There’s an old acquaintance out there in the real world who was properly raised in a very old, very established family. Not only is he unusually ‘well bred’ (don’t kid yourself : people do care about that, especially people in ‘well bred’ circles), but the ‘community’ he’s existed within from conception is part of a social network whose history revolves around the symbiosis of certain deeply entrenched privileges with obligations as mutually cultivated embodiments of ‘dharma’-like leadership for what is now commonly referred to as ‘the empire’. Some members of his family, extended and immediate, are or were famous for their contributions to the empire’s cultural heritage while others are better understood as local celebrities within a very tightly knit circle of ‘leaders’, to use the term loosely. Like many within his ‘community’ who are also ambitious and very comfortable in school — especially one owned, operated and populated by their community — this acquaintance ended up going from a very old and well-reputed private school to one of the oldest most well-reputed universities in the world. Perhaps it was because of his academically comfortable ambition or perhaps it was because his family underwent a tragedy at an early age and he was the youngest of several children but whatever the ultimate mutually cultivated reasons, his drive and talents, both innate and acquired over the course of his upbringing, led him to opt for grad studies obtaining a traditional masters then a Phd, both also at world famous universities. As he grew into a successful young man like most in his crowd, his persona matured to full fruition, increasingly evidencing his role within his social network. One of several programmed formats within a broad spectrum of long held traditions that members of his community can and usually do pursue, the good natured gentleman academic brought to far away places by a desire to lead an ethically productive life…along with a quiet but very strong identification with his empire, was obviously the slot he had grown into, or selected. Albeit in different ways for different reasons, the hereditary and socio-economic background from which his independent individual ‘selections’ along his journey sprung are just as easily understood as mutually selected outcomes within his community as would be the case for anyone else. Without dwelling on the extent to which certain choices were his or those of others, there is one particular choice that I found most revealing. Its revelations are of special interest for not only exposing the ease with which plebeian perceptions are tended away from barely hidden yet nonetheless secretive features of the empire’s upper crust, but for simultaneously shedding light on the empire’s use of universities as part of a self-regulating and self-optimizing trans-generational management system.
The old acquaintance (who I was never very close to) took up…or grew into, his selected role with far and large acknowledgement of his suitability for the centuries old tradition along with general celebration of his academic prowess with the quiet acclaim of expected superiority or destiny that distinguishes his crowd. Whether he will end up as a tenured professor in a university he’d agree to work out of, which would likely be restricted to a small percentage of campuses, remains uncertain. However, what has already been permanently recorded as a publication that he can add to his CV, is an ivory tower book ‘written’ (doubtfully) by a certain heroic mind and rock star, that he edited. It’s a super important book written by a rock star whose unique and much lauded mass appeal has transcended the need to sing or play any instrument. In fact, this rock star’s unique transcendence has even transcended transcendentalism and perhaps also sainthood. Talk about this rock star bringin’ it! He must be so uber cool that he really brought it, didn’t he? Still, we might benefit from taking a step back to broaden our awesome understanding of metaphysics because like so many mutually crystallized choices made in the multiverse, it might be more accurate to say that ‘we’…or our beloved imperial leaders, bishops, and other representatives I guess…also brought him and his awesomeness. In fact, what better ‘teachable moment’ than this to appreciate our co-originated interdependence that will have brought him to us to bring it. Because, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I am after all talking about the greatest rock star ever who quite naturally, is a widely celebrated buddhist with unprecedented popular appeal. No, I’m not talking about George Lucas nor am I referring to David Lynch, although that’s probably a pretty close guess. I’m talking about the other DL : ‘ THE ‘ , ‘Dalai Lama ! ‘ .
