Sexuality, Magic, and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism






(English version)


Baseler Zeitung - Aurel Schmidt - December 1999

Berner Zeitung - Hans Peter Roth - May 1999

Facts No. 9 - Patrick Mauron and Stephanie Riedi - March 1999

Publik Forum - "The Shadow of Tibetan Buddhism" - Norbert Copray - April 1999

Ab 40 - Greta Tüllman - January 2000

Woman World Wide - June 1999

Evangelical Office of Information - Georg Schmid - August 1999

Gesundheit (Natur-Mensch-Technik) - September 1999

Badische Zeitung - Johannes Schradl - March 1999

Novalis - Günter Röschert - October 1999

Different Press Voices

Baseler Zeitung - Aurel Schmidt - December 1999

Religion in global era - Questions for Buddhism

Every day, life goes on in Tibet and the country changes a little more, not necessarily for the better. Daily the cityscape of old Lhasa moves another step closer to destruction; in Lhasa and Xigatze, the two largest cities in the country, the Chinese population is now in the majority. The Tibetans have becomes strangers in their own country. Progress has undoubtedly been made, but the Chinese occupation cannot be justified by this. When China claims to respect and support Tibet’s cultural independence, then one has to ask why, for example, the portrait of the Dalai Lama has disappeared from all the monasteries in Tibet. Not to mention the political indoctrination and the religious restrictions, particularly in the monasteries. The Tibetans talk quite openly to tourists about such matters.

But one can also nevertheless ask whether an Asian power play between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership is not involved. The Dalai Lama is winning over ever more followers in the West; the Chinese leadership is extending its influence in Tibet and the rest of the world. It would not be surprising if the Dalai Lama were to return to Tibet with Chinese approval one day. Both sides could only win – yin and yang complementing each other. But this is something that the people in the post-Enlightenment West could hardly understand. They stick to what they believe, and thus fail to consider that people in Asia have completely different conceptions of time, action, influence, power, and so forth. The Dalai Lama is an excellent politician. Persistently, he pursues a goal that he never lets slip from view. He thinks, with no little success, in longer time spans. In this lies his superiority. The rationalists must therefore draw the short straw.

Two points of view

Buddhism under a Tibetan flag is slowly spreading in the West. Buddhism is modern, chic, and the Dalai Lama can rely on the Hollywood connection. The actress Goldie Hawn, from the American film city, is reported to have said, "I meditate and I feel sexy". Those who profess to Buddhism by now belong to the well-off, even when this is often a private Buddhism from which each and everyone has picked out the best for themselves.

Robert Thurman, an American professor of religious studies at Amherst and Harvard and an avowed Buddhist, as he says of himself, talks of a transformation of civilization and travels internationally, preaching a "cool" and "inner" revolution, and enthusing about a Buddhocracy or a "Buddhaverse", at any rate under US American control. Following the failure of Judeo-Christian utopianism, everyone with good intentions may participate. What is happening is a development which - in an allusion which can be traced back to the theory of "morphic resonance" of Rupert Sheldrake, also a confessed Buddhist - is "infectious". That is more edifying than scientific. Nonetheless, Buddhism should and will conquer the world.

Seen in total, Thurman’s book, Inner Revolution, is a frankly Buddhist and further a Tibetan propaganda document, even when it is everybody’s free choice what they make of it. There are things in the book which are downright appealing, but the book is definitely not multicultural or multi-religious (given it need be so).

That one can also see everything differently, and thus come to completely distinct conclusions is shown by another book, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama by Victor and Victoria Trimondi. What Thurman expresses emphatically, but also in a generalized and vague manner, Trimondi and Trimondi address frankly, without mincing words. Tantrism (Tibetan Buddhism), they say, is a theocracy, a conservative if not totalitarian, undemocratic, misogynist religion; the Dalai Lama, who incontestably holds spiritual and worldly power in his hands, a skillful "oriental despot", who presents himself outwardly as friendly and understanding, quick witted and humorous, but at heart inexorably pursues his goals. That critique from his own ranks is increasing in proportion to the number of people in the West flocking to him is another matter. There are two points which Trimondi and Trimondi make their central concern: on the one hand the sexual-magic tantric Kalachakra initiation rites, which for a small circle of initiates are taken beyond a spiritual visualization, and are in a practical and unequivocal sense carried out, to the disadvantage of women who are abused by terrible lamas (Sanskrit ‘guru’, actually teacher); and on the other hand the concept, linked with the Kalachakra Tantra (tantra means roughly doctrinal text, system of teachings), of a realm called Shambhala, from where, in the public version, the savior of the world will come, while for the initiated, Shambhala really means the world conquered by Buddhism.

