhism is as empty as everything else.

The sixth reason was another particularly Japanese Buddhist idea called “debt of gratitude,” to our parents and rulers. “Debt of gratitude” to “all sentient beings” is lost in the process. So it becomes a doctrine that focuses only on the Japanese people, as opposed to people in the whole world.

The seventh reason is the Buddhist belief in the interdependence of all things, which leads to this Hegelian “love the state and corporations as our daddy; we are one big happy family.”

The eighth reason is the Buddhist doctrine of the Middle Way, which is about compromise and avoiding confrontation, and basic capitulation and unwillingness to fight for social reform.

The ninth reason is also a repeat, so I’ll skip it.

The tenth reason is again peculiarly Japanese Buddhism, which sees society as based on a set of ancient and immutable laws, including its hierarchy, which smart people don’t mess with. It’s inherently conservative.

The eleventh reason is again a repeat of number five, which is Buddhism’s focus on inner peace rather than justice. So again, there’s no reason to change society here. It’s all about you.

And the twelfth reason is the Buddhist concept of “suchness,” again leading to a detached, subjective harmony with things the way they are.

Buddhism gutted of its original beauty thus has no power to push us into confronting reality or promoting social change.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:34 am

Part 1 of 2

Buddha Shakyamuni's Social Consciousness [Excerpt], Chapter 12: Was it Buddhism?, Zen at War, Second Edition
by Brian Daizen Victoria


The basic teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni are well-known, so suffice it to say, there is nothing in either the Four Noble Truths or the Holy Eightfold Path to suggest support for the use of violence, let alone warfare. On the contrary, two admonitions in the Holy Eightfold Path - "right action" and "right livelihood" - clearly indicate the very opposite.

Right action promotes moral, honorable, and peaceful conduct. It admonishes the believer to abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from dishonest dealings, and from illegitimate sexual intercourse. Instead, the believer should help others lead peaceful and honorable lives.

Right livelihood means that one should abstain from making one's living through a profession that brings harm to others, such as selling arms and lethal weapons, providing intoxicating drink or poisons, or soldiering, killing animals, or cheating. Instead, one should live in a way that does not cause harm or do injustice to others.

Together with right speech, right action and right livelihood form the basis for Buddhist ethical conduct. Underlying all Buddhist ethical conduct is a broad conception of universal love and compassion for all living beings, both human and nonhuman. Thus, based on these fundamental teachings of Shakyamuni, Buddhist adherents could in theory no more participate in that form of mass human slaughter known as "war" than they could purposely take the life of another. Yet ideals and practice often parted ways, as we will explore next.


In accordance with the religious norms of his day, Shakyamuni offered advice on secular as well as purely spiritual matters. One example concerns a dispute that arose over the division of water from the drought-stricken Rohini River, which flowed between two kingdoms, one of them his own homeland of Kapilavastu. It is recorded that when the quarrel reached the point where a battle seemed imminent, Shakyamuni proceeded to the proposed battlefield and took his seat on the riverbank. He asked why the princes of the two kingdoms were assembled, and when informed that they were preparing for battle, he asked what the dispute was about. The princes said that they didn't know for sure, and they, in turn, asked the commander- in-chief. He also didn't know and sought information from the regent; and so the enquiry went on until it reached the husbandmen who related the whole affair. "What then is the value of water?" asked Shakyamuni. "It is but little," replied the princes. "And what of princes?" "It cannot be measured," they said. "Then would you," said Shakyamuni, "destroy that which is of the highest value for the sake of that which is worth little?" Reflecting on the wisdom of his words, the princes agreed to return peaceably to their homes.1

Another example of Shakyamuni's political intervention is said to have occurred in his seventy-ninth year, shortly before his death. King Ajatasattu of Magadha wished to make war on the tribal confederation of Vajji, so he sent an emissary to ask Shakyamuni what his chances of victory were. Shakyamuni declared that he himself had taught the Vajjians the conditions of true welfare, and as he was informed that the Vajjians were continuing to observe these conditions, he foretold that they would not be defeated. Upon hearing this, Ajatasattu abandoned his plan to attack.

Significantly, the first of the seven conditions Shakyamuni had taught the Vajjians was that they must "hold frequent public assemblies:' Secondly, they must "meet in concord, rise in concord, and act as they are supposed to do in concord."2 As a noted scholar pointed out, these conditions represent "a truly democratic approach," and "any society following these rules is likely to prosper and remain peaceful."3

A. L. Basham suggests that incidents like these demonstrate Shakyamuni's clear support for a republican form of government, though with the caveat that we are speaking of a form of governance in which there was an executive- sometimes elected, sometimes hereditary-supported by an assembly of heads of families that gathered periodically to make decisions relating to the common welfare.4 Restated in more contemporary terminology, Shakyamuni advocated a political model approaching a small-scale, direct -democracy,-though it is also clear that he did not-deny his counsel to the kings of the rising monarchies of his day.

Other elements of Shakyamuni's stance on violence are illustrated in the lead-up to an attack on his homeland by King Vidudabha of Kosala, the most powerful of the sixteen major kingdoms of his time. Shakyamuni recognized that this time the nature of the feud was such that his words would not be heeded, and he did not attempt to intervene. But even when the very existence of his homeland was at stake, Shakyamuni, his warrior background notwithstanding, refused to take up arms in its defense.

Shakyamuni's teaching on warfare and violence is perhaps best clarified in the Dhammapada, a Pali canonical work. In chapter 1, stanza 1, for example, Shakyamuni states: "For never does hatred cease by hatred here below: hatred ceases by love; this is an eternal law." And again, in chapter 15, stanza 201: "Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered is unhappy. The person who has given up both victory and defeat, that person, contented, is happy." In chapter 10, stanza 129, he says: ''All persons tremble at being harmed, all persons fear death; remembering that you are like unto them, neither strike nor slay." And finally, in chapter 8, stanza 103: "If someone conquers in battle a thousand times a thousand enemies, and if another conquers himself, that person is the greatest of conquerors."5 While scholars doubt these admonitions came directly from Shakyamuni's lips, the admonitions are, nevertheless, entirely consistent with his earliest and most fundamental teachings.

Two further aspects of Shakyamuni's teachings are worthy of mention. First, he was concerned about what we would today call social justice. For example, in the Pali Cakkavattisihanada Sutta of the Digha Nikaya (no. 26), Shakyamuni clearly identified poverty as the cause of violence and other social ills:

As a result of goods not being accrued to those who are destitute, poverty becomes rife. From poverty becoming rife, stealing, ... violence, ... murder, ... lying, ... evil speech, ... adultery, ... incest, till finally lack of respect for parents, filial love, religious piety and lack of regard for the ruler will result.

Likewise, in the Kutadanta Sutta of the same Nikaya (no. 5), Shakyamuni praised a king named Mahavijita who, faced with an upsurge of robbery in his impoverished kingdom, provided his subjects with the economic means to improve their lives rather than imprisoning and executing the wrongdoers.6


Also important is the political or social dimension of the religious organization that Buddha Shakyamuni founded, the Sangha, that is, the community of monks and nuns (organized separately) dedicated to practicing his teachings. Primarily religious in nature, it embodied his concept of an ideal society.

The Sangha was based on noncoercive, nonauthoritarian principles by which leadership was acquired through superior moral character and spiritual insight, and monastic affairs were managed by a general meeting of the monks (or nuns). Unlike a modern business meeting, however, all decisions required the unanimous consent of those assembled. When differences could not be settled, a committee of elders was charged with finding satisfactory solutions.

Ideally, the Sangha was to be an organization that had no political ambitions and in whose ranks there was no striving for leadership. It sought by example and exhortation to persuade men and women to follow its way, not by force. Further, by his completely eliminating the then-prevalent caste system from its ranks, Shakyamuni may rightly be considered one of recorded history's first leaders to practice his belief in the basic equality of all human beings. He clearly hoped that the religious and social ideals of the Sangha would one day permeate the whole of society. This said, the historical subordination of the female Sangha to the male Sangha, through the imposition of eight additional precepts for nuns, betrays the ideal of human equality and points to the existence of a sexist attitude that may date back to Shakyamuni himself.

It is also true that even during the Buddha's lifetime, his Sangha became a wealthy landowner, though the lands referred to were held as the communal property of the various monastic communities.7 The lands themselves had all been donated by the faithful, initially kings, princes, and rich merchants. This raises the question as to what the donors expected of the Sangha in return for their material support. The classic answer is that they expected to acquire "merit," that spiritual reward that promises rebirth in a blessed state to all those who perform good deeds. As one Pali sutra relates, however, the accumulation of merit by the laity can also lead to the more immediate and mundane goals of "long life, fame, heavenly fortune, and sovereign power [italics mine]."8 The fact that King Ajatasattu also looked to Buddha Shakyamuni to forecast the likelihood of his victory against the Vajjians is significant here. Significant, in that it was already widely believed in ancient India that accomplished "holy men" possessed superhuman powers, including the ability to foresee the future.

