I need to say goodbye to the Osho phase here where I attempted to describe a kind of ‘invultuation’ from an astral source. In the process a kind of enjoinder from beyond in an Osho melody asked for a short plug on his teaching to modern leftists. I am glad to do that, and I think his legacy is tailormade for a futurte left. But the way that might happen is not for me to say. I am not a spokesman for his teaching, which, btw, might be of interest to the floundering Tibetan buddhists. That’s important, so I must move out of the direct line. I often move on from Osho and turn a corner and he’s there.
As we have noted here, the real innovators here a in danger of being swamped by the decadent decline, yet domination of buddhism. But the santana dharma moves on it its own mysterious ways.
http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Wisdom/dp/B00B2MJAXS/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1393606533&sr=1-1&keywords=crazy+wisdom (avilable on Netfli
I have been critical of Chogyam Trungpa at this blog, with some protests, and it might help to explore the view some tried to post here in comments, defendng Trungpa’s behavior. This video demonstrates the way Trungpa interacted at the dawn of the movement in the US. I was, btw, present at the beginning.
It can help to yield a little to this perspective: Trungpa was trying to make a point and the ‘crazy wisdom’ legacy is one of its aspects.
I will persist in noting that a lineage can’t found itself with an alcoholic. It can’t work. The result is decadence and that is the message in may ways. A decadent movement in its last hurrah brings an ancient teaching to the West. Mission accomplished. What’s next? more decadence.
Tibetan buddhists more than most have tried to adapt to a modernist dramatics, but the result is never enough. Behind the scenes the same postmodern mood of historical nostalgia and antimodernism reaction plays itself out. The disk video gives it away: the Tibetans came to rescue a dark age of materialism. That’s the first mistep of so many postmodern reactionaries. It wouldn’t matter but it makes people miscalculate.
The new age effect is dangerous: even something as old and potent as buddhism is at risk. This movement has to get smart and be in motion to a true new age movement, and that requires some careful thought. But that is not likely to happen.
I have posted last week on the way thirty five years in the new age movement ended in nothing. That’s frustrating but it is also correct: I am free of the mechanical movement and have to try something new for the future.
We have discussed here the book Shadow of the Dalai Lama, and each time thought it unfair. It is a smear job in many ways, but it caught the point in one way that Tibetan buddhists feel empowered to overtake modernity in a kind of spiritual apotheosis. All the new age movements that plotted that course are doomed to run backwards, and collapse in dust.
Meanwhile the overdose of Hollywood celebrities shows the movement in its real decadence. Hollywood, like Bollywood, is the last garbage dump for fallen yogis, and now buddhist flameouts.
Stephen Segal looks, form various hints, as if the Tibetan group is trying to fight the war on Terror in their challenge to Islam as their rival in global domination. Bronx cheer.
There is a possible chance this form of buddhism can reinvent itself for a new era. But that requires some tricky thinking and daring new ideas. Spending a half century trying to graft medieval Tibetan politics onto modernity is a recipe for failure.
Meanwhile the book linked to needs to be re-researched. Much of its data and perspective is unfair. But the portrait of a movement that can’t accept the change of eras is direct.
The discussion of buddhism, Indian religion, and monotheism, has a lot of history to it, and the issue of ‘Shiva relgion’ in India is directly relevant:
It is interesting to consider the origins of buddhism here, although the portrait is of a much later version of what is the primordial tradition that is the source.
Reposted from darwiniana.com
I was very harsh on the Mahayana tradition of boddhissatwas, and a more positive history might be in order: this phase of buddhism has a great history, and tremendous accomplishments, but its obscurities make it hard to understand. Outsiders approaching buddhism should be wary of the arm twisting of beginners to make the great vow of the boddhissatwas at the start. Beginners should not take that vow. It is part of the problem of Tibetan buddhism: it is a small army of frustrated followers who can’t develop. That kind of Mahayana needs to be thrown out. It creates a following of frozen followers, and creepy hybrids like Chogyam Trungpa, whose psychological state as a buddhist is hopelessly confusing. It is an unhealthy form of religion. There is a hidden esoterism of unknown psychic and consciousness states as a substitute, in the propaganda of the top dogs in the lineage, and these become the refuge of despair, but the result is not enlightenment.