800 pages of argumentation

Over 800 pages the Trimondis expand upon their arguments (behind the pseudonym are Herbert and Mariana Röttgen, who once ran the Trikont publishing house and also maintained close contacts with the Dalai Lama). Originally the two authors had wanted to write a completely different book, but as they began to better familiarize themselves with the material they became more and more alert. It was no different with the preparation of this review.

The scope of the book makes it impossible to go into all the details. An overall reference to the book must suffice here. Those who will, can gain fresh insights from it. Nobody must take it on as it is, but the objections, which are all well substantiated, are weighty enough to warrant being taken seriously. That the doubts advanced by the Trimondis might be manipulated by China would be too simple. All religions strive to increase their influence, as the Pope with his trip to India recently demonstrated to apply for Christianity in Asia. With regard to the psychological influence of the tantric rituals on the initiated as well as their sexual partners, the consequences can be serious. Far-reaching psychic changes can occur, as is known from (experience with) former members of sects for example. Connected to this is an extended power structure of lamas culminating in the Dalai Lama. The book by these two authors has understandably set off vehement controversies, which are published at length on the Internet. Perhaps the most important of these are the reactions of women, who in their commitment to Buddhism suffered as "sex slaves", as the American June Campbell has described in the ... book, Traveller in space about the role of women in Tantrism. What the Trimondis intend to achieve with their book is an engaged critique of religion. Christianity and Islam are also in their sights.

Religions are not just for obvious reasons authoritarian – in the age of globality the character of religions is also always changing. They are globalizing themselves, becoming increasingly aggressive, and more and more unyielding in their claims to possess the ultimate truth. But this is all happening in a time when people are ever more urgently searching for meaning and hope to find it in a religion, a disappointing realization. When meaning can only exist in some form of dependence, then it’s a false meaning. For many people, Buddhism is probably so attractive because it gets by without a personal God. It attempts to point out a way which the individual can pursue to free him- or herself from the cycle of entanglements of worldly existence. "Pop" or "instant" Buddhism, however, cannot achieve this. What the discussion triggered by the book by Trimondi and Trimondi has revealed, over and above its explicit content, is the need to critically examine Buddhism. Until now a great deal has been considered by many people probably either much too superficially or much too idealistically. In contrast to this, critical vigilance can very well accompany participation. A.S.

Berner Zeitung - Hans Peter Roth - May 1999

"Scratches in the mythical ‘God-King’s’ veneer"

In the latest books Hans Peter Roth discovers shadows over the blissful image of Tibet

The time for going easy on the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism is over. Forty years after the Chinese invasion, several authors at once have begun to violently shake up blissful Western clichés about the ostensibly peaceful Tibetan culture.

"False!" says the Dalai Lama with emphasis whilst the cameras roll, "Their claims are not true! There is no violence among Tibetans". In an episode of the "10 to 10" program the religious and worldly leader of the Tibetans reacted with irritation to critical questions from reporter Beat Regli. The Swiss TV personality had documented attacks among Tibetans in exile in India and wanted to discuss these with the Dalai Lama. And thereby obviously hit a raw nerve. Then the "God-King" is consistently protected by his entourage from everything which could tarnish the image of His Holiness or Tibetan Buddhism. "I was nevertheless perplexed at how aggressively and strained the Dalai Lama reacted to several questions", says Regli. The incensed reactions to Regli’s program show that we are not (yet) accustomed to critical talk about Tibetan culture and its sole leader, the Dalai Lama. Especially in Switzerland, the sympathy awakened by the brutal Chinese invasion of Tibet exactly 40 years ago remains particularly strong. Then a renowned community of exiled Tibetans lives here with monasteries of their own.