Related questions are what effect the Sangha's collective possession of ever-greater amounts of land had on its own conduct, and equally important, whether as a major landholder it could fail in its actions and pronouncements to escape the notice and concern of state rulers. Would it be surprising to learn that these rulers also expected something in return for their material support of the Sangha, something approaching a moral endorsement of their rule, or the acquisition of merit, or the utilization of the supposed superhuman powers of Buddhist priests (and sutras) to protect the state from its enemies or ensure victory in battle?


If in the long run the Sangha willingly provided rulers with a moral endorsement, that endorsement was initially given only on the basis that rulers fulfill certain prerequisites or conditions. These conditions were contained in the Jataka stories, five hundred Indian folk tales that had been given a Buddhist didactic purpose and were incorporated into the Pali Buddhist canon sometime before the beginning of the Christian era. Among these tales we find a description of the "Ten Duties of the King," which include, among other things, the requirement that rulers abstain from anything that involves violence and destruction of life. Rulers are further exhorted to be free from selfishness, hatred, and falsehood, and to be ready to give up all personal comfort, reputation, fame, and even their very life if need be to promote the welfare of the people. Furthermore, it was the responsibility of kings to provide (1) grain and other facilities for agriculture to farmers and cultivators, (2) capital for traders and those engaged in business, and (3) adequate wages for those who were employed. When people are provided with sufficient income, they will be contented and have no fear or anxiety. Consequently, their countries will be peaceful and free from crime.9

It was, of course, one thing to present kingly duties in the abstract and another to find kings who actually practiced them. Buddhists discovered one such ruler in the person of King Ashoka (ca. 269-32 B.C.E.), who already controlled much of India at the time of his accession to the throne. Prior to converting to Buddhism, Ashoka is said to have engaged in wars of expansion until the bloodiness of his conquest of the kingdom of Kalinga caused him to repent and become a Buddhist layman, forswearing the use of violence. He then embarked upon a "Reign of Dharma" in which he advocated such moral precepts as nonharming, respect for all religious teachers, and noncovetousness.

In addition to renouncing aggressive warfare, Ashoka is said to have urged moderation in spending and accumulation of wealth, kind treatment of servants and slaves, cessation of animal sacrifices for religious purposes, and various other maxims, all carved as inscriptions and royal edicts on cliff faces and stone pillars throughout his vast realm, which extended almost the entire length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent. Further, he appointed officers known as Superintendents of Dharma for the propagation of religion, and arranged for regular preaching tours. Realizing the effectiveness of exhortation over legislation, he is said to have preached the Dharma on occasion. Ashoka become the archetypal Buddhist ruler, an ideal or Universal Monarch (see chapter 7).

As opposed to this idealized portrait, Indian historian A. L. Basham has pointed to another side of King Ashoka. For example, Ashoka maintained an army and used force against tribal groups that clashed with his empire. Beyond that, one Buddhist description of his life, the Sanskrit Ashokavandana, records that he ordered eighteen thousand non-Buddhist adherents, probably Jains, executed because of a minor insult to Buddhism on the part of single one. On another occasion, he forced a Jain follower and his entire family into their house before having it burnt to the ground. He also maintained the death penalty for criminals, including his own wife, Tisyaraksit whom he executed. In light of these and similar acts, we can say that Ashoka was an archetypal "defender of the faith" who was not averse to the use of violence.

Nor did King Ashoka's remorse at having killed over 100,000 inhabitants of Kalinga lead him to restore its freedom or that of any other of his earlier conquests. Instead, he continued to govern them all as an integral part of hi empire, for "he by no means gave up his imperial ambitions."10 In fact, inasmuch as many of his edicts mention only support for Dharma, (a pan-Indian politico-religious term) and not the Buddha Dharma, it is possible to argue that he used Dharma not so much out of allegiance to the Buddhist faith and its ideals, but as a means to centralize power, maintain unity among his disparate peoples, and promote law and order throughout the empire.

At the very least, in promoting Buddhism throughout India, Ashoka Was clearly also promoting his own kingship and establishing himself.11 That is to say, an alliance of politics and religion had been born. This is important to note because while Ashoka may have been the first to use Buddhism and the (Buddha) Dharma for what we would today identify as political purposes, he was hardly the last, as we shall see shortly when we examine the development of Buddhism in China and Japan.

A noted Indian political philosopher, Vishwanath Prasad Varma, pointed out that due to King Ashoka's royal patronage, "the Sangha became contaminated with regal and aristocratic affiliations."12 Similarly, the pioneer Buddhist scholar T. W. Rhys Davids remarked that it was the Sangha's close affiliation with King Ashoka that was "the first step on the downward path of Buddhism, the first step on its expulsion from India."13

What is certain is that Ashoka enjoyed a great deal of power over the Sangha. For example, a second Buddhist record of Ashoka's life, the Pali Mahavamsa, states that Ashoka was, with the aid of the great elder Moggaliputta Tissa, responsible for defrocking sixty thousand Sangha members who were found to harbor "false views."14 Ashoka had the power to prescribe passages from the sutras that Sangha members were required to study. Those who failed to do so could be defrocked by his officers.15 In fact, it became necessary to receive Ashoka's permission even to enter the priesthood.16 In short, during Ashoka's reign, if not before, the Raja Dharma (Law of the Sovereign) became deeply involved in, if not yet in full command of, the Buddha Dharma. This too was a harbinger of things to come.

In this connection, both Basham and Rhys Davids identified the concept of a so-called Universal Monarch, or Cakravartin (Wheel-Turning King), as coming into prominence within Buddhist circles only after the reign of Ashoka's father, Candragupta, who ascended the throne sometime at the end of the fourth century B.C.E,17 Thus, the idea of a Universal Monarch, who served as the protector of the Buddha Dharma and as the recipient of the Dharma's protection, did not originate as a teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni himself. Instead, it is best understood as a later accretion that "'was an inspiration to ambitious monarchs, ... some [of whom] claimed to be Universal Monarchs themselves."18 It is also significant that as a Universal Monarch and Dharma Protector, Ashoka was accorded the personal title of Dharma Raja (Dharma King), a title he shared with Buddha Shakyamuni,19 This "sharing of titles" would play an important role in China.


Confucian Critique of Early Buddhism in China

Buddhism entered China by way of Central Asia at the beginning of the Christian era. By this time China already had a sophisticated culture of its own that included two well-developed, indigenous, religious-oriented belief systems: Taoism and Confucianism. Buddhist advocates eventually reached an uneasy truce with both Taoists and Confucians, who initially opposed the introduction of this foreign religion.

Chinese Buddhist monks appeased the Taoists by discussing Buddhism in a Taoist vocabulary and proposing Buddhist solutions to unresolved Taoist doctrinal disputes, such as the relationship of the "holy man" to the world. However, it was the compromise reached with the Confucians that was to have the most far-reaching effects on the subsequent development of Buddhism throughout East Asia, including Japan.

The compromise concerned the relationship of the Sangha with the state. As propagators of a universal Dharma, Chinese monks of the Eastern Chin dynasty (317-420 C.E.) asserted they had no need to kowtow (show obeisance) to the emperor. From the popular Confucian viewpoint, this was a heretical doctrine that undermined Confucian advocacy of social harmony derived from a strictly hierarchical conception of society, in which nothing was higher than the "Son of Heaven."

Subordination of Buddhism to the State

While Buddhist monks in southern China (under the Chin dynasty) successfully maintained independence from the state, their northern counterparts did not fare as well. Faced with the non-Chinese rulers of the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534 C.E.), Buddhist monks offered their services as political, diplomatic, and military advisers. They claimed to be able to prophesy not only the outcome of battles and entire military campaigns, but even the rise and fall of empires. According to Kenneth Chen, in offering their technical services to the rulers, these imperial monk advisors were able to persuade them to become staunch supporters of Buddhism."20

In justifying the decision of northern monks to reverence the emperor in accordance with Confucian tradition, Fa-kuo, chief of monks from 396 to 398, came up with an "ingenious solution." Namely, he claimed that then Emperor T'ai-tsu was a living Buddha, the Tathagata himself. Therefore, when a monk bowed down to him, he was not doing obeisance to an emperor but was worshipping the Buddha, an entirely fit and proper act for all faithful.21 Fa-kuo, it should be noted, had been appointed to his position by Emperor T'ai-tsu. Although the effect this had on Fa-kuo's views is unknown, it is significant that a Chinese emperor possessed the authority to make such an appointment over the Sangha. This said, it must also be remembered that Fa-kuo's innovation was based on such Indian precedents as the "sharing of titles" in the Buddhist records of King Ashoka's reign. Furthermore, there was, by this time, scriptural justification for Fa-kuo's position in the Suvarnaprabhasa [Golden Light] Sutra. This Indian Mahayana sutra took the view that while a king is not a god in his own right, he does hold his position by the authority of the gods and is therefore entitled .o be called a "son of the gods." It can readily be seen that this position, which is Brahmanical (not Buddhist) in origin, dovetails nicely with the Chinese doctrine of a ruler's Mandate of Heaven. Further paralleling the Chinese doctrine, there is an implicit admission in this sutra (and in its Chinese variant) that revolt against a wicked or negligent king is morally acceptable.

