New age movements and reactionary fascist buddhism
Don’t misunderstand me: the new age movement is not the same as the ‘path to enlightenment’. The latter is trying to give birth to itself in a new incarnation of buddhism that is free of its past legacies. Osho claimed to be doing that, but we can’t be sure of the result.
The ‘new age’ movement is a modernist sphere of study that began in the modern transition at around the time of Herder and Schopenhauer (or we could say in the period of the Reformation). It was unable to produce a path to enlightenment, although Schopenhauer stumbled into that, almost. It was then hijacked by the various seminal figures such as Blavatsky and Gurdjieff, both dishonest operators destined to cast false or confusing seeds, as Khrishnamurti protested in a moment of bitterness.
Krishnamurti and Osho, however, seem to grasp the need for a new spirituality of the future.
The so-called ‘new age’ movement is thus a phase in transition. It seemed as if the whole game should be according to the ancient traditions of spiritual movements. The problem is that we don’t really know what those were! Something was awry there from the start. The attacks on modernity were misconceived and doomed the ‘new age’ movements to being old age movements trying to fight modernity and restore ancient traditions. It seems logical on the surface, but it has produced confusion. Modernity is not the kali yuga or a degeneration. It is a complex advance in the progression of civilizations. One that was so isolated from Eurasia’s larger context that it failed to properly reexpress a ‘new age’ in areas such as the buddhism rapidly flooding into the West. But that immense movemente belongs to an older era. As buddhists themselves suspected protesting that modernity was false and should be destroyed with an occult anti-modernist movement. I think the ‘old age’ movements died with that fascist underground initiative that rapidly deviated into the calamities of the era of Nazism. I think buddhism died with it, but noone realizes it yet. Time in its wisdom is using this buddhist fad to rescue something from disaster in a move toward the future. The forms of the older buddhism are destined to pass away. This is not even newsworthy. Look at the Jainism of Mahavir, the last of his lineage passing the baton to the first of a new, Gautama. Buddhism is destined probably to an institutional continuity (as was the post-Mahavir Jainism) but without its old fire.
It is hard to predict, but we can create our own ‘prediction’ by creating a new future beyond the old. I often feel that this was what animated Osho, but I am not able to speak for hi. He is the one who accused buddhist of fascism, outright nazism. it is hard to proceed here with incomplete information.
One thing is clear: the false buddhists who forced the issue of absolute obedience to the authority of spiritual hierarchy and then cashed in on this to stage fascism and genocide destroyed buddhism as Guatama-ism and the rubble is all that is left. It may be that that was a way to destroy the movement, by its founder. He stated clearly his sense the future would produce a new teacher. So much hype has arisen from that that we fail to see how directly insightful the maitreya myth was, but one that has always foundered in nonsense as claimants attempt to take the title.
That is the way this series of epochs works, apparently. But it is hard to see how the future can generate a continuance of buddhism. Perhaps the osho path can do that. Or take a first step toward that. I don’t feel automatic confidence in that.