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Dalai Lama and 9/11
An Interview with Victor and Victoria Trimondi (Germany)
By James C. Stephens
September 11, 2003
Stephens: This September 11 on the second anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, the keynote speaker at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. was not the American evangelist Billy Graham, but Tenzin Gyatso, better known as the XIV Dalai Lama, the exiled God-King of Tibet. Accompanied by five Tibetan Lamas from his New York Monastery, he officially began with Buddhist ritual chanting followed by a talk to an audience of 7,000 on “Cultivating Peace as an Antidote to Violence.” Our interview today from Germany is with Victor and Victoria Trimondi, who previously worked to promote the Dalai Lama’s message in Europe. They are co-authors of a critical European bestseller entitled The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism. How did you first come to know the Dalai Lama?
Trimondi: We first met the XIV Dalai Lama in the eighties and became friends while publishing his writings in our publishing house, Trikont-Dianus-Verlag. While organizing international conferences with him and other famous speakers on interreligious and intercultural topics and specifically securing governmental level invitations to Germany and Austria for him, we began to seriously explore Tibetan Buddhism. However, after many years of extensive study and reflection, we seriously questioned some of the fundamental tenets of the Tantric Buddhism the Dalai Lama professed and eventually became one of his sharpest critics.
Stephens: Today, the Dalai Lama was warmly received by the Christian clergy of the National Cathedral who invited him as the keynote speaker and allowed him to perfom his religious rituals with several Tibetan Buddhist lamas on the second anniversary of September 11. How should we as Americans view his visit?
Trimondi: Frankly speaking, the Dalai Lama has two faces. He makes his official contact with the West under the maxim of Mahayana Buddhism and then deftly assimilates the highest values and ideals of western culture (Christian, Jewish and humanist). On his present trip to America he has met with Muslims like Mohammed Ali, Jesuits at the University of San Francisco, political leaders from Republican and Democratic persuasions, and then will comfortably meet with ethicists and scientists at MIT and Harvard.
Through diplomatic tolerance he wins Agnostics as well as the hearts of unsuspecting Jews and Christians, to whom he preaches in the tongue of “a man of peace” and as a human rights activist relates passages of “compassion, love, and non-violence” from the “Sermon on the Mount.” Nearly all of the speeches the Dalai Lama delivers in public are extremely tolerant, human and compassionate. You can only agree. And yet, there is another face that peeks out from behind the mask of goodness, charity and kindness, which gives one pause to think more deeply about the shadow of this “man of peace.”
Stephens: I understand what you mean. I recall attending his press conference at the 1993 Parliament of the World Religions in Chicago and being somewhat stunned by his response to a journalist’s question, “Have you studied the life and teachings of Jesus?” He commented about the Tibetan Bible translation in the 1930’s and then said, “I learned something reading these books, but I learned a more deeper way from my personal friend, the late Thomas Merton.” Although it revealed that he had a relationship with a Catholic, it also showed at that time another side to me that he didn’t have much feeling for Jesus or for the Bible. In light of your first book, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama, could you spell out your concerns about his “shadow side” and his forays into the West from your experiences in Germany?
Trimondi: The XIV Dalai Lama, the God-King of Tibet is the highest representative of Tantric Buddhism, established in Tibet in the 8th century, A.D. Tantrism, the last stage in the history of Buddhism (since the 5th century A.D. in India) is based on ritual and magic formulas. Not unlike other religions it also has “skeletons in its’ closet” which it carefully conceals as a guest in the Western world. Tibetan Tantrism is a belief in spirits and demons, secret sexual practices, occultism, mind control, and an obsession with power. In contrary to every democratic custom, the present Dalai Lama consults with the Nechung Oracle, a monk who is possessed by a Mongolian war God, on all important state decisions.
What primarily concerns us about the interreligious ceremony in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. is the level of naivety in the West. For the past 25 years, the Dalai Lama has quietly performed the Kalachakra Tantra (“The Wheel of Time”), the highest of all ancient Tantric initiations for tens of thousands of spiritual novices in the West; introducing Tantric ideology, secret sexual practices, and magic rituals integrated into the context of his religious-political worldview. Critical voices have been raised, while he continues to secretly transmit the Kalachakra’s prophetic vision of the establishment of a universal Buddhocracy (Shambhala) in which spiritual and worldly power are united in one person, the “world emperor”(Chakravartin), wherein other religions will no longer exist.