Whatever motives one may ascribe to these northern Buddhist monks, the fact remains they established a pattern that was to characterize Chinese Buddhism down through the ages. That is to say, in return for imperial patronage and protection, Buddhism was expected to serve and protect the interests of the state and its rulers, including the attainment of victory on the battlefield. Thus was the foundation laid for what came to be known in Japan as "Nation Protecting-Buddhism:' It can be argued, of course, that this was but an extension of the Sangha's subservience to the state as first observed in India.

Be that as it may, when a subsequent emperor-Wen (r. 581-604) of the Sui dynasty (c. 581-618)-decided to enlist the spiritual aid of Buddhist monks in his military campaigns, he was doing no more than extending a precedent that had already existed for more than two hundred years, at least in northern China. Specifically, Wen constructed temples at sites where he and his father had won important battles, ordering temple priests to hold commemorative services for the spirits of his fallen soldiers. Already in the midst of planning future military campaigns, the emperor wanted to assure his followers that should they fall on some future battlefield, their spirits, too, would be looked after.22

Emperor Wen's innovation was his determination to use Buddhism as a method of unifying all of China. Presenting himself as a Universal Monarch, soon after establishing the Sui dynasty in 581 C.E. he declared:

With the armed might of a Cakravartin King, We spread the ideals of the ultimately benevolent one [that is, the Buddha]. With a hundred victories and a hundred battles, We promote the practice of the ten Buddhist virtues. Therefore We regard weapons of war as having become like incense and flowers [presented as offerings to the Buddha] and the fields of this visible world as becoming forever identical with the Buddha land [italics mine].23

To secure his position still further, Wen gave himself the title Bodhisattva Son of Heaven, and proceeded to have hundreds of stupas built throughout China to enshrine Buddhist relics. This conveyed the unity of king and empire through faith in Buddhism. In doing this, he was once again emulating pious acts by that other great empire builder, King Ashoka. Ashoka allegedly had eighty-four thousand stupas constructed throughout his empire.24

However, for the imperial support it enjoyed, the Sangha always paid a heavy price in the loss of its independence, even in internal affairs, and in increasing subservience to the state. Thus, after Emperor Yang succeeded to the throne in 604 (by killing his father, Emperor Wen), he issued a decree in 607 ending the exemption of monks in southern China from having to pay homage to the emperor and his officials. The Law of the Sovereign was now supreme in China and would remain so, as far as Buddhism was concerned, forevermore. One added "benefit" of this subservience was, however, that Buddhism gained at least a degree of acceptance by the Confucians.

The Sangha's support of state interests did not stop with prophesy, state ritual, and provision of a unifying ideology. By the time of the T'ang dynasty (c. 618-907), some monks had themselves begun to participate directly in politics. During the reign of Wu Tse-t'ien, for example, one monk by the name of Hsueh Huai-i was actually commissioned as a "grand general sustaining the state:' As such, he led a number of military expeditions to expel Turks who had invaded China's border regions. Later, Huai-i even attempted to usurp the throne for himself.25

Monks meddling in politics (and warfare) suggests, of course, that decadence had infiltrated the Sangha under imperial patronage. In fact, one official of the time complained that "present-day temples surpass even imperial palaces in design, embodying the last word in extravagance, splendor, artistry, and finesse."26 Thus, when Emperor Hsuan-tsung ascended the throne in 712, he instituted a series of measures to control the Sangha's wealth and power, including limitations on the size of temple landholdings, defrocking of up to thirty thousand "unworthy monks:' and requiring government permission before repairs to temples could be made. In order to control the number of entrants into the Sangha, the emperor also initiated a system of granting official "monk certificates" in 747.27

None of these acts, however, can begin to-compare to the suppression of Buddhism that occurred at the hands of Emperor Wu-tsung in 845. At the time, the emperor claimed to have forced 260,500 monks and nuns to return to lay life, while destroying 44,600 monasteries, temples, and shrines, and confiscating their vast, tax-exempt lands and 150,000 slaves.28 Although the emperor's death the following year marked the formal end of the persecution, Buddhism never regained its preeminent position in Chinese life and society. A long period of decline set in, extending to the present day. Only the Ch'an (Zen) and Pure Land schools maintained a certain degree of vitality.


Ch'an's resilience may have derived in part from its syncretism, for Ch'an had incorporated both Taoist and Confucian tenets into its practice and outlook. By the Sung period (960-1279) if not before, it was typical for Ch'an masters (like other Chinese Buddhists) to refer to Buddhism as one leg of a religious tripod that also included Confucianism and Taoism. Japanese Zen Master Dogen, who trained in China from 1223 to 1227, described this syncretism:

Among present-day monks ... not one of them, not even half of one of them, has understood that the Buddha's teachings are superior to those of the other two. It was only Ju-ching, my late master, who understood this fact and proclaimed it ceaselessly day and night.29

Ju-ching, it should be noted, also refused both an honorary purple robe and the title "Ch'an Master" from Emperor Ning-tsung. Further, in the context of explaining the differences between Buddhism and Confucianism, Dogen characterized Confucianism as "merely teach[ing] loyal service to the emperor and filial piety, the latter seen as a method of regulating one's household [italics mine]"30

This syncretism on the part of nearly all Ch'an masters meant that Ch'an, like the rest of Chinese Buddhism, internalized Confucian values, including emphasis on a hierarchical social structure with the emperor at the pinnacle of the social pyramid. Confucians argued that such a configuration would produce social harmony when everyone knew their place in society and faithfully followed the dictates of their superiors.


Although based more on rhetoric than actual historical practice, Ch'an has a reputation for iconoclasm, dismissing, as it does, the need for scholastic study of Buddhist texts and dependence on Buddhist images and rituals. Coupled with Ch' an's emphasis on productive labor, this led, at least initially, to a certain degree of independence from, if not indifference to, the emperor and the imperial state. For example, consider Hui-neng, traditionally seen as the pivotal Sixth Patriarch of the Southern school of Ch'an. Although there are conflicting accounts of his life, the Special Transmission of the Great Master from Ts'ao-ch'i presents this master as being so unconcerned with worldly fame that he refused an invitation from the emperor to visit the imperial court. Notwithstanding this, the emperor still presented him with gifts, one of which was, significantly, a new name for his former residence, that is, Kuo-en-ssu (Temple to Repay the Debt of Gratitude Owed the State).

Hui-neng's disciple Shen-hui (684-758), however, maintained a much closer, if sometimes strained, relationship with the imperial court. Heinrich Dumoulin noted that Shen-hui first took up residence in Nan-yang, not far south of the imperial capital of Lo-yang, in 720 in obedience to an imperial decree. In 745, Shen-hui moved to a temple in Lo-yang, where large crowds were drawn to hear his exposition of Ch'an teachings. This led to charges, perhaps incited by his Northern Ch'an rivals, that he was fomenting social unrest, resulting in his banishment from the capital for three years (753-56).

In 755 when a major rebellion broke out in the northeastern part of the country, Shen-hui was recalled to the capital as a fundraiser for the imperial military. Offering his contributors exemption from both monetary taxation and the requirement to participate in yearly, government-sponsored labor battalions, Shen-hui proved an exemplary fundraiser, and the rebellion was suppressed. The emperor gratefully showered Shen-hui with honors, ensuring that his last days were spent "basking in the graces of the powers that be."31

In light of this and similar episodes, it is clear that Ch'an leaders also willingly served the state's needs, in war as well as peace. In fact, when the Soto and Rinzai sects raised funds to buy fighter aircraft for the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s, they were following a Ch'an and Zen precedent with a history of nearly 1,200 years! As for Shen-hui, he continued to be honored even after his death, and in 796 was formally recognized as the Seventh Patriarch, also by virtue of an imperial decree.32 Inasmuch as Shen-hui had been an untiring advocate of the Southern Ch'an school and its doctrine of sudden enlightenment, this imperial recognition was destined to have a major impact on subsequent Ch'an history.

Shen-hui was but one figure in the long-term decline of the Buddhist tradition of nonviolence. Consider the following poem in a sixth-century treatise from the Hsin-hsin Ming by the Third Ch'an Patriarch, Seng-ts'an (d. 606):

Be not concerned with right and wrong
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind)3

Further, French scholar Paul Demieville pointed out that according to the seventh-century Ch' an text "Treatise on Absolute Contemplation," killing is evil only in the event the killer fails to recognize his victim as empty and dream-like. On the contrary, if one no longer sees his opponent as a "living being" separate from emptiness, then he is free to kill him.34 This antinomian license to kill with moral impunity is the most dangerous, and deadly, of Ch'an's many "insights."