I don’t exactly know, but the path of Mahayana was born in the mind of Gautama very early as he saw the dilemma of lineages dying out so soon after the death of the buddha. Somehow, at some unknown point, on the basis of enlightenment already established, Gautama delayed the full completion of enlightenment beyond the physical body and the result is the remarkable second wind of the movement, at around the time of the onset of Xtianity, no coincidence, and the spread of buddhism into a vast expansion as a world religion. This was a first in the legacy of ‘buddha movements’ such as the preceding Jain lineage completed in Mahavir. There the age period prior to buddhism shew twenty four teertankers, at the rate of about one per century. With Gautama a new experiment began and the result was the source ‘ashram’ or sangha turned persistent over that subsequent age period to our era of modernity, but therefore with one buddha at the helm throughout, just as in Xtianity with the two millennia of domination by a single disembodied figure, Jesus Christ. There is a problem here. The Jain approach brings a fresh buddha to proximate generations, while that of buddhism is in danger of a persistent ossification at the hands of adherents who have never met or interacted with a living sage and will never do so, until we guess the next age period. It the sangha had astral records these returning figures could establish a foothold. But the reality for the large majority is to be subject to the lottery of rebirth, and the chances of making contact again with buddhism are not good. That must be the reason for the desperate focus on a few famous figures, whose reincarnations can be manipulated, or at least guessed at. As to buddhas, it is all a memory, and those memories become rancid, as the method is parodied in the instant ritual of turning converts into pillars of stone, boddhissatwas, apparently til the end of time when everyone else is enlightened. Note that the dynamics there is nonsense, hence the great vow is nonsense, so perhaps dispense with it. One should be careful here. Who the blazes knows what the real Mahayana really was. That’s a problem with buddhism, and xtianity: we have lost the facts that are crucial to understanding, and the wrapper of myth confuses the issue. It is, for example, important for meditators to have some sense of reality, using concrete concepts, as meditations induce the chaos and possible ruin of what must be what Gautama called his battle with the demon Mara. What was the factual basis of that myth? The followers of later times hardly know, but all at once they encounter something like it, very real, very deadly, and very unassisted by the mythical tradition, and mostly such a being is simply lost to the sangha because noone is there to help. The battle with Mara is gloriously told in the tale of Gautama triumphant, but the other nine out of ten go mad and are lost. This must be what happened to Chogyam Trungpa, a sort of spastic prisoner of a captive will enslaved to some demon, or his own unconscious. That’s the point: what does the demon ‘Mara’ refer to. No good using Freud to answer an old hallucination. It needs a modern buddha to clarify the issue or dismiss it. Rajneesh never bothered to mention the subject.
In this context the way of the Jains might have been better. The baton is passed more often, and the memories are more consistent, while with buddhism you have downtown strolling dudes who haven’t a clue about the ancient insights, even where put in writing.
What this means in the case of Tibetan buddhism, I don’t know, but Nota Bene, the old age period has already passed and the new era is well underway. What happens then is already happening but we may not know it until it has itself become historical.
Now it may be that this history is wrong, that dozens of buddhas arose in the wake of Guatama. In the Zen world the point seems clear, but with Tibetan buddhism, apparently, the frozen lineage is there throughout. One way or another the argument above, which might need revision, shows that approaching buddhism is a gamble with 1. bad histories, esoteric mystifications, fake vows of Boddhissatwas, lost disciples next to celebrities insiders, and for all the talk of savior religions, a probable majority failure, soul wreckage and ruin for a majority who are simply discarded and forgotten.