Stephens: Samuel Huntington, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard warned in 1993 in his essay on The Clash of Civilizations that, “What ultimately counts for people is not political ideology or economic interest. Faith and family, blood and belief are what people identify with and what they will fight and die for.” In light of this what is your concern about the ideology that the Dalai Lama is promoting in the Kalachakra Tantra?
Trimondi: In the Kalachakra Tantra is prophesized the establishment of a Buddhocratic Empire, a clash of civilizations will arise as the military forces of Buddhism wage war against the armies of non-Buddhist religions. Murderous super-weapons possessed by the Buddhist Shambhala Army are described at length and in enthusiastic detail in the Kalachakra Tantra Text (Shri Kalachakra I. 128 – 142) and employed against "enemies of the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings).”
Over the last five years in the German speaking countries, these shadow-aspects of Lamaism have lead to a vast, steady and increasing stream of criticism in the media. During the Kalachakra-Initiation of the Dalai Lama last year in Austria there were very controversial debates on TV and Radio Stations and Press Media. The internationally well known newspaper “Der Standard” published an article entitled “A Warrior Ritual with the Dalai Lama: The Kalachakra”. The German Weekly of Christian intellectuals “Der Rheinische Merkur” entitled an article: “What is hidden behind the Kalachakra Tantra? Supremely ferocious warriors!”
Stephens: Who are these non-Buddhist enemies spoken of in the Kalachakra Teachings? I’ve seen articles in the Buddhist magazines the Shambhala Sun and Tricycle about Lamas dressing up in military uniforms. I thought Buddhism was a peaceful faith?
Trimondi: The secret text of the Kalachakra explicitly names the "leaders" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the opponents of Buddhism: "Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mani, Muhammad and the Mahdi" describing them as "the family of the demonic snakes" (Shri Kalachakra I. 154). The final, Armageddon-like battle (Shambhala war) ends in the total victory of the Buddhists. The official Kalachakra-Interpreter Alexander Berzin openly compares the principles of the Islamic “Jihad” with that of the Shambhala war. As in the Islamic martyr-ideology Shambhala-Warriors, who will be killed in the last battle have earned passage into the [Buddhist] paradise.
The military scenarios in some Buddhist Centers such as the Shambhala training camps of the deceased Lama Chögyum Trungpa, have until now only a symbolic meaning, and yet they are interpreted as a spiritual preparation of the prophesized great Shambhala War. In the imagination of some Lamas all participants in a Kalachakra initiation have the questionable privilege of being reborn as "Shambhala Warriors" in order to be able to participate in the coming apocalyptic battle either as infantry or officers, dependant on rank. High lamas of particular lineages have already been assigned to commanding positions in the future.
Stephens: Of late, the scandal of sexual abuse among Catholics and other Christian clergy has hit the news. I recall that a number of years ago, we spoke to members of Dharmadhatu in West Hollywood who openly mentioned that their founder Osel Tenzin had knowingly infected many of their members with the aids virus and that nine lamas had died in Boulder, Colorado. We were humbled by their vulnerability on the subject. They obviously felt terribly violated. Another Christian woman we met in Seattle who was formerly a sexual consort to a local Tibetan lama was so severely wounded by her experience that she would not even speak of it in detail. On October 5 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art an exhibit entitled, “The Circle of Bliss-Buddhist Meditational Arts” opens the largest Tantric Art exhibit in the Western Hemisphere. What should the public be aware of about the dangers of sexual practices of Tantric Buddhism?
Trimondi: The sexual practices of Buddhist Tantrism are not to be confused with normal sexual abuse by some Lamas. The latter also has been a great problem in the Buddhist communities, which were rocked by scandals caused by such prominent leaders as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of Colorado's Naropa University, who was accused of having sex with his women students. In 1993, 21 Western Buddhist teachers met the Dalai Lama in India and issued an open letter that lamented various teachers' ``sexual misconduct with their students, abuse of alcohol and drugs, misappropriation of funds and misuse of power.'' The group urged believers to confront teachers and publicize their misconduct.
Here in Europe, one of the most well known and discussed cases involved the Scottish Buddhist June Campbell and the attempt of her teacher, the most honorable eighty year old Lama Kalu Rinpoche, to misuse her sexually. The 10. February 1999 headline of the British newspaper The Independent read: “I was a Tantric sex slave.”