This said, Ch'an's abandonment of Buddhist morality did not go unnoticed or unchallenged. As early as the eighth century, the famous writer Liang Su (753-93) criticized the Ch'an school as follows:

Nowadays, few men have true faith. Those who travel the path of Ch'an go so far as to teach the people that there is neither Buddha nor Dharma, and that neither good nor evil has any significance ... Such ideas are accepted as great truths that sound so pleasing to the ear. And the people are attracted to them just as moths in the night are drawn to their burning death by the candle light [italics mine].35

In reading this critique, one is tempted to believe that Liang was also a prophet able to foresee the deaths over a thousand years later of millions of young Japanese men who were drawn to their own deaths by the Zen-inspired "light" of Bushido. All the more, the millions of innocent men, women, and children who burned with (or because of) them, and who must never be forgotten.

By the Sung dynasty (960-1279), Ch'an monasteries not only maintained friendly relations with the imperial court but had become involved in political affairs as well.36 Emperors granted noted Ch'an masters purple robes and honorific titles such as "Ch'an Master of the Buddha Fruit" or "Ch'an Master of Full Enlightenment." Inevitably, however, imperial favors brought with them increased state control. One result was the establishment of the system of "Five Mountains [i.e., major monasteries] and Ten Temples." In the spirit of Confucian hierarchy, Ch'an temples were classified and ranked, those at the top being blessed with imperial favors. In this case, all of the privileged temples belonged to the Yang-ch'i line of the Linchi (J. Rinzai) school.

Among other things, Ch'an temples operating under imperial patronage were expected to pray for the emperor and the prosperity of the state. In describing this system, Yanagida Seizan wrote:

Given the danger of foreign invasion from the north, Buddhism was used to promote the idea of the state and its people among the general populace .... Inevitably, the Ch'an priests residing in these government temples in accordance with imperial decree gradually linked the content of their teaching to the goals of the state. This is not unconnected to the fact that Zen temples [in Japan] in the Kamakura and Tokugawa periods had ... a nationalistic character in line with the traditional consciousness of the Chinese Ch'an school that advocated the spread of Ch' an in order to protect the nation.37

The succeeding Yuan period (c. 1280-1368) would bring even greater state control of Ch' an and other temples and monasteries. Gradually however, the syncretic tendencies already at work within Buddhism grew ever stronger until by the Ming period (c. 1368-1644) all Chinese Buddhist schools and sects fused into a loose amalgamation of the Ch'an and Pure Land schools. This brought the story of a distinct Ch'an school or movement to an end.

Preliminary Conclusion

In light of this discussion, I would like to make three additional points. First, while Ch'an's iconoclastic tendencies and economic self-reliance may have initially enabled it to maintain a certain distance from the state, over the long term there was a spiritual price for this freedom. That is to say, paralleling a heavy emphasis on the practice of meditation (J. zazen), intellectual stimulation from such activities as lively discussions on points of doctrine were strongly discouraged by Ch'an masters, who insisted on intuitive comprehension and lightning-quick responses within an overall framework of anti-textualism and anti-scholasticism. To some extent, this can be seen as Ch' an's internalization of such Taoist values as spontaneity, originality, paradoxy, innate naturalness, and the ineffability of Truth.38

I am not suggesting that the strong emphasis on meditation or Taoist-influenced values was necessarily "un-Buddhist," but as Kenneth Ch'en pointed out:

The strength and vigor of Buddhism rested on the principle of equal emphasis on all three aspects of the Buddhist discipline -- moral conduct, [meditative] concentration, and wisdom. Special attention to one, to the neglect of the other two, would certainly result in the deterioration of the Dharma.39

The reader will recall that Hakamaya Noriaki also raised a related criticism of Japanese Zen when he said, "True Buddhists must draw a sharp distinction between Buddhist teachings and anti-Buddhist teachings, using both intellect and language to denounce the latter [italics mine]."

My second point is closely connected with the first. I refer to what might be called a "violence-condoning atmosphere" fostered as one dimension of Ch'an's iconoclastic attitude. Historically, this atmosphere began as early as the second patriarch, Hui-k'o (c. 484-590), who, tradition states, cut off his left arm at the elbow to show how fervently he wished to become a disciple of Bodhidharma, the legendary fifth-century Indian founder of the Ch'an school in China. T'ang Ch'an Master Chu-chih is also recorded as having cut off his disciple's finger with a knife after discovering that the latter had been imitating his "one finger Ch'an" (though in doing so, Chu-chih allegedly precipitated the disciple's enlightenment).

Less dramatic, though far more widespread, was the Ch'an use of such training methods as physical blows from both fists and staffs, together with thundering shouts. Lin-chi I-hsuan (d. 866), founder of the Lin-chi school, is the preeminent example of such a "rough and tumble" master. It was this master who taught his disciples:

Followers of the Way, if you wish to have a viewpoint that is in accord with the Dharma, it is only [necessary] that you not be beguiled by others. Whether you meet them within or without, kill them right away! When you meet the Buddha, kill him. When you meet a patriarch, kill him. When you meet an Arhat [enlightened person], kill him. When you meet parents, kill them. When you meet relatives, kill them. Thus you will begin to attain liberation. You will be unattached and be able to pass in and out [of any place] and become free.40

I do not suggest there is a direct link between Ch'an's physical and verbal violence and the later emergence of Zen's support for Japanese militarism. All of the examples given above have legitimate didactic purposes within the Ch'an and Zen tradition. For example, in Lin-chi's oft-misunderstood admonition quoted above, the "killing" referred to is that of detaching oneself from dependency on authority figures, whether they be people or ideas, in order to achieve genuine spiritual liberation. It might be called a dramatic restatement of Buddha Shakyamuni's own final instructions to his disciples:

You must be lamps unto yourselves. You must rely on yourselves and on no one else. You must make the Dharma your light and your support and rely on nothing else.41

Lin-chi's statement, like that of Shakyamuni, is basically anti-authoritarian in that it aims to free the trainee from dependence on anyone or anything outside of his own mind and apart from his own direct experience of the Dharma. Nevertheless, Ch'an's verbal and physical violence, didactic though it be, lent itself to misuse and abuse by later practitioners, especially in Japan. It provided the link that facilitated the connection made between Zen and the sword in feudal Japan, and in turn, between Zen and total war in modern Japan. Note too, that it was Ch'an Master Kuei-shan Ling-yu (771-853) who first referred to the interplay between action and silence in Ch'an as "sword-play."42 Lin-chi was also fond of referring to "swords" and "sword-blades:' but the reference was to the "sword of wisdom:' a common Buddhist metaphor referring to wisdom that can "cut through" (i.e., eliminate) all discriminating thought and conceptualization, not human flesh!

D. T. Suzuki's application of the Zen phrase "the sword that gives life" (J. katsujin-ken) to the modern battlefield is a particularly pernicious example of the abuse of Zen terminology. This phrase together with its twin, that is, "the sword that kills" (J. satsujin-to), is found in the famous Sung dynasty collection of one hundred Zen koans known as the Blue Cliff Record. In introducing the twelfth koan of the collection, Ch'an master Yuan Wu K'e Ch'in (1063-1135) wrote:

The sword that kills people and the sword that gives life to people is an ancient custom that is also important for today. If you talk of killing, not a single hair is harmed. If you talk of giving life, body and life are lost [italics mine].43

Although phrased paradoxically, it is obvious that the above does not refer to anyone's physical death. Rather, Yuan Wu, once again using the sword as a metaphor for Buddhist wisdom, dramatically restates the classical Zen (and Buddhist) position that the destruction (i.e., the "killing") of the illusory self does not result in the least injury to the true self (hence, "not a single hair is harmed"). Or, expressed in reverse order, "giving life" to the true self inevitably involves the destruction of the illusory self (hence, "body and life are lost"). Thus, whichever sword is spoken of, no one physically dies!

One can only marvel at the fact that the transference of these terms to the real battlefield by later generations, Suzuki and his ilk included, has for so long escaped criticism and condemnation. At least part of the responsibility for this must be laid at the feet of those Ch'an pioneers, like Lin-chi, who chose to incorporate "life-giving" blows and shouts, coupled with a vocabulary of violence, into their instructional regimen. In the hands of lesser men (especially those aided and abetted by the state) these methods became, as has been seen, lethal in the extreme.

Finally, I would point out that the subordination of the Buddha Dharma to the state continues to exert a significant impact on Chinese Buddhism to this very day. In his book Buddhism under Mao, Holmes Welch noted that in 1951-52, Chinese Buddhists raised money for a fighter aircraft named Chinese Buddhist to be used against UN (mainly American) forces in the Korean War. In justifying Buddhist support for the Chinese government's policy of military intervention, a Buddhist leader named Hsin-tao addressed a meeting of Nan-ch'ang Buddhists as follows:

We know that the People's Government absolutely guarantees the freedom of religious belief. We Buddhists must unite as quickly as possible and, with the followers of other religions, completely support the Chinese Volunteer Army and the Korean People's Army. The best thing is to be able to join the army directly and to learn the spirit in which Shakyamuni, as the embodiment of compassion and our guide to Buddhahood, killed robbers to save the people and suffered hardship on behalf of all living creatures. To wipe out the American imperialist demons who are breaking world peace is, according to Buddhist doctrine, not only blameless but actually gives rise to merit [italics mine].44

Once again, America and its allies were fighting "Buddhism:' if not necessarily at sea, then at least on the ground and in the air. Once again, Buddhists themselves took up arms, out of a spirit of compassion, to fight the American "demons:' As in wartime Japan, scriptural justification was also used in the Buddhist campaign to raise funds for weapons. Chu-tsan, another Buddhist leader wrote,

The [Mahaparilnirvana Sutra advocates wielding the spear and starting battle. Therefore there is nothing contrary to Buddhist doctrine in a Buddhist responding to the appeal to contribute towards fighter planes, bombers, cannons and tanks.45

Ironically, when Tibetan monks revolted against the Communist Chinese Army's occupation of Tibet in 1959, they used the same scriptural evidence to justify their armed resistance.

