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 did show the XIV Dalai Lama between Bruno Beger on his right and Heinrich Harrer on his left (In 2003:  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.


Stephens: It seems that this ideological discussion is being raised globally. For us in California, it is quite relevant in light of the California recall and recent political attack on “Terminator” candidate Schwarzenegger’s Austrian Nazi connections with Waldheim. But after probing more deeply we understand that he’s actually one of the largest contributors to Holocaust Awareness education and the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance. I was concerned however, about the uncritical acceptance of the Dalai Lama at that ceremony, understanding some of the connections he has with prominent Neo-Nazis.


Trimondi:  Yes, it is astonishing why the Jewish Community is so uncritical vis-à-vis the Dalai Lama. On 09.04.03 the Swiss Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported, that the Tibetan religious leader said on a journey in Jerusalem: Hitler would also have the potential of a good man in himself. Hitler was not born as a wicked man, his hatred of the Jewish people made him malicious and this hatred must be battled.  But this doesn’t mean that there was not also lying dormant some Goodness in Hitler. A wicked man can be tomorrow a good man, said the Dalai Lama. For this we have to fight.


Also if such a statement can be interpreted as an expression of Buddhist compassion, it seems tasteless remembering the murdering of six million Jews by the Nazis and the death of millions and millions of war victims on the account of Hitler’s madness. There would be a worldwide protest, if for example the Pope or a Western statesman made such a sympathetic remark on the most prominent mass murderer in human history, especially if such a remark is done in Israel, where many survivors of the Holocaust and their children are living.


Stephens: And then there’s the Hollywood connection.  Exactly, what is so attractive to the Dalai Lama about Hollywood?


Trimondi: Hollywood films are the most powerful vectors of fantasy ever known to humankind. So the extensive and well known connection of the Dalai Lama with the film world and with famous actors and actresses is certainly an effective propaganda instrument. Since the nineties, Tibet, the Tibetan God King and Tibetan Buddhism have been glorified by the most prominent film-directors, neglecting even a minimum of critique of Tibet’s feudalistic and bloody past controlled by a despotic monk aristocracy with absolute power.


Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Little Buddha” or Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun” are constructions of a virtual Tibet, which never did exist. Even the ancient anti-Nazi tradition of the American film-fabric was broken, when Jean Jacques Annaud brought out “Seven years in Tibet”. This film with Brad Pitt is a mystification and hero worship of the former SS-man Heinrich Harrer who in the forties became the teacher of the young Dalai Lama. In his book Virtual Tibet (2000) Orville Schell details the “incredible” story of one of the most effective delusions in the film world: The Tibet Fantasies of Hollywood.


Stephens: I remember running into Richard Gere at the Wiesenthal Museum Peace Prize presentation and discovered that his Foundation has financed the building of over 300 sand Mandalas throughout the continental US. What exactly is a sand Mandala? Do these Monk’s Mandala tours have some other purpose than an art display? Why should we be concerned?


Trimondi: A Mandala is a sacred pictogram; one also can call it a “magic circle”. It is an instrument to evoke the gods, goddesses and demons of the Tantric pantheon. For a modern Western approach, in which religion and arts are not yet unified, the Mandala is a work of art. However, in the Lamaist tradition where there is no difference between the aesthetic and the sacred and where art is always sacred art, the Mandala is a spiritual power vortex, an assembly point of gods and demons, a palace of the divine, a spiritual battery from where powerful energies are radiating. It is also connected with the Lamaist idea that the place, where the Mandala is erected, stands under the absolute control of its divine or, we would say, demonic “inhabitants”.


The intricate Mandala, constructed during the Kalachakra Ceremony, is made with coloured sand and symbolizes the whole universe. At the end of the ritualistic performance the sand construction will be destroyed by the Tibetan monks. The so called “dismantling” of the sand Mandala symbolizes the destruction of the world and of the universe. This is part of the apocalyptic Doomsday Scenarios in the Kalachakra prophecies which culminate in a final battle and the End of our planet. Nevertheless the construction and destruction of the Mandala is presented by the Dalai Lama as a contribution to world peace.


Although one would desire to believe in its peace producing energy, realistically one has to accept, that the construction of this magic circle after more than 25 years in the West has brought no more appeasement to the people than it did in Tibet which has suffered much. The aggressive and terrorist energies have become more and stronger in our world and the clash of religions has become an everyday-problem in politics. Is it not evident that the construction of 300 sand Mandalas throughout the U.S. you are speaking of has not contributed peace to this country? History on the contrary has proceeded in the opposite direction and is on the way of destruction and war.