But Campbell shows also in her confessional book Traveller in Space that the sexual misuse of women is not only a blameable attitude but that it is a central part of the Lamaist Tantric religion. The sexual magic practice exercised by a Lama with a woman has the specific goal to transmit the erotic and female energy into the spiritual and worldly power of the male partner. Such sexual rituals are the core of Tibetan Buddhism. Also in the secret higher initiations of the Kalachakra Tantra sexual magical rites take place. The ritual texts can be interpreted symbolically or real (!). Both are possible. The originals say that eleven-year-old girls may be used as sexual partners.
Stephens: Shocking! Especially in our society where so much sexual abuse of children is being exposed in religious circles. That public money is being appropriated to promote this in the name of culture is of great concern, especially as many children go on field trips to these exhibits. Another concern in America has been the rise of the Neo-Nazi movement. I understand that you have since co-authored another bestseller on the influence of Asian religion on the foundational ideology of Adolph Hitler. Evidently, this has unleashed quite a debate in Europe. What’s the cause of the controversy?
Trimondi: In our historical essay “Hitler – Buddha – Krishna – an Unholy Alliance from the Third Reich to Today” we show that the warlike and racist ideas of Heinrich Himmler of the SS and of other well known Neo-fascists have been fundamentally inspired by elements of different Asian religions, such as Vedism, Buddhism, Lamaism and that prominent German Zen Teachers-Dürckheim & Herrigel have been convinced Nazis.
It’s really shocking, in the “SS-Ahnenerbe” , which was the academic brain trust of the SS, that its’ Chief Heinrich Himmler, was openly engaged in ongoing discussions with the most distinguished German Orientalists of his time in the construction of a new Indo-Arian Nazi-Religion. After WW II this discussion was continued by prominent neo-fascist ideologues. Both of our books have stimulated a great discussion about the ideological sources of religious fundamentalism and about the clash of civilisations.
Stephens: I recall attending the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in 1996 when the Dalai Lama was awarded “The Simon Wiesenthal Peace Prize” and the director equated him with “Aaron, our man of peace.” What should the Jewish community be concerned about in light of your research on his connections with Nazism?
Trimondi: It is a fact that the Shambhala War Ideology of the Kalachakra-Tantra has led to aggressive behaviour, megalomaniacal visions and conspiracy theories both in the history of the Asia as well as in that of religious fascism and neo-fascism. Already in the SS-Ahnenerbe, where Heinrich Himmler’s Nazi-Religion was born, there was an interest in the contents of the Kalachakra-Tantra. The influential fascist and cultural philosopher Julius Evola saw in the mythic world of Shambhala an esoteric centre of a sacred warrior race. This vision is today still firmly anchored in the religious ideas of the international far-right movement. That alone makes it necessary for the Dalai Lama to distance himself clearly from the war-mongering Shambhala Myth.
Instead of this he has cultivated friendly contacts with people such as the ex-SS men Bruno Beger (convicted as helping to murder more than 86 Jews) and Heinrich Harrer, author of Seven Years in Tibet (a chronicle of his experience with the Dalai Lama over seven years prior to his exile to India). The Homepage of the Government of Tibet in Exile www.tibet.com/Status/statement.html shows the XIV Dalai Lama between Bruno Beger on his right and Heinrich Harrer on his left. Beger has been a member of the famous SS-Tibet Expedition organized by the SS in 1938/1939 whose primary goal was to find traces of an ancient, lost indo-Arian religion in the Himalayas. Some occult leaders in the SS were convinced that Tibetan Lamas are the key holders of these Indo-Arian Mysteries. Beger is highly respected by the Government of Tibet in Exile as a chief witness for the political independence of the country in the 30’s and 40’s of the last century.
Nearly unknown until now are the contacts of the Dalai Lama with the French SS-collaborator, convinced anti-Semite, recognised Orientalist and Kalachakra Tantra Expert Jean Marquès-Rivière (in his absence convicted and given the death sentence for turning Jews over to the Gestapo in France). The founder of an esoteric Hitler movement the ex-Chilean diplomat Miguel Serrano (promoter of an extremely racist SS-mysticism, which is based on Tantric practices and on the idea of the Shambhala Warriors) met the Dalai Lama four times.
Well known became his relationship with the Japanese terrorist, Shoko Asahara, whom he described, even after the Tokyo sarin gas attacks, as his "friend, albeit an imperfect one”. Only later he did distance himself from the Guru. Asahara's Doomsday Philosophy was mainly influenced by the Shambhala Ideology and by Tibetan Tantrism.
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