The Chinese government's political use of Buddhism is by no means at an end, most especially in relation to Tibet. As recently as May 1996, the Chinese government donated a large memorial plaque to a Tibetan temple that read "Protect the State; Benefit the People."46 In doing this, the state (albeit communist) sought to portray itself once again as a patron of Buddhism, but on the same condition as always, that is to say, that Buddhism agree to protect the state. In this instance there was an added "Tibetan twist" to the state's munificence, for clearly Tibetan Buddhists were also expected to protect the unity of the state from those alleged "splittists" (like the Dalai Lama and his supporters) who continued to seek some form of Tibetan autonomy.

In Taiwan, on the other hand, the Nationalist Chinese government has supported Buddhism far more strongly, receiving in return Buddhist leaders' endorsement of that government's longstanding dream to militarily retake the mainland. In light of this, it is not surprising to learn that Taiwanese monks share the same attitude toward Buddhist-endorsed violence as their mainland brethren. One such monk, a disciple of the modern Buddhist reformer T'ai-hsu (1890-1947), said,

According to the Mahayana it is guiltless to kill from compassion. If I kill you, the objective is not to kill you, but to save you, because if I do not kill you, you will kill a great many other people, thus causing great suffering and incurring great guilt. By killing you, I prevent you from doing this, so that I can save both you and them. To kill people from compassion in such a way is not wrongdoing.47

There was, of course, one difference between the refugee monks on Taiwan and in Hong Kong and those on the mainland: the former wished Buddhist-condoned violence to be used against the Communists, instead of on their behalf. As always, the one constant is that the Law of the Sovereign, or in other words, the state and its rulers, is supreme!

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Part 2 of 2


Prince Shotoku and the Introduction of Buddhism to Japan

In his History of Japanese Religion, Anesaki Masaharu noted that the Buddha Dharma was closely identified with the state and its interests from its first introduction into Japan from Korea in the sixth century. He wrote, ''A close alliance was established between the throne and the [Buddhist] religion, since the consolidation of the nation under the sovereignty of the ruler was greatly supported by the fidelity of the imported religion to the government."48

This development was far from being uniquely Japanese. On the contrary, it was only a replication of the relationship between Buddhism and the state that already existed on the Korean peninsula. As S. Keel pointed out,

Buddhism [in Korea] was available as the politico-religious ideology which would serve the cause of building a powerful centralized state with a sacred royal authority .... [It] was understood primarily as the state-protecting religion, hoguk pulgyo [J. gokoku Bukkyo] not as the supra-mundane truth of salvation for individuals.49

The subservience of Buddhism to the state in Japan was nothing more than a copy of its Korean counterpart that, in turn, differed little from its Chinese antecedent. In fact, when Emperor Wen had hundreds of stupas built throughout China at the start of the seventh century, envoys from the three Korean kingdoms of Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla requested, and received, relics to take back to their own countries. Prince Shotoku was also greatly impressed by this display of imperial support for Buddhism.50

In Japan, the Sangha's subservience to the state is made clear in the so-called Seventeen Article Constitution of 604, traditionally ascribed to Prince Shotoku. In article 2 of the constitution, Shotoku called on his subjects to "faithfully respect the 'Three Treasures,' i.e., the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha." However, in article 3, he wrote:

Respect the Imperial commands. The ruler is analogous to heaven, the subjects to the earth. The heaven covers the earth, and the earth supports heaven; if the four seasons pass smoothly, everything functions well. But if the earth tries to dominate heaven, it crumbles into powder. For this reason heaven commands and the earth receives, and for the same reason the ruler commands and the subjects obey. Therefore, every subject should respect the Imperial commands, if not there will be confusion [italics mine].51

Although a number of distinctly separate Buddhist sects would later develop in Japan, the one thing they always agreed on was that "the ruler commands and subjects obey." It may be argued that given the fragile nature of Shotoku's only recently unified central government, his emphasis on the supremacy of the ruler was necessary. Thus, it may also be argued that Buddhism made a positive contribution to the subsequent development of Japanese civilization by providing the newly formed state with a highly moral unifying ideology that transcended the clan divisions (and clan deities) of Shotoku's day. What cannot be disputed, however, is that this emphasis on the supremacy of the ruler also set the stage for the historical subservience of Buddhism to the Japanese state.

The Japanese ruler who made the most blatant political use of the Buddha Dharma was probably Emperor Shomu, whose reign lasted from 724 to 748. He focused on the teachings of the Avatamsaka Sutra, particularly its doctrine of a central celestial, or cosmic, Buddha (i.e., Mahavairocana) surrounded by an infinite number of Bodhisattvas. Mahavairocana's mind was believed to pervade all of reality and to be present in all things, the latter being ranked in harmonious interdependence.

With this imagery in mind, Emperor Shomu built the giant central cathedral of Todaiji in Nara and enshrined there a sixteen-meter-high statue of Mahavairocana (J. Dainichi). As Anesaki described it, this cathedral "was to be a symbolic display of the Buddhist ideal of universal spiritual communion centered in the person of the Buddha, parallel to the political unity of national life centered in the monarch:'52 Devotion and loyalty to this Buddha became synonymous with the same virtues directed toward the person of the emperor and the state that he embodied. The use of Mahavairocana had the added benefit that as a celestial or Sun Buddha, the Mahavairocana also provided a symbolic link to the indigenous Shinto Sun goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, the mythical progenitor of the imperial house.

The State and Zen Masters Eisai and Dagen

In order to discuss the relationship of Eisai (1141-1215) and Dagen (1200-1253) to the state, it is necessary to start with a brief description of the political situation at the beginning of the Kamakura period (1185-1333). This can be summarized in one word, turbulent. On the one hand, there was a power struggle between the traditional nobility, including the emperor, and an increasingly more powerful warrior class. Due to the nobility's own decadence, this struggle was one it was bound to lose, though the emperor would be retained as an important national symbol, albeit with increasingly limited powers.

The nobility's decadence was matched by that of the competing monastic institutions, which by then had accumulated large, tax-free estates defended by monk-soldiers (sahei). Holmes Welch alluded to this situation when he noted, "In China fighting monks were rare; in Japan they became a national institution."53 One caveat to this, however, is that many, if not most, of these monk-soldiers were in the nature of a hired mercenary force doing the bidding of their clerical masters, many of whom were court nobles themselves.

In any event, it was not unusual for major Buddhist monasteries to use their standing armies not only in power struggles with rival Buddhist institutions, but to press their demands on the government itself. The government, that is, the nobility, had no choice but to turn to the warrior class for protection, thus hastening the demise of its own political power. What power the reigning emperor had left was often exercised by a former emperor who had ostensibly retired to become a Buddhist monk but who continued to exercise power from behind monastic walls.

With the establishment of the Kamakura Shogunate (military government) in 1192, real political power came to be exercised by the leaders of the warrior class. Though there would be many internal upheavals, betrayals, and battles along the way, it was this class that continued to hold power through the Meiji Restoration of 1868. And it was to this class that the straightforward, vigorous, and austere doctrines and practice of Zen appealed. In addition, Zen had the advantage of being a direct import from China, thereby offering the new government an opportunity to escape the embrace of the large, nobility- dominated monastic institutions in the Kyoto area.

The Rinzai Zen sect introduced by Eisai would find greater acceptance in the new and former political power centers of Kamakura and Kyoto respectively. In fact, thanks to its powerful benefactors in these two centers, the Rinzai Zen sect would itself become a major landholder by the Muromachi period (1333-1573). Dagen's Soto Zen, on the other hand, found its major benefactors among provincial warrior lords. It was for this reason that the popular designations Rinzai Shogun (Rinzai of the Shogun) and Soto Domin (Soto of the Peasants) came to characterize the difference in social status of the two Zen sects.

With this background in mind, we can now examine Eisai's and Dagen's attitudes to the state. In his famous treatise Kazen Gokoku-ron (A Treatise on Protecting the Nation by Spreading Zen), Eisai argued that it was through the universal adoption of Zen teachings that the nation could be protected. In identifying Zen with the state, Eisai had an immediate concern in mind, that is, the need to seek state assistance in overcoming the strong opposition of other monastic institutions-especially the Tendai sect headquartered on Mount Hiei-to the introduction of new and competing sects into Japan.