That is likely the fate of the troopers of Tibetan buddhism. The next era is not going to tolerate the obscure politics of ancient Tibet to dominate the already confusing enough path to enlightenment. The literature of buddhism by the way is hopelessly confusing and doesn’t clearly show the way to anything beyond the prima donna front stage acts of a few celebrities. Gautama is beginning to fade away into obscurity, as with the barely remembered Mahavir. Meanwhile the raving lunatics who lost their battles with the demon Mara are forgotten, or else turned into demons themselves. One must suspect buddhism produced far more demons that buddhas.
This kind of high-pope PR is growing a bit thin. It is pure bullshit. The question of Tibetan buddhism we have addressed several times in the previous few posts, noting the way in which a very violent Hollywood movie star is given a position of authority, and the basis of bogus claims of past lives, produced by the back stage ‘experts’. It is mostly bullshit, and it does NOT constitute proof satisfactory for a skeptical public. This important because these tulkus have the resource of occult black magic, in the deep background, and even criticizing someone like Segal is fraught with danger. I am hip to this game and am not afraid of that. A public fracas makes the operators wary so it is safe. But the Dalai Lama’s false sanctity is counterproductive, although it works with many.
Tibetan buddhists are being stalked by outside occultists trying to work out the place of buddhism in the emergence of fascism and nazism. It is hard to follow the trail, but the suspicion is getting progressively worse. Between the Dalai Lama’s sugar coated sanctity and the authority given to a repulsive Hollywood violence star one begins to stand back from the increasingly unattractive muddle of Tibetan buddhism to see a spiritual movement in derailment.
In Defense of Snake Handlers
by Herb Silverman posted on February 27, 2014 04:08PM GMT
Before we get to the snakes, what do we mean by religious freedom? I think it means that individuals can practice, promote, and proselytize for their religion, but that government cannot favor one religion over another, or religion over non-religion. If government exempts an action from law because of a person’s religious belief, I think that same exemption should apply to non-religious conscientious belief. Example? The Supreme Court ruling in favor of an atheist conscientious objector to war.
Selling Boutique Fitness to the Global Bourgeoisie
Equinox Yoga’s Lifestyle Offensive
by STEWART J. LAWRENCE
Its very name suggests an unattainable but infinitely desirable experience of cosmic well-being. But if company marketers have their way, Equinox — a boutique Manhattan-based fitness chain catering to the super-rich – will soon be all the rage. The company’s planning to bring its elite gym and wellness experience into top European and Asian cities – it’s already in New York, Toronto and London — by 2015. It also has its eye on broadening its position in the U.S. market.
Equinox’s new CEO, Sarah Robb, once helped build the Gatorade sports drink empire. Her senior marketing executive, Cie Nicholson, who’s charged with assisting Equinox’s corporate expansion, recently did the same for Pepsi in North America.
Equinox may never actually reach the obese and struggling middle class — but tapping its core demographic abroad could still boost company profits sky-high. And industry observers say that could well change the world of fitness forever.
But how does Equinox plan to attract the global bourgeoisie to its premium “offering”? The same way the posh apparel firm Lululemon – which caters to the same upscale consumers, only female – did: by tapping into the sacred – but increasingly flashy — Hindu mind-body practice of yoga to reinforce its distinctive brand.
It all started with a single You Tube video two years ago that virtually overnight became a viral sensation (with nearly 7 million page views to date). At the suggestion of Los Angeles yoga celebrity Kathryn Budig, who formerly represented Lululemon and a smaller yoga apparel company Toesox, Equinox became aware of another supremely lithe and athletic devotee of yoga who fit their desired cultural profile perfectly: Briohny Smyth. A former pop singer and aspiring actress, Smyth is of mixed European and Thai ancestry, and like Budig, comes off in person like a pert, down-home girl. She’s non-threatening and eminently likable. But unlike Budig, she’s also distinctly “Oriental.” Left to practice yoga, and filmed with a voyeuristic camera that lingers along the contours of her body, she projects – for Westerners, at least – a distinctly “exotic” allure.
