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Buddha-s Law Among the Birds - The - Part 3

by Sangharakshita

You searched for SANGHARAKSHITA

... some extent, knowing something about
Tibetan Buddhism, after two or three pages I thought, ah ha! I smell a rat (laughter). Well it was
a rat, it was Lobsang Rampa (laughter) But, you know, people are unable to distinguish. If you
say that you're a guru and you've got your private aeroplane and all that sort of thing, they'll take
you as a guru, especially if you've got a private aeroplane - that seems to be one of the necessities
for a guru these days. But it's sad because, you know, the people who go along to some extent
sincerely, they're looking for something, they're in need of something, but they're misled. Maybe
they get a certain emotional satisfaction, a certain psychological satisfaction out of belonging and
looking up to this guru - they can't get very much in the true spiritual sense because dependency
is encouraged more often than not. But they're happy to be exploited, very often.
end of side two, tape 7 Birds Tape 8, side one
S: It's pseudo-humility. And if you venture to criticise the guru or to express these doubts or
reservations well, they take that as meaning that you can't possibly be as spiritual a person
yourself, or have any sort of spiritual insight or understanding or sympathy. You place yourself
outside the pale. And then you could say there's a sort of club of these sort of international club
with these sort of rules and they're all careful not ever to criticise one another. They dare not, they
can't afford to, they're all in it. They're all in the same little game, the same little racket. So they
indirectly support one another, recommend one another, speak well of one another, even though
sometimes their actual claims are more or less improper. There can't be more than one God
around at the same time, presumably, or more than one Jesus Christ but sometimes there seem
to be dozens of them. (Pause) Anyway, perhaps that's enough on that subject. (laughter)
Prasannasiddhi: This is apparently a traditional Tibetan text And so all the stuff about gurus and
the way the West and kind of things happening, presumably in Tibet....
S: Well, unfortunately not altogether. because I have met some fake Tibetan gurus, though it's
much rarer - that sort of thing is much rarer in Tibet - because there is, or was, a much stronger
spiritual tradition and therefore the flaw was much more easy to detect. But I have met one or
137 The Buddha's Law Among the Birds Seminar
two. I remember there was one in particular. There was a Kargyupa lama came out of Tibet
before most of the great lamas came out of Tibet. He was a great big healthy, beefy looking man
- really sort of self-confident. He wore a white and red Kagyupa dress and a big tower of hair
curled up here and a little tiny wife. Anyway, he gave himself off to be a certain well-known
incarnate lama from Eastern Tibet, one that was well-known by name. I forget what the name was
but anyway, lots of people had heard of him though only... they were overjoyed that this great
incarnate lama had come to Kalimpong, so he was really feted and he performed ceremonies and
gave blessings and eventually he was invited to Rome by Professor Tucci. But actually, we
afterwards discovered that he was not that actual... in fact, he was an imposter! He gave himself
out to be that particular incarnate lama, but he wasn't. He was just, as it were, an ordinary
Kagyupa, - well, one can't even say monk, because he was married. But anyway, he came to me
- I had had my sort of doubts about him because, even supposing he had been the man he was
supposed to be - that is the incarnate lama - well, that wouldn't prevent me from sort of just sizing
him up myself. I saw he was 'on the make'; this was very clear to me, he was 'on the make'.
So, when he was going to Italy at Tucci's invitation, he asked me to give him a letter of
introduction, the sort of....saying he was this, that and the other, and so I was very careful. So I
deliberately wrote that this was to introduce so and so and so and so who is a very good Buddhist
Upasaka. I said nothing about being a great lama. So of course, the people in Rome - especially
Tucci - they twigged this; 'Ah, ha! Why does Sangharakshita say that he's a very good Upasaka?'
Yes? (laughter) And of course, Sangharakshita is clearly saying he's not an incarnate lama. Do
you see what I mean? They twigged this. And he also eventually came to understand that this is
what I had written. I mean, he knew at the time what I had written, but he didn't understand what
I was getting at - he wasn't quite sharp enough. But he came to know later on; he was very