Eisai's appeal did eventually succeed, with the result that the Kamakura Shogunate had the temple of Jufukuji built for him in Kamakura in 1200, and two years later the emperor had the temple of Kenninji built for him in Kyoto. However, this victory was tempered by the fact that the emperor also ordered him to erect shrines within Kenninji honoring both the Tendai and esoteric Shingon sects. In this connection, it is noteworthy that toward the end of his life, Eisai focused more and more on the conduct of esoteric rituals associated with the Tendai sect embodying, as they did, the promise of immediate, "this-worldly" benefits for his benefactors.

In the following years, the Rinzai Zen sect's connection to, and patronage by, the state would grow only stronger. To give but one example, the famous Rinzai master Muso Soseki (1275-1351) successfully sought Shogunal patronage to have one Ankokuji (Temple to Pacify the State) built in each of Japan's sixty-six regions and two islands. Muso himself was rewarded for his efforts by having the unique title of State Teacher (Kokushi) bestowed on him by no less than seven successive emperors.

On the Soto Zen side, Dagen designated the first temple he established in Japan upon his return from China as Kosho-gokokuji (Temple to Protect the State by Propagating the Holy Practice). Dagen also wrote a treatise titled Gokoku-shobogi (The Method of Protecting the State by the True Dharma). Although the contents of this latter treatise are no longer extant, its title, and Dagen's other writings on the same topic, suggests a similar position to that of Eisai (and probably for the same reason). For example, in the Bendowa section of his masterwork, the Shobogenzo (Treasury of the Essence of the True Dharma), Dagen wrote, "When the true Way is widely practiced in the nation, the various Buddhas and heavenly deities will continuously protect it, and the virtue of the emperor will exert a good influence on the people, thereby bringing peace,"54

Dogen, unlike Eisai, did not conduct esoteric rituals seeking worldly benefits, but this did not stop those who followed in his footsteps from introducing a similar element into Soto Zen. Even Zen practice, especially the practice of zazen, came to take on supposedly magical powers. As William Bodiford noted:

For powerful warrior patrons who prayed for military victories [italics mine] and economic prosperity, the purity of [Soto] monks ensured the efficacy of simple religious prayers (kito). For local villagers who expected the Zen masters to pacify evil spirits, summon rain, or empower talismans, the meditative powers (zenjoriki) of the monks energized simple folk magic.55

The chief abbots of Soto Zen head temples also quickly acceded to the custom of receiving the title of Zen master (Zenji) from the emperor, though it must be admitted that Dagen had himself accepted the gift of a purple robe from retired Emperor Gosaga (1220-72). Dagen did, however, refuse to accept it the first two times it was offered, and tradition states that he never wore the robe even after finally accepting it. The following poem, attributed to Dagen, is thought to express his sentiments in this regard:

Though the valley below Eiheiji is not deep,
I am profoundly honored to receive the emperor's command.
But I would be laughed at by monkeys and cranes
If I, a mere old man, were to wear this purple robe.56

During the Kamakura period, the same hierarchically ranked system of Five Mountains and Ten Temples (J. Gozan Jissetsu) was introduced into the Japanese Rinzai Zen sect as the system had been first established in China. By the Muromachi period there would be two such systems, one in Kyoto (which was superior in rank) and the second in Kamakura. As in China, however, the government expected something in return for its patronage. For example, Zen monks, with their knowledge of Chinese, were sent on diplomatic and commercial missions to China. They were also used to suppress unruly elements among the populace. In short, as Dumoulin noted, "The organization of the gozan temples of the Rinzai sect made immeasurable contributions to the political, social, and economic power of the state apparatus."57

Development of "Samurai Zen"

The reader will recall earlier discussions by D. T. Suzuki and others of how Shogun Hojo Tokimune (1251-84) sought strength from Zen to deal with the threat of a second Mongol invasion. Tokimune went for guidance to his spiritual mentor, Chinese Zen Master Sogen (Ch. Tsu-yiian, 1226-86), shortly before the expected invasion in 1281.

When Tokimune said, "The greatest event of my life is here at last," the master asked, "How will you face it?" Tokimune replied by merely shouting the exclamatory word Katsu! as though he were frightening all of his enemies into submission. Pleased with this show of courage, Sogen indicated his approval of Tokimune's answer by saying, "Truly, a lion's child roars like a lion."

A similar though somewhat lesser-known incident is recorded as having occurred at the time of the first Mongol invasion in 1274. This one involved a second Chinese Zen master by the name of Daikyu Shanen (Ch. Ta-hsui Cheng-nien, 1214-89). At the time, Daikyu directed Tokimune to solve the koan concerning Chao-chou (J. Jashu, 778-897) on whether or not a dog has the Buddha nature. Chao-chou's famous answer was Mu (literally, "nil" or "naught"). Tokimune is said to have solved this koan, "thereby releasing his mind to deal calmly with the grave issues of war and peace."58

Collectively, these two incidents appear to be the earliest indications of the unity of Zen and the sword in Japan, though it is noteworthy that neither of them involved Japanese Zen masters. That is to say, it was Chinese Zen masters who introduced the idea of the efficacy of Zen training in warfare, or at least in developing the right mental attitude for it. Both Daikyu and Sogen, themselves refugees from the Mongol conquest of China, were acting on the basis of a long Chinese tradition of Buddhist service to the state and the needs of its rulers.

Unlike China with its long history of government by civil administrators- that is, "Mandarins"-Japan, from the Kamakura period onward, was ruled by a warrior class composed of a Shogun (generalissimo) at the top, lesser feudal lords (daimyo) , and the samurai armies they commanded. These early warriors, however, were a far cry from the Bushido-inspired ideal of the Tokugawa period. Instead, as Hee-jin Kim noted, they were "greedy, predatory, ruthlessly calculating, a strict business dealing with little or no sense of absolute loyalty and sacrifice."59 If Japan were ever to become and remain a unified nation at peace (albeit under warrior control), a code like Bushido had to arise and be relentlessly drilled into the heads of otherwise self-seeking warriors!

And who better to do the "drilling into" than Confucian-influenced Zen monks with their ethical system that emphasized unquestioning, self-less loyalty to one's superiors? A letter written by the famous Zen master Takuan (1573-1645) clearly reveals what Zen had to offer the samurai. The letter shows how the mind that has transcended discriminating thought, technically known in Zen as "no-mind" (mushin), can be identified with martial prowess, particularly in the use of the sword. Addressing the famous swordsman Yagyu Tajima no Kami Munenori (1571-1646), Takuan wrote:

"No-mind" applies to all activities we may perform, such as dancing, as it does to swordplay. The dancer takes up the fan and begins to stamp his feet. If he has any idea at all of displaying his art well, he ceases to be a good dancer, for his mind "stops" with every movement he goes through. In all things, it is important to forget your "mind" and become one with the work at hand.

When we tie a cat, being afraid of its catching a bird, it keeps on struggling for freedom. But train the cat so that it would not mind the presence of a bird. The animal is now free and can go anywhere it likes. In a similar way, when the mind is tied up, it feels inhibited in every move it makes, and nothing will be accomplished with any sense of spontaneity. Not only that, the work itself will be of a poor quality, or it may not be finished at all. Therefore, do not get your mind "stopped" with the sword you raise; forget what you are doing, and strike the enemy [italics mine].60

Takuan also placed stress on the warrior's acquisition of "immovable wisdom" (J. fudochi). He viewed this not as a static concept or the absence of movement but, on the contrary, as the immovable ground in which existed the potential for movement in all directions. For this reason, it was as applicable to the swordfighter's art as it was to the life of the Zen priest. "When the mind freely moves forwards and backwards, to the left and to the right, in the four and eight directions, if it clings to nothing, this is 'immovable wisdom."'61

In Fudo Mya-o (Skt. Acala-vidya-raja), the fierce-looking Hindu god introduced into Zen via esoteric Buddhism, Takuan saw the incarnation of his ideal of immovable wisdom. He described this figure as follows:

Fuda Mya-o holds a sword in his right hand and a rope in his left. His lips are rolled back revealing his teeth, and his eyes are full of anger. He thrusts violently at all evil demons who interfere with the Buddha Dharma, forcing them to surrender. He is universally present as a figure who protects the Buddha Dharma. He reveals himself to people as the embodiment of immovable wisdom.62

Although in Buddhism, Fudo's sword was originally a symbol of "cutting through" one's own desire and illusion, Takuan succeeded in transmuting this figure into a slayer of "evil demons who interfere with the Buddha Dharma," as well as into the embodiment of the swordsman's ideal of "immovable wisdom."  In a short work titled Taia-ki (History of the Sword), Takuan also discussed the dual nature of the sword. He emphasized the "total freedom" of the Zen-trained swordsman "to give life or to kill."63 Takuan further advocated the absolute necessity for the warrior to sacrifice his self in the process of acquiring this freedom.

