Time to Go Back to Kansas, Toto.

Wow! How did they shrink this woman so tiny and blow up the Lama guy so huge? Must be. . . Dzogchen magic!

This piece of temple theatre just exposes everything that is wrong with institutional Buddhism today. The power of the Lama is exalted through an optical illusion: the woman who is speaking for the Lama sits far behind him, visually shrinking her down to a child size, while the Lama is foregrounded as a giant silent Buddha. The defense, read by Tiny Woman in deference to Giant Lama, is a total denial of reality, facts and truth. The statement propagates lies in defense of institutional Buddhism and it’s failures, couched in magical language, attributing the impact of institutional abuse to ‘Maras’ and ‘demonic forces’. The statement chastises the ex-students of Sogyal for speaking out in such a way as to ‘demean the religion’ and ‘turn people away from Buddhism’. No mention at all of the ways Sogyal’s abusive behavior could turn people away from Buddhism.

The staged production in this video is a theatrical performance of Buddhism as an ideology. Its exactly the kind of ideological blindness that Buddha woke up to and warned people to steer away from. Most of what passes for the ‘transcendental’ or ‘magic’ in tantric Buddhism is just this sort of self-deluding optical illusion.

After watching this latest series of scandals unfold in cults of Tibetan tantric Buddhism, it reminds me that I’ve been hanging around in OZ too long. It’s time to go back to Kansas, Toto.

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2 thoughts on “Time to Go Back to Kansas, Toto.

  1. Excellent analysis, Shaun. There seemed to be a lot of self-justification going on in the speech, along with repeated exaltation of dogma, demonization of accusers, and saying that which will curry favour within a hierarchy — altogether, really an egotistical display. I was waiting for the “large Buddha,” as you call the videoed depiction, to undercut the speaker’s wandering from a true course and provide an example of setting the proceedings right. But it did not happen. Maybe any institutional organization would exhibit similar dysfunction in inability of self-critical contemplation, but I think not necessarily, and thus feel sorrow at this video.

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