What an apparently wonderful confluence of events for the planet. A great mind with a passion for HH (that’s ‘His Holiness’…) Dalai Lama’s wealth of toweringly sophisticated insight into reality, at once radically metaphysical and pragmatic, has nobly undertaken to fulfill his service to the world as a more evolved scholar and imperial peace leader, by helping translate and then editing His Holiness’s newest gift to the mysteriously important and implicitly but inexplicably superior field of philosophy in the form of a philosophical treatise on ethics. It must be inconceivably better written than anything else on the planet since that is at least one remaining explicit feature of modern day philosophy that the ‘philosophers’ apparently think they can still legitimately claim about themselves and which a few despairing hangers on try to pretend is constitutive of its own self manifested analytical content when they’re not embarrassing themselves telling the rest of the world that they’re the ones doing science (true story). Still though, it is after all the super elite field of tibetan buddhism. Not just any buddhism, which is already better than any hinduism. So in this case the conceptual analysis (which doesn’t require evidence since it’s a harry potter wizard…) must also be packed full of radically life changing and ‘spiritually’…no psychologically, no better than that, philosophically! enlightening intellectually rigorous content. Much like His Holiness, the gentleman scholar working for the empire’s peace as a beneficent, more evolved and categorically superior mind, offers us all a much needed example of what is almost the same moral character and seriousness of intellectual superiority, that this era’s living philosopher king, His Holiness, apparently provides for humanity. So it’s at once wonderful and no wonder at all that so many superior minds among the true scholars of the world have evolved into scholarship about buddhism and in particular that of The Dalai Lama. The miracle lama, whose impressive depth of ethical discourse, universal spiritual compassion, and incalculably valuable philosophical contributions to humanity, both academic and boldly but gracefully applied in our often distressed world, are a shining example of comprehensively developed, fully, and uncompromisingly, true lived philosophy of the greatest importance.
Yes, in what would probably seem like an unprecedented phenomenon to most people (including me), the gentlemanly imperial scholars of the past couple of decades have been mutually steered toward increasingly bolstered explorations of timelessly vacuous navel-gazing nonsense, now paradoxically superior for tackling the perennially self-negating flaky void of rational limitation, under the recently ennobled rubric of ‘buddhism’. In fact, for the brightest and the luckiest, for the most promising of the empire, the friendly steering is entirely submerged inside not only tibetan but dalai lamaian ‘buddhism’, within which they can further ennoble the plight of the tibetan people…and their empire’s wellbeing. It seems a bit of a novel approach for ‘the academy’ since ‘his holiness’ is primarily known for being the exiled leader of a minority group of monks in tibet who enjoys sharing his beautifully simple yet sublimely sophisticated talking points at well publicized events buzzing with excitement in the growing world…or void…of the most recent multimedia platforms. The tibetan ‘leader’ seems especially fond of the growing webosphere…or emptiness…of social media which as we all know, is a great new vehicle by which to solve the world’s problems through ‘education’… Come to think of it, unless I’m mistaken, mr. lama holiness has turned out to be a cutting edge success in the social justice war to free the tibetans (or maybe just tibet) from chinese oppression (or maybe just china), rightly brought to the world’s attention by the grace of the usa’s long history of concern for international justice and human rights. Thankfully, however, we needn’t entertain any misgivings about usa dishonesty resulting from our ‘superior’ appreciations of nasty yankee meddling greed because if all ‘respectable’ countries are double 100% behind this cause, then that makes it a universally lauded and therefore reassuringly credible one to ‘superior’ minds…well, to all minds in the empire at any rate. Which does NOT include me.
Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, I had been introduced to a popular retreat in ‘the far east’ so respectable and well recommended that it was all about tibetans and mr. lama. Oh, and sort of about buddhism as well. Especially about how buddhism is indescribably superior to hinduism despite and as demonstrated by the fact that for lesser ‘beings’ (meaning ? don’t worry, it’s tibetan) it can be so very difficult to grasp that to the truly inferior it can actually, believe it or not, mistakenly appear to conceptually amount to…exactly the same as hinduism. This befuddling attitude, among other lacklustre experiences including no doubt my tragic inferiority, reduced the retreat and its surrounding characters to a bit of a circus in my eyes. While the circus show was at least memorable for providing a few stories of eccentric (questionable) curiosity, very little to nothing within the tibetan buddhism or its spiritual embodiment by the monks, merited being remembered. As a result, I belonged to a small handful of dissenters (all of whom, it’s worth noting, were non-anglos) among the general mass of perennial travellers making its way along the most racist excursion on the planet, that was completely and hopelessly disinterested in tibetan buddhism. That I was a real “no-hoper” was irretrievably confirmed by my especially fervent disinterest in the “DL” in particular, whose appearance at a speaking event successfully herded backpackers and ennobled do-gooders from around the world toward the rock star’s massive show that, we had all been (told) telling each other, was a once in a lifetime event that would be “like a second woodstock”. Anyone who was in that country during the ’90s will know that I am in no way exaggerating. But hey, according to most anglos that’s totally normal. Only weirdos would think that’s suspicious and only dangerously anti-social cynics would be turned off from something obviously innocuous that is actually a very positive blessing for the more evolved. Or so the masses and their imperial thought leaders would suggest. Regardless, in the end, for a variety of reasons including my lack of attraction to the tibetan buddhist dalai lama phenomenon, I didn’t go and largely forgot about it and him. For a few years anyway.