In light of the above, it is hardly surprising that Takuan also had something to say about the ever-present, overriding virtue of loyalty. To the Mysteries of Immovable Wisdom (Fudochi Shinmyo-roku) quoted above, Takuan added:

To be totally loyal means first of all to rectify your mind, discipline your body, and be without the least duplicity toward your lord. You must not hate or criticize others, nor fail to perform your daily duties .... If the spirit in which the military arts are practiced is correct, you will enjoy freedom of movement, and though thousands of the enemy appear, you will be able to force them to submit with only one sword. This is [the meaning of] great loyalty.64

As one of the greatest Zen masters of the Tokugawa period, Takuan's thought, including his emphasis on complete and selfless devotion to one's lord-would have a deep and lasting effect on his and later times.

Takuan was by no means the only Tokugawa Zen figure to interpret Zen in this manner. The same emphasis can also be seen in the teachings of Zen monk Suzuki Shosan (1579-1655). Shosan, born into a samurai family in the old province of Mikawa (present-day Aichi prefecture), originally fought on behalf of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616), founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, at the major battle of Sekigahara in 1600, and at the sieges of Osaka Castle in 1614 and 1615. In 1621, after a period of guard duty at Osaka Castle, Shosan determined to enter the Zen priesthood and is thought to have been ordained by Rinzai master Daigu (1583-1668). His Rinzai ordination notwithstanding, Shosan went on to become a vigorous champion of the Soto sect, though he was never formally affiliated with it. 65

Like Takuan, Shosan taught that selflessness was the critical element of both true service and true freedom. It was only in overcoming the fear of death that true selflessness could be realized. In addressing samurai, Shosan urged them to practice tokinokoe zazen, that is, zazen in the midst of war cries. As the following quotation reveals, Shosan maintained that meditation that could not be applied to the battlefield was useless:

It's best to practice zazen from the start amid hustle and bustle. A warrior, in particular, absolutely must practice a zazen that works amid war cries. Gunfire crackles, spears clash down the line, a roar goes up and the fray is on: and that's where, firmly disposed, he puts meditation into action. At a time like that, what use could he have for a zazen that prefers quiet? However fond of Buddhism a warrior may be, he'd better throw it out if it doesn't work amid war cries.66

In terms of the subsequent development of "soldier-Zen" previously introduced in this book, it is also significant that Shosan clearly articulated the unity of samadhi power and the military arts. Shosan stated,

It's with the energy of Zen samadhi that all the arts are executed. The military arts in particular can't be executed with a slack mind. ... This energy of Zen samadhi is everything. The man of arms, however, is in Zen samadhi while he applies his skill. 67

As the phrase "all the arts" suggests, Shosan's admonitions were not reserved for warriors alone. In fact, Shosan insisted that the truth of Buddhism was to be found in any form of work or activity whatsoever. As the following passage makes clear, he believed that work itself could be equated with religious practice:

You must work in extremes of heat and cold-work with all your heart and soul. When you toil, your heart is at peace. In this way you are always engaged in Buddhist practice .... Every kind of work is Buddhist practice. Through work we can attain Buddhahood. There is no occupation that is not Buddhist.68

In his religious affirmation of the value of all forms of work, Shosan has come to be viewed in modern Japan as one of the major contributors to the development of a Japanese work ethic. While this may be true, as a Zen monk Shosan, like Takuan, also laid the foundations of not only "soldier Zen" but "corporate Zen" as well. And it must not be forgotten that in a classic work on Bushido titled Hagakure, Shosan is quoted as having said, "What is there in the world purer than renouncing one's own life for the sake of one's lord?"69

And speaking of the Hagakure, the reader will recall an earlier reference to this same work made by D. T. Suzuki. It was this work "that was very much that the government found unacceptable. More controversially, they aided in the maintenance and reinforcement of the traditional social discrimination that existed in Japanese society against so-called outcastes (burakumin). Although its members were physically indistinguishable from other Japanese, this pariah group had long been forced to live in separate villages and engage in what were considered lowly, if not "unclean" trades such as animal butchery, leather working, and refuse collection.

In a study done in 1989, Tomonaga Kenzo found that the Soto Zen sect had been one of the leading sects promoting social discrimination not only during the Tokugawa period but right up through the 1980s. Popular Soto sermons commonly included references to the Ten Fates Preached by the Buddha (Bussetsu Jurai). These "fates" included:

Short life-spans resulting from butchering animals.
Ugliness and sickness resulting from ritual impurities.
Poverty and desperation resulting from miserly thoughts.
Being crippled and blind as coming from violating the Buddhist precepts [italics mine].74

Further doctrinal support for social discrimination came from the highly esteemed Mahayana work, the Lotus Sutra. Specifically, in chapter 28 we are informed that anyone slandering this scripture or those who uphold it will be stricken with blindness, leprosy, missing teeth, ugly lips, flat noses, crooked limbs, tuberculosis, evil tumors, stinking and dirty bodies, and more "for life after life [italics mine]."75 Not only Soto Zen, but all of Tokugawa Buddhism engaged in the classic ruse of blaming the victims for their misfortunes. Thus, not only outcastes, but the sick and disabled as well were afflicted in their present lives as karmic retribution for the evil acts of their past lives. That is to say, they had it coming!

And this discrimination did not stop with their death, for Tomonaga discovered that 5,649 Soto temples (out of nearly 15,000) as late as 1983 maintained records indicating which families were or were not descended from outcastes, and that 1,911 temples identified such families on their tombstones. Such post-death discrimination has very real consequences for the descendants of outcastes who seek employment or hope to marry the son or daughter of a "good family." In these situations, at least until recently, many temples would cooperate with private investigators who were regularly hired to check into a person's personal background.

Having read this, the reader may recall Uchiyama Gudo's struggle in the Meiji period against an interpretation of karma that provided a religious justification for both social discrimination and social privilege. The failure of his struggle then meant it would not be until 1974 that the Soto sect would express a willingness to consider its role in sustaining this type of discrimination. Significantly, the sect's willingness to examine this issue did not come from within but from without, that is to say, from demands made by social activists associated with the Outcaste Liberation League (Buraku Kaiho Domei). This led, in 1982, to the establishment of a Human Rights Division within the sect's administrative headquarters, some 110 years after the Meiji government had, at least on paper, emancipated the outcastes in an edict issued in 1872.

Although at first glance this issue may not seem to be directly relevant, to the question of (Zen) Buddhism and war, it is, in fact, quite relevant. If a society succeeds in identifying a sizable segment of its own people as being inferior to other citizens, justifying this on moral and religious grounds, then it is not difficult to identify other religions, ethnic groups, nations, and others as being even more inferior. In this book we have seen how this happened to Christians, Russians, Koreans, Chinese, and eventually to American and English "savages." In the same connection, it should be noted that as early as 1611, Soto Zen documents referred to outcastes as hinin, that is to say, "nonhumans."76

Needless to say, discrimination in its various guises is hardly limited to either Japan or Buddhism. Indeed, it can be found to a greater or lesser degree, at one time or another, in all cultures and major world religions. But this does not lessen the tragedy that in this instance it was found among the adherents of a religion whose founder, Buddha Shakyamuni, so clearly advocated the equality of all human beings irrespective of t.heir birth, lineage, occupation, and so forth. For Shakyamuni, there was only one acceptable standard for judging others: their words and actions.

It is also noteworthy that it was as a direct consequence of establishing the Soto sect's Division of Human Rights that the Soto headquarters issued its official war apology and, in 1993, reinstated Uchiyama Gudo's clerical status. Both of these issues were seen as further examples of this sect's abuse of human rights.

For more than two hundred and fifty years, Zen, and Japanese Buddhism in general, remained locked in the warm but debilitating embrace of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Interestingly, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) was brought up in a Jodo (Pure Land) sect-affiliated family. Ieyasu himself regularly recited the name of Buddha

[Page 224 and 225]

a ship, Shakyamuni discovers that there is a robber intent on killing all five hundred of his fellow passengers. Shakyamuni ultimately decides to kill the robber, not only for the sake of his fellow passengers but also to save the robber himself from the karmic consequences of his horrendous act. In Shakyamuni's so doing, the negative karma from. killing the robber should have accrued to Shakyamuni but it did not, for as he explained:

Good man, because I used ingenuity out of great compassion at that time, I was able to avoid the suffering of one hundred thousand kalpas of samsara [the ordinary world of form and desire) and that wicked man was reborn in heaven, a good plane of existence, after death [italics mine ).79

Here we see one justification for the idea so often quoted by wartime Japanese Buddhist leaders that it is morally right "to kill one in order that many may live" (J. issatsu tasho).

The Upaya-kaushalya is by no means the only Mahayana sutra that has been historically interpreted as in some sense excusing, if not actually sanctioning, violence. The Jen-wang-ching (Sutra on Benevolent Kings) also states that one can escape the karmic consequences arising from such acts as killing others by simply reciting the sutra.

It is noteworthy that this latter sutra is also closely connected with the protection of the state. Section 5 of the sutra is, in fact, titled exactly that: "Section on the Protection of the State:' This section claims to give Buddha Shakyamuni's detailed instructions to kings in order that they might ensure the protection of their kingdoms from both internal and external enemies. Armies, if needed, could be assembled and used with the assurance that the soldiers involved in the killing could later be totally absolved of the karmic consequences of their acts.

