by Victor and Victoria Trmondi is available as an ebook at this link. Given the recent discussion of Trivedi this book is significant in showing how such magical and mythical beliefs in a superman leader with a super race of followers is inherent to Tibetan Buddhism. It's is no wonder then that a certain brand of integral is also sold on Tibetan Buddhism, since its own narrative is astonishingly akin. From the introduction:
"The list of accusations goes on and
on. Here we present some of the charges raised against the Kundun since 1997 which we treat in more detail in this study: association with the Japanese “poison gas guru” Shoko Asahara (the “Asahara affair”); violent suppression of the free expression of religion within his own ranks (the “Shugden affair”); the splitting of the other Buddhist sects (the “Karmapa
affair”); frequent sexual abuse of women by Tibetan lamas (“Sogyal Rinpoche and June Campbell affairs”); intolerance towards homosexuals; involvement in a ritual murder (the events of February 4, 1997); links to National Socialism (the “Heinrich Harrer affair”); nepotism (the “Yabshi affair”); selling out his own country to the Chinese (renunciation of Tibetan sovereignty); political lies; rewriting history; and much more."
Here's more from the Introduction about the supernatural base via magical and mythical powers elevating this priesthood into a 2nd-tier like brotherhood running the world for the benefit of mankind. Sound at all similar to integral hype? Excerpt:
His followers worship him as a deity, a “living Buddha” (Kundun), and call him their “divine king”. Not even the Catholic popes or medieval emperors ever claimed such a high spiritual position — they continued to bow down before the “Lord of Lords” (God) as his supreme servants. The Dalai Lama, however –according to Tibetan doctrine at least — himself appears and acts as the “Highest”. In him is revealed the mystic figure of ADI BUDDHA (the Supreme Buddha); he is a religious ideal in flesh and blood. In some circles, enormous hopes are placed in the Kundun as the new Redeemer himself. Not just Tibetans and Mongolians, many Taiwan Chinese and Westerners also see him as a latter-day Messiah. 
However human the monk from Dharamsala (India) may appear, his person is surrounded by the most occult speculations. Many who have met him believe they have encountered the supernatural. In the case of the “divine king” who has descended to mankind from the roof of the world, that which was denied Moses—namely, to glimpse the countenance of God (Yahweh)—has become possible for pious Buddhists; and unlike Yahweh this countenance shows no wrath, but smiles graciously and warmly instead.
In ancient societies (like that of Tibet), everything that happens in the everyday world — from acts of nature to major political events to quotidian occurrences — is the expression of transcendent powers and forces working behind the scenes. Mortals do not determine their own fates; rather they are instruments in the hands of “gods” and “demons”. If we wish to gain any understanding at all of the Dalai Lama’s “secular” politics, it must be derived from this atavistic perspective which permeates the traditional cultural legacy of Tibetan Buddhism. For the mysteries that he administers (in which the “gods” make their appearances) form the foundations of his political vision and decision making. State and religion, ritual and politics are inseparable for him.
In the symbolic political world, however, we encounter “supernatural” energy fields, the “gods” and “demons”. The secular protagonists in events are still human beings such as ecclesiastical dignitaries, priests, magicians, gurus, yogis, and shamans. But they all see themselves as servants of some type of superior divine will, or, transcending their humanity they themselves become “gods”, as in the case of the Dalai Lama. His exercise of power thus not only involves worldly techniques but also the manipulation of symbols in rituals and magic. For him, symbolic images and ritual acts are not simply signs or aesthetic acts but rather instruments with which to activate the gods and to influence people’s awareness. His political reality is determined by a “metaphysical detour” via the mysteries. 
This interweaving of historical and symbolic events leads to the seemingly fantastic metapolitics of the Tibetans. Lamaism believes it can influence the course of history not just in Tibet but for the entire planet through its system of rituals and invocations, through magic practices and concentration exercises. The result is an atavistic mix of magic and politics. Rather than being determined by parliament and the Tibetan government in exile, political decisions are made by oracles and the supernatural beings acting through them. It is no longer parties with differing programs and leaders who face off in the political arena, but rather distinct and antagonistic oracle gods.
Above all it is in the individual of the Dalai Lama that the entire worldly and spiritual/magic potential of the Tibetan world view is concentrated. According to tradition he is a sacred king. All his deeds, however much they are perceived in terms of practical politics by his surroundings, are thus profoundly linked to the Tibetan mysteries.
The latter have always been shrouded in secrecy. The uninitiated have no right to participate or learn about them. Nevertheless, in recent years much information about the Tibetan cults (recorded in the so-called tantra texts and their commentaries) has been published and translated into European languages. The world that opens itself here to Western awareness appears equally fantastic and fascinating. This world is a combination of theatrical pomp, medieval magic, sacred sexuality, relentless asceticism, supreme deification and the basest abuse of women, murderous crimes, maximum ethical demands, the appearance of gods and demons, mystical ecstasy, and cold hard logic all in one powerful, paradoxical performance.