I’ll never know whether I was unwittingly steered by internet algorithms but I did revisit DL’s stardom years later from a very different vantage point. Sometime around 2007/8, shortly after viewing a DL video that included Nina Hagen gushing (to the extent that she can) over the inexhaustible well of positive evolutionary genius that DL apparently embodies, I finally found reason to articulate my impression about him. I found it truly ridiculous that someone be worshiped for contributions to the world consisting of almost embarrassingly facile buddhist-esque aphorisms that wouldn’t even make it onto a Hallmark card. How then, I asked myself, has he become such a worshiped household name and more bizarrely, a subject of enormously bolstered academic study elevated to the pinnacle of the ivory tower? I was already cynical, yes, but this isn’t a case of personal taste or paranoid inferences alone. Compared to other academic work that receives the same kind of deference and elevated status, there is no question that the DL tibetan phenomenon cannot be justified by anyone objective and sane. Eventually something struck me that finally made sense.
A simple fact that everyone must know is that the tibetan phenom in question had obviously ended up being useful to the empire’s affairs in china. Why should knowing that detract from his appeal though? He happens to be a lama who was the (minority) leader of people oppressed by the chinese, so it’s just a lucky coincidence for the usa and for the oppressed tibetans, as internalized by most everyone in the empire. Except that even in that context he is an uncommonly celebrated figure. He is sought after for events and photo ops by a wide spectrum of internationally important people who bestow a uniquely undisturbed presumption of universal confidence and support upon him. All that interest for someone who, despite being glaringly useless beneath his superficial talking points can nevertheless be surprisingly useful to the empire and is correspondingly valued. How did he become an icon that the important half of the world and its leaders could coalesce around as a symbol of everything most right, unquestionably just and mysteriously intellectually relevant? I think I can explain it : he has been moulded into a live actor version of Yoda from Star Wars.
In my youth I really enjoyed the Star Wars movies and word is that most other people on the planet also did. As an adult (sort of) I don’t think even the original trilogy would really move me the way it did when I was ten. Unfortunately for most of us however, it doesn’t have to in order to serve its most important purpose, which is to imprint certain characters into our impressionable minds for later use against us as adults. It seems to work extremely well, especially if the target population (victims) isn’t consciously aware of it. Perhaps it’s working so well that the unawares bit isn’t even necessary anymore or might be holding back the overwhelming, even unexpected success of the exercise in question because apparently at some point in recent years, the empire decided to go ahead and let a few adults know that their beloved childhood guide and hero, Yoda, was inspired by a prominent tibetan rinpoche. Or rather, by a tibetan rinpoche who was portrayed as being very prominent in the west. I’d never heard it alluded to before, at least not consciously. I believed that the similarity between Yoda and DL was not intended to be widely discussed because if the usa ‘crowd’ wanted to use tibetan lamas for propaganda, which they did and do, Yoda was actually too different from DL for the tibetan emigre to survive the comparison under scrutiny. Which would render any such plans largely ineffective. So it’s much more likely that the Yoda character hadn’t originally been inspired by a rinpoche comrade of DL but rather was itself the model from which lamas of interest to the usa ‘crowd’ , i.e. DL, were to draw inspiration after the fact for public performances increasingly valued by the empire in its ‘relations’ with china. The generic star wars Jedis obviously resemble Japanese Samurai more than any tibetan rinpoche. Moreover, Yoda specifically has more in common with the famous chinese warrior monks of Shaolin and other kung fu legends in popular mythology than a rinpoche from a minority religious order among tibetans whose sole genuine significance to ‘the free world’ — which comprises his *only* significance in any world — is his utility as a fully costumed extra for an exercise