The "cuddly Buddha"

The ethnologist Elisabeth Oberfeld from Bern sees reasons for the one-sidedly positive view of Tibetan culture in the West: "The blissful image is based upon hopes and fantasies that ‘Shangri La’, a perfect world exists there, a sort of paradise on earth so to speak. The majority of the representations in the media, especially the big Hollywood productions like 'Kundun', 'Little Buddha' or 'Seven Years in Tibet' contribute to this blissful image." Idealizations and fantasies are systematically cultivated, the Tibetans one-sidedly presented as a peaceful and compassionate people. Other aspects of Tibetan reality on the other hand remain blanked out, claims Elisabeth Oberfeld, who has traveled in Tibet a total of six times.

But now the pendulum is swinging the other way, as the magazine Facts recently wrote: "Tibetan Buddhism is falling into discredit." This is in large measure attributable to the Dalai Lama himself. He has disqualified himself with his "publicity madness" and downgraded himself to the status of an "eternally smiling cuddly Buddha".

Helmut Gassner has also distanced himself from the Tibetan leader in the meantime. From 1979 to 1995 he was the Dalai Lama’s personal German translator and recalls a "very warn relationship" to him. Today he is shocked by the "contradictory statements, indeed lies of His Holiness".

Misogynist Tradition

Most recently, numerous freshly published books convey an unaccustomedly gloomy image of Tibetan culture. June Campbell, a religious studies scholar from Scotland, stresses misogynist aspects in the Tibetan system in her book Traveller in Space. There is no place for a self-determined subjectivity of the woman. She has personally experienced the consequences of masculine power, feminine dependency, and secrecy. Over many years she was the "secret sexual companion" of her teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, a highly revered "monk-lama". Yet, tantric-sexual relationships between teacher and pupil maintained in strict secrecy are not one-off cases, according to June Campbell: "They are just the tip of an iceberg of spiritual tradition, in which power structures, secrecy and exclusion play an important role."

Ritual sexual magic

The most intensive criticism comes from the newly published book The Shadow of the Dalai Lama by the German couple Victoria and Victor Trimondi alias Mariana and Herbert Röttgen. "A deeply misogynist culture appears on the Tibetan-Buddhist stage when the pacifist curtain of compassion is drawn aside", the publisher and the historian say in confirmation of the views of June Campbell, and they go further: iIn tantric sexual rites the feminine life force, the "gynergy" is bled out of women as "fuel". Then in sacred sexuality, in erotic love and particularly in the woman’s "gynergy" lies the chief energy source with which the mysto-political motor of the lamaistic system is driven, directly through ritual sexual magic. "In general, the profane and materialistically oriented West completely underestimates such connections", Victoria Trimondi is convinced: "We completely ignore the power of practices like the sexual ritual magic and the dangers they imply. In its one-sided spiritual orientation Western culture unfortunately refuses to open up a broad-ranging discussion on this topic. It blindly leaves the religions to their domain, under the condition that they abide by the laws of the state."

In total, in their more than 800-page book, the Trimondi couple summarize the Tibetan system as an "an at heart atavistic, fundamentalist, sexist, and warlike cultural design", which is striving towards a "global Buddhocracy". A cultural design which also fundamentally questions the Western values of democracy, freedom of opinion, human rights, sexual equality and humanism, although it constantly appeals to them.

Call for boycott

Opinions differ about The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: according to co-author Victoria Trimondi, their book is in roughly equal proportions well received and torn to pieces by the media. Peter Michel’s opinion for instance is scathing: "It would be desirable if readers seriously interested in Buddhism were to abstain from this book", says the chief and head of sales of the publisher Aquamarin in a two-page circular to bookshops in an indirect call for a boycott. The "concoction" is an "historical Tibet porno". That Michel’s esoteric publishing house has no interest in the criticism of the Dalai Lama is revealing, however: just last September Michel published The Path of Compassion, a book which lends the "God-King" an all too well-known radiant aura. But The Shadow of the Dalai Lama is selling well. "Precisely thanks to the controversy about the book", Victoria Trimondi believes. The authors are already at work preparing the third, revised edition.