The first Equinox You Tube video featured Smyth in super-tight bikini wear running through a challenging sequence of Level 4 yoga poses in what appears to be an expensive Eastside Manhattan apartment or loft. It’s shot in black and white, and the setting, largely devoid of furniture and household appurtenances, seems stark, almost austere. Smyth never speaks and there’s no voice-over, just a low-tone techno-hum, which together with the setting and her movements, transforms her — and her near-naked body — into an icon, inspiring a sense of awe. Equinox hopes the viewer will make the not-so-subtle semiotic connection: like Smyth, we offer a peak experience that few dare aspire to — let alone achieve.
What’s striking about this entire marketing approach is that Equinox in practice doesn’t actually feature yoga – far from it. Its gyms are mainly for leisure fitness junkies — and for extremely busy executives, so busy, in fact, that most clearly don’t have time for yoga. And even if they wanted to make time, since so many Equinox consumers are men, and trend older, it’s unlikely that most would. However, Equinox clearly knows the marketing value of this trend – and has deliberately moved to exploit it.
Even before promoting Smyth, in 2007 Equinox acquired the Hong Kong-based Pure Yoga, which now competes in the high-end yoga market with other big corporate chains like Yoga Works. Pure Yoga is also flooding the Asian market beyond Hong Kong into Singapore, Taipei, and even Shanghai. But Equinox is not actually selling yoga the practice – it’s simply using the “aura” of yoga, and its ethos, combined with Smyth’s cross-cultural persona, to project an image of competitive high-performance and balance and grace under pressure. These are values that any top Wall Street banker or stockbroker – eagerly carving up the globe’s finances or negotiating multi-billion dollar investment deals — can relate to. They may not be practicing yoga but they’re busy experiencing their own “mountain top” experience.
Equinox also knows the marketing value of controversy. Smyth’s first video went viral – in part, because it reignited a long-simmering debate among yogis about sex and beauty-based advertising as well as the use of yoga to sell consumer products and services. Budig has long challenged yoga to accept eroticism – even in the service of commerce – as a positive good, because it contains the message that body self-care for women is a plus, and that shapely beauty and good looks aren’t something the women that have them should be ashamed of. Smyth, naturally, espouses the same philosophy, which hasn’t really washed with most of the American yoga community. But it probably doesn’t matter. Real yogis don‘t need Equinox, and Equinox doesn’t really need yogis – except as sales props. Through them, high-end consumers get an alluring eyeful of yoga’s magic, without necessarily having to roll out a mat. Unless of course, they really want to – and if they do, it could cost them close to $80 a class in New York, and probably even more in Asia.
Subsequent Equinox videos have embellished the yoga theme still further, adding to the advertising mix Smyth’s husband, Dice lida-Klein — like her, about 30 and totally buff, his chest emblazoned with a huge tattoo representing a mysterious Eastern-looking totem. One video has the two of them performing “Acro Yoga,” in which lida-Klein lies on his back and braces his wife as she performs a series of delicate poses seemingly suspended in mid-air. In another video, lida-Klein appears by himself on a paddle board, transitioning from simple Warrior poses to more challenging headstands, as he gently floats down a lush river, past moored boats and exclusive shoreline houses. The setting could easily be somewhere along the French Riviera or the Seine. It even calls to mind – deliberately, it seems — the Impressionist works of Renoir and Monet, who delighted and amused their wealthy bourgeois patrons by depicting them on their summer vacations, gaily frolicking, as rowers in search of a boat fare beckoned nearby. Now, it’s lida-Klein’s who’s “rowing” and like his wife, wordlessly, he seems to be beckoning us, too.
