Friday, July 03, 2009

Of Comic Books, Buddhist Blogs, Third Eyes, and Parenting

Over at the Our Practice Sucks So We Do This Instead blog (which one? pick one) they are heralding the Green Lama comic books from the 1940s, and of course name-dropping, which is pretty much the stock-in-trade on buddhablogs (along with politically correct angst --- got to have lots of P.C. angst--- and oh yeah, bittersweet rainbows --- got to have lots of bittersweet rainbows --- throw in some whimsy, too, while you're at it).

Tricycle has the street creds on Green Lama. Their copy editor, Karen Ready, is the daughter of the comic book's creator. Hmmm... that explains a lot of things. His other daughter, Kendra Burroughs, is a senior editor at Shambhala. Hmm... that explains even more. So it is true, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Damn Kagyu literary empires...

Speaking personally, I like to bet on horses, so my daughter grew up to be a veterinarian. You should have been there the bright, sunny day we hit Santa Anita with Yeshe Dorje. We bearded odds on the mudders, and then the old rascal made it rain. Hey... somebody has to pay for the butter in the butterlamps, and getting donations out of you lot is worse than interrogating al-Qa'ida operatives.

Of course, we trump Tricycle all over the map, because Jethro Dumont himself is one of the authors of Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar. If you click on either of the two covers, above, you will be magically transported to a place where you can purchase the Green Lama, and read all about Jethro's exploits, thus helping the poor Cinderellas Karen and Kendra make ever more glorious donations to Shambhala International. Tip: sign up through Ashoka, and then you can truly, utterly, completely say that you gave at the office.

Never mind.

I did not come here today to write about the Green Lama. I came here today to write about Tuesday Lobsang Rampa (1910 -1981).

Many years ago, I was living in London, dating a literary agent, who lived in Surrey. We used to drive down to her place and spend the weekend discussing literature. We started out with Great Expectations, then came War and Peace, and finally, Gone With the Wind.

Anyway, while we were still at the Great Expectations stage, she confided that she was representing an author named Lobsang Rampa, nee Carl Kuon Suo, nee Cyril Hoskins, and would I like to meet him should I find myself in Calgary.

Like all well-bred Englishwomen of her class, her idea of foreign travel was visiting Scotland to kill something. She had the vague idea that Canada and America were proximate to one another, and that Americans could pop 'round whenever they liked to a warm reception. The poor thing did not realize that Americans and Canadians are bitter enemies, and that crossing the Canadian border is like trying to sneak through the Berlin Wall before Reagan and the CIA bought the thing from the KGB with junk bonds, triggering the economic collapse of the Soviet Union, and its transformation from a Marxist state into a Mafia state.

Will somebody tell the Italian communists that they have it backwards?

Anyway.... where were we? Oh, yes... would I like to meet Lobsang Rampa?

Now, anybody who was alive in the 1950s and 1960s, and interested in Tibet, and sits there and tells you that they have never read Lobsang Rampa, is a no good liar. Matter of fact, I do so despise intellectual hypocrisy in all its forms that I'm going to bang on the closet door and wake up the skeletons.

There are three things for certain that I know all of you nasty old boomers read: Lobsang Rampa's Third Eye, David-Neel's Magic and Mystery in Tibet, and Timothy Leary's Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. You read 'em and you loved 'em, and you wanted more, and that is why you went wandering off in a cloud of smoke to see the lamas in Nepal, and that is why you became Buddhists.

Bunch of disingenuous smart-asses....

You read those books and they infected your consciousness and your motivations. You wanted a Third Eye. You wanted to travel long distances, fleet of foot. You wanted to trip the light fantastic.

Later, you were told that first you had to love all sentient beings.

So... O.K., we can do that... so, yeah... why not?

But you and I both know what you really wanted was that Third Eye.

You wanted that Third Eye, and you still do, and that is why your practice sucks.

Even Tarthang Rinpoche put you to work. Even Trungpa Rinpoche cleaned you up, put a suit on you, and gave you a way to make a living by selling his blood.

You still want that Third Eye!

You might have said a zillion mantras. You might have offered millions of mandalas. You might have empowerments in the thousands. You might think this is enough to pay off your naughtiness and your mischief, but it doesn't work that way. To activate the Green Lama's super-powered naughtiness balancing properties, these things have to be done in the presence of bodhicitta. Without the presence of bodhicitta as the single motivating factor, all those zillions, millions, and thousands are just a feather on a leaden scale.

You might think, "Yeah, well... screw heart bleeds," but why should we kid each other? You know damn well that despite all your posturing, if you go to Tibet and see some toothless old hag spinning her prayer wheel, all got up in a chuba, her face all split, you're going to hang out the window and put the Nikon on her quicker than grass through a goose.

And you're going to call that what?

Throw away those god damn comics, get rid of that pulp fiction, flush that god damn dope, stop picking your nose, and blogging that bullshit, and start loving all sentient beings before I show you a bittersweet rainbow you won't soon forget!

And one more thing....

Go clean up your room!

Keywords: Another post that will not win any 'Best Buddhist Writing" awards, name dropping, politically correct angst, bittersweet rainbows, whimsy, comic books, pulp fiction, enlightenment in one lifetime in one body, importance of bodhicitta, parody of stereotypical parental authoritarianism, Santa Anita, Yeshe Dorje, Shambhala, world politics, everybody named here, one particularly memorable weekend in Surrey, Great Books, and no, I never did bother to visit Calgary.

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1 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with "Magic And Mystery In Tibet," you jackass. She was writing correctly about Dzogchen decades before anyone else ever heard of it in the west.