in anti china propaganda. Yes, that’s right : Yoda’s role as member of the Samurai-like ‘Jedis’ is as a particularly evolved, wiser version resembling warrior monk legends who are sometimes not even buddhist but taoist and who are always, however inconveniently, chinese. Unfortunately the propaganda’s usefulness is exclusively derived from emotionally manipulative, caricatured appropriations of eastern warrior monks in the form of child fairy friend ‘Yoda’ …not a piece of shit obscure tibetan zero who’s conveniently deemed a ‘rinpoche’, like that’s even supposed to matter. ! Matter it does but! for tibetan stooge, tibetan stooge for matters I say! For noble tibetan, I say, usa! Turns out tibetan stooge # 123 got lucky ’cause that’s what they’re looking for in the follow up movies to Star Wars that they call news, world peace conferences, scholarly publications, academic authority on religions, on social justice, on international law, on buddhism and now on philosophy and ethics. It’s such an incredible stretch that for anyone who happens to have slipped through the cracks of the empire’s social conditioning (brainwashing) it’s completely transparent.
Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh at it but as the ridiculous gives way to the surreal and grotesque that logically follows, what had initially been funny soon becomes unsettling. Perhaps that helps explain why the comments I’d occasionally posted, explicitly pointing out that DL sounds and acts a bit more like Yoda every year and is obviously being coached with that goal in mind, were seemingly unworthy of any acknowledgement let alone response. Too short on humour or just too acidic for people to want or be able to engage with, whatever the reasons, I will never be entirely sure why they were universally ignored. Much more concerning however, is the realization that the empire’s ongoing all-important imperative of herding population groups toward selected beliefs is so successfully achieved so easily, even (or perhaps especially) with the more intellectually advantaged academics. It’s been that realization and the consequently reconfigured understanding of the empire’s imposed external social reality, not tibetan buddhism — and least of all DL’s roundly affirmed but invisible magnanimous brilliance — that I have retained.
Since then I recently noticed another pointedly imposing and shamelessly venerating reference to ‘His Holiness’ by the old acquaintance, that prompted me to contemplate a meme by which DL would be mockingly identified with Yoda. Starting with basic publicly available information linking the two together in the event that such memes already exist, I StumbledUpon some shady websites that seemed promising. Indeed, it would seem that a connection between tibetan lamas, DL and Yoda had already been introduced into a select social group’s chatter, based on the supposedly authoritative words of a prominent ‘scholar’ on buddhism whose place within the empire is of a significantly more active and seemingly more powerful ‘community’ than that of my old acquaintance. The websites in question claim that the creators of Star Wars were inspired by a rinpoche when they were in Dharmsala and consequently created the Yoda character, based of course on tibetan buddhist superstars such as a western pet rinpoche or say, The Dalai Lama. I was curious about when this idea was first introduced to the general public since I’d never heard it before and my previous comments about it which I’d posted no later than 2010 were left conspicuously unattended to, as if either unforgivably banal or mysteriously offensive to a deeply seated rigidity about ‘the’ DL. Is the inevitable, naturally occurring awareness that ‘DL’ is like a live actor version of Yoda being obscured from mass consciousness so that it doesn’t undermine his undeniably true, or at least primary, importance to the empire? It’s hard not to wonder.
A website called Lions Roar has an article dated from May of 2015 posted which states that according to the ‘buddhist scholar’ they seem to think highly of, George Lucas met the above mentioned rinpoche in Dharmsala and used him as a model for Yoda. The rinpoche in question was apparently a “debate partner” (sounds pretty hardcore) and tutor of…THE one & only Dalai Lama. Further down, the article quotes a paragraph in one of the buddhist scholar’s publications stating that “…upon seeing him in Dharmsala …the makers of the popular film Star Wars decided to use him as the model for Yoda…”.