“The main difference between it and other religious worldviews is that Buddhists, at least in theory, know all these gods to be empty of any inherent reality. Everything, they would say, is merely an appearance as ephemeral and insubstantial as a dream. Such statements have led some in the West to assume that the gods of Tibetan Buddhism are no more than archetypal symbols: they perform a psychological function in the process of spiritual transformation, but only the naive would say they represent beings independent of the practitioner’s own mind. Yet however persuasive this kind of Jungian interpretation may be, it is not how most Tibetan lamas understand the world they inhabit.
“For gods to be empty of inherent existence does not mean that they cannot be autonomous beings capable of making choices and existing in their own heavenly realms. In this sense they are no different from humans, who are likewise empty but perfectly capable of making decisions and living their own unique and fallible lives. The doctrine of emptiness only teaches us to see ourselves and the world in a way that frees us from the reification and egoism that generate anguish. To say the world is empty neither affirms nor denies the claims of any cosmological theory, be it that of ancient India or modern astrophysics.”
"But I think that stressing the role of the developmental holarchy lens, that AQAL and SD and DAI have so importantly drawn attention to, has reinforced that old view that we need some 'Great Leader' to lead us out of our troubles. We need a messiah to transform us. The redeeming CEO who will say the word and we will all follow to some new promised land. This is a big mistake. I don’t think that is how transformation occurs. If integral metatheorists see social transformation as resulting from the developmental genius of individuals then it is being dangerously reductive. The use of the developmental lens has to be much more sophisticated that that. We need to combine it with and differentiate it from many other lenses if we are to see how stage-based development aligns with other aspects of transformation.
"My view is that the archaic view of the teacher-guru and student-disciple has done its dash and can only be defended by those who are so immersed in stage-based development that they see no other meta-level possibilities for articulating growth (this is one of the many forms of altitude sickness that I wrote about in my last blog).... The defense of the ancient models of student-teacher relationship, particularly where development is focused on the stage-based lens, seems to me to be a sign of regression rather than evolution."
i love this kings of the earth theme! stephen harper has a buddy!!!!!! anyway, i went to a meet-up group a few weeks back and sure enough there was a practicing buddhist and he described a literal cosmology that rivals christianity! and i thought to myself that there has to be a god at the end of that line somewhere:)
raj patel says he's not the maitreya, oh, he's no fun at all:)
Well this is all well known. But I don't mind to hear it again. x-D
Did any of you guys see the latest Terry Gilliam Movie? It's called "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" and it's quite hillarious. In one scene, we see the Tom Waits (as The Devil) entering The Sanctuary of the Tibetans and blowing them medieval dead rituals away. But of course Doctor Parnassus doesn't give up on it yet. It's 110 entertaining minutes to say the least. The 'hero' character is played by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law, each of them highlighting different aspects of the archetype, and lovely Lily Cole as the female counterpart. Worth a try!
This brief history of Tibetan Buddhism is instructive. Note how Tibetan Buddhism is “remote from the original teachings,” having changed it by incorporating Hindu and then Bon influences. Batchelor makes much the same case. Granted the Hindu influences came before it arrived in Tibet via Mahayana, but the supernatural elements in Mahayana were simpatico with indigenous Bon and Tibet “developed” its own hybrid. “Developed” might be the wrong word, since at least via Wilber that implies moving beyond magical and mythical worldviews, which Tibetan Buddhism has most certainly not done. Here are a few excerpts from the referenced history:
The religious practices found in the Tibetan cultural world, accepted by and even conducted by the monastic orders, include the incantation of mystic, magical formulas, the exorcism and destruction of demons, divination, auguries, oracles, and symbolic sacrifice and ransom -- aspects associated with Shamanism. It is this element within Tibetan Buddhism of magic and the supernatural, so remote from the original teachings and practices of Buddhism, that has led to its designation as Lamaism, as if it were a separate religion or at least a separate offshoot of the original faith.
In its earliest, and some argue its purist or most authentic form, Buddhism was nontheistic, keeping its focus on a way of thought and a conduct of life that would release human beings from inevitable suffering.
Yet from its inception, and in the course of its subsequent development for many centuries, Buddhism was affected by the inevitable influence of its Hindu context, even as it was a reaction against the mother culture and religion. The Mahayana movement that flourished in the Buddhist universities of eastern India absorbed Hindu elements. These sources, Hindu and Buddhist, became interwoven and were the matrix for the later development, Vajrayana. Tantric texts depict the defeat of Hindu deities, most importantly the great god Shiva, by the Bodhisattva warrior, Vajrapani; the vanquished Hindu gods were converted, pledged allegiance to Buddhism, and were renamed and incorporated into the Buddhist structure. And tantric texts introduced yet other gods, such as Mahakala, who although one of the most important tantric deities in Tibetan Buddhism, has an ancient origin in Indian cults.