In our studies it was alarming to find that following the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 a Wheel of Time (Kalachakra) Sand Mandala was built in the lobby of Tower One.  For over thirty days, many of the World Trade Center workers and visitors were invited by the Tibetan Monks to participate in the construction of this Mandala. When the Dalai Lama visits New York in the next days, we would ask: Why the terrible event of 9/11 could happen at the World Trade Center that was consecrated by the so called “Circle of Peace,” the Kalachakra Sand Mandala, the same mandalas that were unable to prevent the destruction of 7500 monasteries of Tibet? In this context a sentence of the Tantra expert and Indian scholar Shashi Bhusan Dasgupta may be remarkable: "The word Kala means time, death and destruction. Kala-Chakra is the Wheel of Destruction."


We just did find in the Internet a statement of a participant of the WTC Kalachakra Ceremony, which seems really revealing especially because it is made by an initiand of the Tantra: “The topic shifted to the Kalachakra Mandala that was made at One World Trade Center. I was at the dissolution ceremony there, may be around '96. The monks gathered up all the sand from the Mandala at 1WTC, put it in a vase, then carried it across the bridge into World Financial Center through the Winter Garden, then dumped the sand ceremoniously into the Hudson River for the sake of World Peace. The surface of the river glittered with the afternoon sun, and I cried. 5 years later, the whole building is gone, just like the sand Mandala.”


In contrary to this, Robert Thurman, the “academic godfather of the Tibetan cause” (Time Magazine) saw a dream (September 1979) the Dalai Lama as an absolute King and Kalachakra God reigning New York City. “The night before he [the Dalai Lama] landed in New York, I dreamed he was manifesting the pure land mandala palace of the Kalachakra Buddha right on top of the Waldorf Astoria building. The entire collection of dignitaries of the city, mayors and senators, corporate presidents and kings, sheikhs and sultans ,celebrities and stars—all of them were swept up into the dance of 722 deities of the three buildings of the diamond palace like pinstriped bees swarming on a giant honeycomb. The amazing thing about the Dalai Lama’s flood of power and beauty was that it appeared totally effortless. I could feel the space of His Holiness’s heart, whence all this arose. It was relaxed, cool, an amazing well of infinity” Thurman did interpret this dream as a prophecy.


Stephens: From your experience in the Kalachakra Debate in Europe and your observation of mass media’s romantic portrayal of Tibet, what are the potential dangers to other faiths, including Buddhism and democracy of this growing Shambhala myth?


Trimondi: Tibetan Buddhism, like the New Age of the eighties appears to be the “trendy religion” of the new millennium. But it is much more than the charismatic appearance of the Dalai Lama and his speeches about compassion, peace and happiness. The danger lies in that the Kalachakra Tantra ritual subtlety builds an ideological foundation for a future “war of religions.”  If the problematic contents of this archaic belief are not openly discussed, they may present a dangerous ideological challenge to the positive legacy of Western Civilization and Democratic institutions.  There is also no doubt that the Kalachakra ideology proposing  the establishment of Buddhocratic rule, a universal Emperor (Chakravartin) , violence, the licence to kill and the waging of a Buddhist holy war are in direct opposition to the original peaceful teachings of  Sakyamuni Buddha. Concerning this discrepancy between the aggressive contents of the Kalachakra Tantra and the original peaceful Dharma, taught by the historic Buddha, we have formulated Eight Questions to the Dalai Lama.


Stephens: Serious talks of the Dalai Lama’s return to China before the Olympics are beginning to leak into the media. How will this impact the future of the West?


Trimondi: We are really uneasy, if you ask us, as to what may potentially happen if this “Buddhist-Jihad-Ideology” of the Kalachakra Tantra will become a new vision of the Chinese political self-understanding.  Will the much more peaceful and softer philosophy of Daoism and Confucianism be replaced by the “Shambhala Warrior Doctrine”, which was once propagated in thirties by the Japanese Shinto-Fascists to mobilize the Mongolian minorities of Manchuria and West China? If the present situation in Europe is any indicator, we must say that we are alarmed as we witness the rising interest in Germany of Fascist, Neo-fascist and Nazi-intellectuals and in Asia of a terrorist like the Japanese Doomsday Guru Shoko Asahara in the ideological concepts of the Shambhala War of the Kalachakra Tantra. This should be a Menetekel, that the “writing is on the wall” as a major wake-up call for the West. 


The Shadow of the Dalai Lama – Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism (1999) is available online in English and “Hitler – Buddha – Krishna – an Unholy Alliance from the Third Reich to Today” (2002) is also a German Bestseller and is being translated into English.






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