Although the above sutras provided a somewhat passive justification for Buddhist participation in warfare, this is not the case with the Sanskrit Mahaparinirvana Sutra, previously mentioned. In this sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni tells how he killed several Brahmins in a previous life in order to prevent them from slandering the Dharma. Once again, this is said to have been done out of compassion for the slain Brahmins, that is, to save them from the karmic consequences of their slander.

In a more aggressive vein, chapter 5 of the same sutra admonishes Mahayana followers to protect the Dharma at all costs, even if this means using weapons to do so and breaking the prohibition against taking life. This injunction is similar to that found in the Gandavyuha Sutra. Here, an Indian king by the name of Anala is singled out for praise because he is "said to have made killing into a divine service in order to reform people through punishment."80

In his seminal article "Le Bouddhisme et la guerre" (Buddhism and War), Demieville identified even further scriptural basis for Buddhist participation in killing and warfare. Demieville also pointed out the paradox that exists in this regard between the Southern Hinayana (i.e., Theravada) and Northern Mahayana schools: the Hinayana, which tends to condemn life, has remained strict in the prohibition of killing; but it is the Mahayana, which extols life, that has ended up by finding excuses for killing and even for its glorification.81


State-Protecting Buddhism

As we have already seen, Buddha Shakyamuni himself praised a republic as the ideal form of the state. Further, Indian Buddhism prior to Ashoka was also clearly suspicious of monarchs, placing them in the same category as robbers, for both were capable of endangering the people's welfare. In this regard, Uchiyama Gudo's identification of Japan's imperial ancestors as people who "kill[ed] and rob[bed] as they went" harkens back to Buddhism's earliest attitudes.

According to early Buddhist legends, a ruler was to be selected by election, not by birth or divine right. Such an election represented a social contract between the ruler and his subjects in which the former was responsible for protecting the country and seeing to it that good was rewarded and evil punished. The underlying attitude expressed in these legends is consistent with Buddha Shakyamuni's own praise of the Vajjian state, for it provided its inhabitants with a voice in their governance.

It is noteworthy that in spite of various Mahayana sutras to the contrary, Japan's leaders were both well aware of, and adamantly opposed to, this earliest Buddhist attitude toward the state. The Shinto-influenced writer, Kitabatake Chikafusa (1293-1354) wrote:

The Buddhist theory [of the state) is merely an Indian theory; Indian monarchs may have been the descendants of a monarch selected for the people's welfare, but Our Imperial Family is the only continuous and unending line of family descending from its Heavenly Ancestors. 82

Further, with regard to the Japanese nation, Kitabatake had this is say:

Our Great Nippon is a Divine Nation. Our Divine Ancestors founded it; the Sun Goddess let her descendents reign over it for a long time. This is unique to Our Nation; no other nation has the like of it. This is the reason why Our Nation is called "Divine Nation"!83

As this book has demonstrated, it was this Shinto-inspired attitude that was to find almost universal acceptance among Japanese Buddhists, especially among Zen masters. This said, it must also be recognized that the foundation for Buddhism's subservience to the state dates back to at least the time of King Ashoka in India, not to mention its even greater subservience in China and Korea. Unlike D. T. Suzuki's claim that Shinto alone was to blame for Japan's "excessive nationalism" in the modern era, the truth is that Shinto was no more than the proximate cause of a tendency in Buddhism that, by 1945, had been developing for more than two thousand years.

If historical developments in a religion may be judged according to their consistency with the avowed teachings of the founder of that religion, in this case, Buddha Shakyamuni, then the best scholarship to date strongly suggests that Buddhist subservience to the state is an accretion to the Buddha Dharma that not only does not belong to that body, but actively betrays it.

This is said knowing full well that had Buddhism remained faithful to its earliest teachings, it is quite possible that it would not have survived, let alone prospered, in those countries that adopted it. Its subsequent almost total disappearance from the land of its birth is but one indication of the dangers it faced. Yet, admitting this does not change one central fact: the historical phenomenon known as Nation-Protecting Buddhism (Gokoku-Bukkyo) represents the betrayal of the Buddha Dharma.

Samurai Zen

If Nation-Protecting Buddhism is a betrayal of the Buddha Dharma, it should come as no surprise that Samurai Zen is a particularly pernicious variation of the same aberration. What is perhaps surprising, however, is that confirmation of this assertion is contained in the Zen-inspired work already quoted extensively above, the Hagakure.

Returning to this work one last time, we find Jocho quoting a Zen master about whom D. T. Suzuki had nothing to say. This was the Zen priest Tannen (d. 1680), under whom Jocho himself had trained. What is so surprising about this priest is that Jocho quoted him as saying, "It is a great mistake for a young samurai to learn about Buddhism." Tannen then went on to say, "It is fine for old retired men to learn about Buddhism as a diversion."84

What was it about Buddhism that made it a fit religion for old samurai to study but not young ones? In a word, it was Buddhism's teaching of compassion. Tannen explained that the feelings of compassion prompted by Buddhism could interfere with the most essential characteristic of a samurai, that is, his courage: According to Tannen, if a young samurai studied Buddhism, "he [would] see things in two ways." That is to say, he would be torn between the courage needed to fulfill his duties toward his lord, and feelings of compassion for his victims. Hence, ''A person who does not set himself in just one direction will be of no value at all."85

In Tannen's eyes, a young samurai could ill afford to let compassion rule his conduct. Only an elderly samurai had that luxury. This is not to say, however, that a Buddhist priest had no need of courage as well as compassion. Still, a Buddhist priest's courage should be devoted to "things like kicking a man back from the dead, or pulling all living creatures out of hell." A Buddhist priest required courage to save dead or near-dead sentient beings. On the other hand, among warriors, "there are some cowards who advance Buddhism."86

In the end, Tannen attempted to resolve the conflict between courage and compassion by stating that priests and samurai had need of equal measures of both, though each of the parties should manifest them differently:

A monk cannot fulfill the Buddhist Way if he does not manifest compassion without and persistently store up courage within. And if a warrior does not manifest courage on the outside and hold enough compassion within his heart to burst his chest, he cannot become a retainer. Therefore, the monk pursues courage with the warrior as his model, and the warrior pursues the compassion of the monk.87

Leaving aside the appropriateness of the resolution of the conflict between courage and compassion for the moment, what is significant about the above is the recognition that there is any conflict at all between the teaching of Buddhist compassion and the courage expected of a samurai. In fact, the potential conflict between them is so severe that it is a "great mistake" for the f young samurai to even learn about Buddhism; for to do so is to be turned into a "coward."

As for the proposed all-embracing resolution of the conflict, it should be noted that the compassion of the warrior is to beheld "within his heart" and not acted upon. This corresponds to a very strong dichotomy manifested in Japanese society between duty (giri) to one's superiors and human feelings (ninja) of kindness and compassion toward others. In classical Japanese drama there can be no question, in the end, which of these conflicting values will prevail. That is to say, nothing can be allowed to interfere with the accomplishment of one's duty. Buddhism, therefore, may be studied safely only by "retired old men."

As with Nation-Protecting Buddhism, it can be cogently argued that Buddhism would not have survived in a warrior-dominated society without compromising its ethical code as expressed in the Holy Eightfold Path, especially its prohibitions against the taking of life, pursuing a career as a soldier, or even selling weapons. Once again however, this does not alter the fact that all of these acts endorsed by Samurai Zen are a violation of the fundamental teachings-of-Buddhism.

In particular, advocates of the unity of Zen and the sword such as Takuan, Shosan, and D. T. Suzuki have taken the very real power emanating from the concentrated state of mind arising out of Buddhist meditation, that is, samadhi power, and placed it in the service of men who can, in the final analysis, only be described as "hired killers." Especially when viewed in light of the innumerable atrocities perpetrated by 'the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific war, including the systematic, institutionalized killing and raping of civilians, D. T. Suzuki's statements that "the enemy appears and makes himself a victim;' or that "the swordsman turns into an artist of the first grade, engaged in producing a work of genuine originality," and so forth must be clearly and unequivocally recognized as desecrations of the Buddha Dharma. As we have amply seen, Suzuki was far from being the only one to say or write such things.

Experienced Zen practitioners know that the "no-mind" of Zen does in fact exist. Equally, they know that samadhi (i.e., meditative) power also exists. But they also know, or at least ought to know, that these things, in their original Buddhist formulation, had absolutely nothing to do with bringing harm to others. On the contrary, authentic Buddhist awakening is characterized by a combination of wisdom and compassion-identifying oneself with others and seeking to eliminate suffering in all its forms. Thus, the question must be asked, even though it cannot be answered in this book-How is the Zen school to be restored and reconnected to its Buddhist roots? Until this question is satisfactorily answered and acted upon, Zen's claim to be an authentic expression of the Buddha Dharma must remain in doubt.

-- Chapter 12: Was it Buddhism?, Zen at War, Second Edition, by Brian Daizen Victoria
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