With the further development of Mahayana, and its cult of Bodhisattvas (whose numbers multiplied, along with the Buddhas with whom they were often paired), the pantheon expanded. Interweaving and building on these influences, introducing and absorbing yet more deities, Buddhism, like a living organism, continued to evolve, and the form that we would come to know as "Tibetan" grew increasingly labyrinthine.
Even that is not the end of the story. After Buddhism was first introduced into Tibet in the seventh century C.E., where it encountered a native culture, a struggle ensued between the new religion and the ancient, indigenous one. Ultimately and inevitably, Buddhism was influenced by that which it came to replace. This complex interaction developed into mutual adaptation, and the native traditions added their complement of gods to a growing Buddhist pantheon of deities and supramundane beings.
Granted Wilber is not promoting the literal belief in actual deities as is Tibetan Buddhism. And the latter isn’t just a belief by the hoi polloi at “lower levels” but by the highest level initiates, including and especially their leader (god-man), the Dalai Lama. So here are a few words by Wilber on differentiating the magical-mythical of his favored Vendanta-Vajrayana from a more postmetaphysical view on these matters. There are problems with Wilber’s view also but for now here are his words from Excerpt G, Part II:
“Common to many traditions is the idea that, in addition to a spectrum of consciousness, there is a spectrum of energy…. In a general sense (which we will refine as we go along), these 5 levels of energy are essentially correlated with the 5 levels of consciousness. Every level of both consciousness and energy higher than the lowest level (or "matter") was completely trans-material (metaphysical, supernatural). These energies were said to form concentric spheres of increasing expanse, but they are themselves, in every essential way, non-gross-material (or ontologically pre-existing and separable from matter). The essential points of that formulation can still be true, and are true, I believe. But with the naturalistic turn in the AQAL matrix's self-understanding, we can recognize that many of the items that the premodern traditions believed were entirely trans-material or meta-physical are actually correlated with complexifications of matter, not a mere transcendence of matter.
“In this figure, we see that the energy fields thought to be hovering metaphysically beyond matter actually emerge in intimate correlation with complexifications of matter. These subtle fields cannot be reduced to matter, but neither are they ontologically disconnected from matter altogether. The ghost disconnected from the machine is actually intimately correlated with the degree of complexity of the machine. Every mind has its body. Subtler, more sophisticated mind simply means subtler, more sophisticated body. As we will soon see, the traditions (particularly Vedanta and Vajrayana) had a very profound understanding of the relation of gross, subtle, and casual consciousness with gross, subtle, and causal bodies—but they did not fully grasp…the relation of all of that to the complexifications of gross matter).”
As you can see from Wilber’s figure 7 in the above excerpt he has the more subtle bodies emerging with the complexification of the brain, the causal body arising with further developments in the neocortex. Recall our prior discussion in the “meditation and neuroscience” thread that I think Wilber has it backwards here, in that the so-called causal is actually related to very primitive brain stem structures and delta waves, the subtle more to the limbic and theta/alpha waves, and the gross (rational ego) more to beta waves. The so-called higher or integrative brain-consciousness functions arise with the high frequency gamma waves, which in my PM interpretation has to do with a “going back” via meditation and integrating lower state-stages sans the metaphysical interpretations. Now the Tibetan Buddhists can and do elicit gamma waves in their meditations but they are still intrepreting these "states" via magical-mythical worldviews.
"Gamma brainwaves encourage the integration of brain information. Because they can be found in almost every part of the brain, these brain waves facilitate enhanced and synchronized communication among different segments of the brain."
Which is getting us to the reason I started this thread. It's not so much to criticize Tibetan Buddhism but rather to criticize Kennilingusoro's continued use of some the its metaphysical worldview interpretations.* On one had K will criticize the tradition for not seeing the relationship of higher consciousness to its corresponding tie in gross matter (brain). And yet he continues to interpret the tradition in its own terms in many ways, even saying he buys into such explanations "virtually unchanged" (see this for example). And one way the supernatural nature of the tradtional view expresses in kennilingus is in the inflated notions of direct access to an absolute realm that thereby gives humanity (well, certain humans) a capacity to go trans-human and benevolently guide the rest of us into a higher-tier "spiritual" world for the betterment of all. We see this syndrone all over the traditional account above and in kennilingus generally. It also expresses in the types of organizational structures both the traditions and II use, being top heavy based on a single-scale hierarchical model (see Edwards' criticisms here and above.)
* Which of course brings up again the issue of worldviews. Because K assumes that it's transcend-and-replace with WVs we don't mix and match them in different contexts or under different conditions. Whereas this discussion shows that is not likely the case, and provides a much better explanation for how Tibetan Buddhism can explore such "high" meditative states with such medieval interpretations of them "in one powerful, paradoxical performance."
What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?
This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.
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