Equinox’s tag line makes clear its marketing message. “It’s not just fitness. It’s life.” But is it? Not for most people, of course. And with repeat viewings, even the videos start to wear thin. Despite their impressive calisthenics, Smyth and her husband are clearly just actors, and their performances are relatively staid compared to the feats performed by trained acrobats – or even other yogis. In fact, even before the Equinox videos appeared, Renaissance Hotels had developed its own impressive TV spots featuring an elegant woman performing a high-flying balancing act, sweeping across a plush executive suite, using the room’s passion-infused red curtains for support, like a trapeze. She’s not Asian, but neither is the hotel chain’s target market. And Renaissance isn’t offering yoga or even fitness – at least not featuring them prominently as services. They’re just selling opulence, comfort, and leisure, what their 5-star guests crave and what Holiday Inn consumers might one day wish for, too. And in the upscale demographics they target, the ads, like Equinox’s, are a hit.
And judging from the continuing buzz – and gushing comments on You Tube and elsewhere — there are plenty of people in and around Yoga World who are prepared to embrace Equinox – or at least Smyth. Part of the sell, in fact, is that mascots like Budig and Smyth do get to develop their more folksy personas in public – and indeed are encouraged to do so — by their corporate sponsors, which helps “humanize” them – and by extension, their sponsors, too. Each model typically has a personal pet project or cause that she wants to support – in the case of Budig, it’s her PAWS animal rescue non-profit; for Smyth, it’s her consciousness-raising on addiction and bulimia. Companies like Toe Sox and Equinox agree to support these causes in some modest, even token, way, to lend their public image an air of “social” responsibility. It takes some of the edge off their hard-core luxury leisure message, which helps retain some demographics that might otherwise be turned off by such extravagant displays of conspicuous consumption.
And significantly, their corporate contracts with the likes of Smyth aren’t exclusive, either. Smyth is free to promote a number of smaller, boutique firms, like Hipswidth, which is based in Sydney, Australia, her hometown, and Palmpring, which produces “organic” cocoanut mattresses. In her videos promoting these companies, Smyth doesn’t even practice yoga. She simply sits in front of the camera, clothed informally, offering the standard first-person testimonial. The contrast in images is striking: for Equinox, she’s a titillating vessel of eternal longing, distant and unreachable; but for Hipswidth or Palmring, she wants us to get to know her – her life and her values. You’d never suspect that she’s also a high-flying corporate mascot.
Perhaps it’s a sign of just how flexible – and cross-cutting – yoga lifestyle marketing has become. Sometimes it’s the glamorous and sexy main act, putting a racy sheen on luxury. Other times, completely dressed down, it speaks in vernacular to the masses, giving them hope of a better life through low-brow – but still pricey — “green” consumption. In figures like Smyth, the two markets – traditionally far apart spatially and demographically – are literally joined at the hip –“yoked,” as it were, through yoga. Smyth may not be raising the level of spiritual consciousness much, but she’s making quite a few people awfully rich – including herself — and in the end, yoga or no yoga, that’s all that seems to matter.
Stewart J. Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com
Stephen Segal in Force of Execution. A disgusting film, even by the standards of Clint Eastwood
This is the man these Tibetans moron call a tulku. It is almost impossible to believe, unless this is backwash of the old hidden fascism. I think this is simply fraud to court a celebrity.
You should NOT enter into relations of discipleship in an organization that gives authority to such goons. NOT. Beware of these people. The Hollywood fantasy will extent of violent black magic as ‘warriors of the faith’. Adolescent bull shit.
I am sorry for any appearance of antisemitism in the last twenty posts. In fact the appearance is misleading, and nonsense. Usually when people are at each others’ throats the immediate deduction is of some form of hostility. But with Jews and Xtians that may not be true. Forget Segal. Pick on someone one’s size.
In this post at the link I offered to assist in crucifying E.J.Gold, after a trial by Roman law.Sincerely meant. Not a trace of antisemitism.
The Dalai Lama visiting a conservative think tank. The Dalai Lama is sneaky and I can’t always be sure where he is coming from, but it is clear he wouldn’t visit a leftist group in the US. Of course he has interacted with communists in China and called himself a communist, or socialist.
Maybe he excuses his actions here as a sort of non-dual feat of buddhist brilliance.