annoyed about this, but by that time he'd been exposed and everybody in Kalimpong knew that
he wasn't in fact that particular personality. And of course he was useless in Rome; he was
supposed to have been helping Tucci with researches into Kagyupa religious literature, but, in
fact, he didn't even know classical Tibetan properly. So Tucci sent him back after a while, and
he settled in Kalimpong. So even among Tibetans, sometimes (cut in tape)
Prasannasiddhi: Actually, thinking about these two lines, in a way perhaps the first line could
refer to the kind of religious fraud we've been speaking of, but in a way this second line could
also refer to just kind of ordinary people or just people who talk a lot about spiritual things, in
a way without just...
S: Yes, religious patter, one can call it. And again, I remember an incident when I was in
Kalimpong. I was going down to the Plains and I was sitting next to the driver in the front of the
jeep and on the way down to Siliguri - I think - we were stopped on the way by the traffic or
something like that, some disturbance or maybe a landslide, anyway, there was a Bihari
policeman controlling things. So, he came up to the jeep where I was and he saw, 'Oh, there's a
monk sitting there; there's a holy man.' So he started talking with me in Hindi and, as Hindus
often do, he started on a long religious spiel about religion is this and God is this and God is that
and duality and non-duality; and he went on and, having satisfied himself in this way, he sort of
Of course, the Tibetan sitting behind me... and the Tibetan was horrified and he said to me, 'That
man, that policeman, he was talking about religion.' Meaning, how dare an ordinary person like
that with no real experience or knowledge, dare to sort of hold forth on the subject of religion.
He was really shocked. And I found this was the Tibetan tradition - unless you really knew what
you were talking about as regards the Dharma, you didn't say anything at all. And you certainly
didn't sort of stroll up to people sitting in jeeps and just hold forth in that sort of way. So this is
one of the reasons why I found the Tibetans considered the Indians very irreligious. And in India
so many people - this is rather the negative side of the spiritual tradition - are ready to hold forth
at the drop of a hat on the subject of the Absolute and the Origin of the Universe and things and
138 The Buddha's Law Among the Birds Seminar
with absolute confidence, just go on talking and talking, as though they really knew all about it.
So 'Hard to fathom the religious talk of the shallow.'
It's very difficult to get a word in edgeways; it's very difficult actually to talk to them or discuss
about, 'Well, how do you know this?' Well you just know it; they just know it. They're just telling
you. There's a certain sort of Hindu if he catches hold of a visiting European, he'll just buttonhole
him and sort of feel he's got to give him the whole works about the spiritual life and sublime
Hindu philosophy and all the rest of it. (laughter) You encounter these characters in England
even. (long pause)
Anyway, then, 'Hard to fathom the mischievous unrest aroused by chiefs.' One may have to bear
in mind the sort of conditions in Tibet at the time - all sorts of local chiefs struggling for power,
struggling to extend their territory, struggling to extend their sphere of influence and plotting, and
planning all the time. So, 'Hard to fathom the mischievous unrest aroused by chiefs.' Well, one
could say that of any sort of political situation. It's really hard to fathom sometimes what the
politicians are up to. (Pause)
I mean in recent years in England there's been a flood of memoirs and reminiscences published
which purport to show you what was going on behind the scenes - certainly usually a lot more
was going on I think that the public at the time generally suspected.
Aryamitra: It makes you wonder what was behind all the Falklands...
S: Well, perhaps we shall find out when we get back. There may have been revelations while
we've been away.
Ratnaketu: It also seems to me that you're really sort of aware of getting whipped up into a
fervour by one person's own interest in a particular area.
S: Right, yes. Yes, that's true.
Khemananda: It almost seems as well that politicians, they want to create disagreement between
themselves and stir things up, you know....
S: Well, they want to sort of create a wave on the crest of which they can then rise - hopefully
rise to power. (Pause) All that's pretty obvious, I think.
Anyway, we come to something more positive now: 'Hard to fathom the virtues of the skilful.'
What does that mean?
Aryamitra: Is it that the skilful - the really skilful - are almost on another level? And that, not just
the ...

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