How on earth does Stephen Seagal get to be a tulku? Giving Tibetan buddhism a wide berth…New Age searches: a thirty year waste of time…/2014/01/23/how-on-earth-does-stephen-seagal-get-to-be-a-tulku-giving-tibetan-buddhism-a-wide-berth-new-age-searches-a-thirty-year-waste-of-time/

How on earth does Stephen Seagal get to be a tulku? Giving Tibetan buddhism a wide berth…New Age searches: a thirty year waste of time… I don’t wish to be unfair to Tibetan buddhism, but, having given a good plug to ‘buddhism’, I should probably point out that (Tibetan) buddhism is hardly any better than sufism. These religious vehicles are so old and so premodern that their status in modernity is vexed. A whole generation has skidded off into a ‘postmodern’ fantasy.

Tibetan buddhism, let it be noted, is an exclusive club. And it is surrounded by revealing signs of preferential selection with the majority receiving nothing. A few to many Hollywood celebrities, et al… Why enter such an organization?

In general all the New Age constellations I have approached in the last thirty years have been a waste of time. Sufism, buddhism, Gurdjieff, Kabbalah, Osho/Rajneesh, the whole game is shot, although the Osho nexus has a potential that I have tried to assess.
But gurus have not helped. There has to be a way beyond gurus. I had three experiences of near satori in the early seventies, but all that disappeared as soon as I approached the field of gurus. They keep people asleep, more than they wake them up. It is time to be done with the whole business. The real ‘path’ is hidden inside of modernity.

Our remarks about fascism and spiritual obedience are directly relevant here. Fascism apart, which is confusing pseudo-modern phenomenon, The traditional ways are all crypto-authoritarian. But to sell themselves they have to adopt a modernistic veneer, behind which lies the same old centuries old crud of absolute obedience. To pass themselves off in modern cultures, this has to be disguised. But if you make a mistep in these milieus the truth comes out, as with the Osho blowout described in some posts still on this page. Osho is confusing because his ‘beyond enlightenment’ theme leaves only a wild ghostly demonic hulk that will try to take over your will. Best to find a safer venue. Work alone. That is the only option finally. And reflect on what the modern context seems to be saying about religious traditions. And that is not the view of the new atheists, or secular humanists. The ancient ways can find a venue in modernity, but it is not clear what it is. Schopenhauer stumbled on a rich vein of innovation and his philosophy gives a rebirth to Upanishadic obscurities that no longer resonate with the modern mind.
All this said, there is a component of ‘modernity’ in the legacy of buddhism: it was part of a ‘reformation’ in the Axial Age. But it is still an ashram grown to gargantuan size, like Xtianity, as an oversized ‘bhakti’ cult.
All of these things are finishing their early round of success, but they will begin to lose ground. How could it be otherwise? How can a medieval horror show of Tibetan politics truly advance the ‘greater buddhist’ (santana dharma, which isn’t hinduism) way.

In any case all of the new age formations I have dealt with in the last generation have been a waste of time.

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