The article additionally mentions a book published in 2005 about buddhism’s presence in the Star Wars movies and a supposedly “now-internet-famous” buddhist east asian illustration of Yoda as a bodhisatva that I’ve never seen before or heard of. In between the adorations for buddhism, Star Wars, and DL especially is a link to the supposedly meme-famous illustrator’s apparently famous unknown post, revealing that it was posted in 2011…potential for manipulation of time stamps aside.
Here is what is next to the top of the Lions Roar article :
“[Rinpoche] had these deep, deep wrinkles on his forehead; it was the model for Yoda in Star Wars,”
…said [‘scholar’] in a talk.”
On the website the word “said” is highlighted as a hyperlink very obviously suggesting that it links to the scholar’s same talk that contains the quote. Clicking on it does bring up one of the scholar’s written discussions about buddhism but I fear that it might be one of those good old buddhist ‘jewels’ that simultaneously gifts the reader with enlightenment while also causing absent-mindedness. Try as I did, my attempt to find that quote or anything else remotely verifiable that could provide a credible example of the empire’s apparently unconcerned public statements that DL is like a real life Yoda proved fruitless.
There’s also a link to the buddhist scholar’s quoted article entitled ‘The Portrait of [XX] Rinpoche” which takes you to another website containing a section of the article unsparingly entitled “Rinpoche’s Role as an Assistant to the Dalai Lama”. It includes the quoted paragraph and then goes on to talk about how awesome DL is and how similar he is to Yoda. The problem however, is that it doesn’t have a verifiable date. It does begin with a conspicuously date conscious discussion about said buddhist’s recollection of events in 1998…but there is, in fact, no date provided for this supposedly authoritative publication. If an interested reader takes the trouble to navigate through site they will find a list of published works by the scholar. However, the supposedly authoritative article that the very loud article on the Lions Roar site prominently advertises three times, all peppered with weasel words, is not on the list.
I’ve added a few non-english publication listings below…of which there are many, just in case one of them having the rinpoche’s name might be the authoritative article containing the carefree remark about DL being Yoda. The publication page on this site, which appears to be overseen by the scholar but also has a large number of assistants, guides the navigator in red letters at the top to their “new” website. The new improved website seems to differ from the old “archives” only in so far as it doesn’t provide a list of publications. It also doesn’t provide the long list of assistants, some of whom are presented with name and photograph in the “archives”. I didn’t bother investigating the famed and apparently super authoritative ‘buddhist’ scholar’s personal details but to cut to the chase, one of the ‘advisors’ who can still be found in a hard to find section of the less appealing original, now ‘archives’, page is named israel.
Below are a few links to the pages and articles. However, it should by now be obvious that the most relevant link I might provide for this entry would be to one of the quietly released, jewish authored and supposedly totally not worried articles about how jews run hollywood. You must’ve heard of them by now. You know, the ones that were introduced to the ‘others’ after everyone and their dog began to have trouble organizing their ‘well-founded beliefs’ about exactly which part of the well-known ‘anti-semitic canard’…was the canard.
Life and practices of honour Serkong Rinpochee.Part 1–3. Maitreya to full journal (Emst). 9, no. 1(1987); to full. 9, no. 2 (1987); to full. 9, no. 3(1987). Reprint, notes concerning living TsenshapSerkong Rinpochee. In Atisha and TsenshapSerkong Rinpochee, a lamp for the path to theVerlichtung. Emst: Publisher Maitreya, 1996.
(Coeditor with Jonathan Landaw) Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Il Potere della Saggezza. Roma: Ubaldini Editore, 1977.
(Coeditor with Jonathan Landaw) Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. L’Énergie de la Sagesse. Lavaur: Institut Vajra Yogini, 1985.
(Coeditor with Jonathan Landaw) Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Wisdom-Energy I. Honolulu: Publications for Wisdom Culture, 1976. Reprint: London: Wisdom Publications, 1982.
Matthew Bortolin “The Dharma of Star Wars” 2005.