This is probably confirmation of my long suspicions as to Tibetan Buddhism, and beyond that to the now inscrutable history of the origins of fascism. Since I can’t quite make the case, the question is hopeless. He should know better than to mouth idiocy about ‘moral markets’.
There is no reason for the Dalai Lama to do this kind of thing, and he is making a lot of trouble for the liberal center of gravity of his buddhist congregation of westerners, mostly liberal-minded people.
If you are such a buddhist, EXIT Tibetan buddhism right away. Leave quietly without fuss and don’t look back, with no regrets. The ‘heil hitler’ ‘absolute obedience test’ is just down the road. But here, they will sucker you into a second rebirth and then apply the test.
You may grasp why I am writing LFM, Last and First Men: people need some reminder that the conservatizing slide of religious groups is an existential, not a spiritual phenomenon. It is not the case, and the repeated implication, as here, is completely false.
This will be called unfair, but anyone with any sense at the top of a buddhist org with thousands of liberal Americans can be doing this only from some bullshit profundity, of the type the Dalai Lama is fond out, moral markets and other drivel. A real buddhist would get thrown out waning this AEI capitalists of the danger they pose to the civilization. Sweet talk won’t do it.
Waling out on Tibetan Buddhism comes with no cost. The religion is fake, the meditation is fake, and pointless since you have vowed it thus, as a Mahayanist. And finally enlightenment has been renounced, and your only prospect is millions of lives twiddling your thumbs. It think of the story of the last two or Omega Point boddhissatwas,at the Omega Point, each trying to keep his vow by driving the other into enlightenment. But they deadlock and both fall into a black hole and enter a new cycle of cosmic evolution.
This is not nice. But it is not nice to turn unsuspecting persons into fascist robots behind a cute front of buddhist compassion.
From Radical Green Listserv
Washington Post February 20, 2014Dalai Lama translates true happiness
during visit to American Enterprise InstituteBy Melinda Henneberger*
As the Dalai Lama entered the room at the American Enterprise Institute,
where he’d been invited to discuss the idea of “moral markets,” the crowd
stood and kept still, in reverential silence. Then, though, everyone he
passed began to laugh. Not at the idea that unencumbered enterprise might
be the path to peace, but because His Holiness is the Melissa McCarthy of
religious leaders: You look at him and can’t help it, before he even opens
his mouth, and no matter what he says when he does.
Read the rest of this entry »
This melodramatic gesture, recorded in this post, succeeded and then failed. The books in question were so old and worn that it was better to be done with them. And as often with Osho world, going beyond ‘words’ often has a paradoxical result.
In any case, it strikes me that the posts here of late have described a nearly insoluble problem. or set of problems. It would be good for new agers to rethink their histories at this point, and look to a new future of spirituality. But that is a perilous venture. Last and First Men embarks in a new direction, that of ‘new age’ communism: communism was the real new age movement that emerged around 1848 and then went into standby. But it quickly became a part of the movement of positivism, viz. in the crystallization of historical materialism. That was important, but there is another task indicated in the movement emerging: a pathway to the future, as culture, material and spiritual, needed to move beyond capitalism toward a new civilization beyond that, in the same way Xtianity led the ancient world from the world of the Roman Empire to a world beyond slavery. The motion, ancient and modern, is the same ‘movement’. Capitalists, like the ancient Romans, are fierce in resisteance and rapidly acquiring the absolute power of domination in corruption that make the ancient Romans so decadent in the end. Let us hope the task will not require the centuries of catacoming Xtians. And we would need something that sublates beyond the doctrines of a monotheistic religion. But the gist is the same, and the alternate strategies, a revolution against power, versus a catacombing proletariat slowly overtaking declining power, confront the modern left in the same way. This introduces our discussions of a ‘new communism’ over at Darwiniana and here Osho’s text, Communism, Zen Wind, Zen fire, suddenly pops into the open as virtually the only discussion of communism by an Indian guru.
I think the task of reflection could be long, and the conclusion what we know already, so the issue remains, will the ‘new age’ movement ever find the new age?