And further trouble already threatens: Anytime now a polemic work by Jutta Ditfurth and Colin Goldner with the title Dalai Lama: A Biography is to appear. In it the sect investigator Goldner accuses the Tibetan leader of, among other things, "religious brainwashing".

Facts No. 9 - Patrick Mauron and Stephanie Riedi - March 1999


In the West he is revered and idolized as an angel of peace. Stars adorn themselves with His Holiness. And 1999 is the fortieth anniversary of his escape from Tibet. Now of all times critics are telling the DALAI LAMA where to get off.


Sexual abuse, contact with fascists, brainwashing - the accusations against the Dalai Lama are really something.

They criticize the Dalai Lama:

  • Victor and Victoria Trimondi:The author couple want to expose the peaceableness of the Dalai Lama as "a mask".
  • Colin Goldner The psychologist accuses the Dalai Lama of religious brainwashing.

The Buddha is the party sensation. Alongside techno parade, carnival and fireworks, the spiritual and worldly head of Tibet is the main attraction at the Fêtes de Genève in Geneva at the beginning of August: his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

There is barely a party without the 64-year-old jet-set monk. Whether film premiere or gala dinner, this year the Dalai Lama will hardly be absent from any celebrity occasion. The popularity of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is greater than ever before, 40 years after his escape and the suppression by the Chinese occupation of the Tibetan popular rebellion on the 10th of March 1959. Commemorative celebrations on the 40th anniversary are taking place all around the world. 1999 will be the year of the Dalai Lama.

Now of all times, at the zenith of this reverence for His Holiness, two books with explosive contents have appeared. The Buddha of compassion ought to be knocked from his pedestal. "Overnight, the god has become a demon", says the just published, 800- page strong, indictment The Shadow of the Dalai Lama by Victor and Victoria Trimondi. The author couple want to expose the peaceableness of the Dalai Lama as "a mask" and Tibetan Buddhism as "an at heart atavistic, fundamentalist, sexist, and warlike cultural design".

The second polemic, Dalai Lama: The Fall of the Godking by Colin Goldner, appears in April. The sect investigator accuses the Tibetan leader of religious brainwashing, maintaining contacts with right-wing radicals, and protecting a belief system in which women and girls are sexually abused. Goldner, a psychologist, who runs a counseling center in Munich for those who have suffered under therapy, supports his case with documents from Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, eye-witness reports, religious texts, and historical indicators.

The deconstruction is targeted at a god king who, since receiving the Nobel peace prize ten years ago has been riding a wave of sympathy which has carried him as far as Hollywood. Stars, starlets and statesmen sun themselves in the aura of the charismatic Buddhist. From top model Cindy Crawford to fashion designer Christa de Carouge, from Clinton to Cotti they fraternize with the Prince of Peace. Dalai Lama is there for everybody, Dalai Lama loves you. A meeting with His Holiness from the "roof of the world" is considered the highest level of social enlightenment. In the last two years Hollywood has also seized upon the topic of Tibet. Spectacular epic films like Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet finally won over a broad public.

But now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Tibetan Buddhism is falling into discredit. Tibetan circles show their shock: "The books are an exploitation of the ignorance of the West", says the Dalai Lama’s private secretary, Kelsang Gyaltsen. Tibetan Buddhism is being maliciously defamed by them.

The contents of both books display amazing parallels. Victor Trimondi explains the simultaneous appearance of the two titles with reference to the zeitgeist: "A critical discussion with the Tibetan religion and the shady side of the Dalai Lama was overdue."

In comparison to Islam and Christianity, to date Buddhism has in fact been only hesitatingly examined: "Buddhism was not just nonviolent", says Tibet expert Martin Brauen from the Ethnological Museum of the University of Zurich. In the West Buddhism was idealized around the myth of nonviolence and the desire for a land of happiness was projected onto Tibet. This resulted in the myth of Shangri La, the place where gentleness rules the heart.

One of those who actively participated in the creation of this myth is the same person who now bugles to attack: Herbert Röttgen under the pseudonym of Victor Trimondi, co-author of The Shadow of the Dalai Lama. In the seventies a member of a Maoist group, he sought refuge in the eighties in the bodily incarnation of compassion. As publisher of books in praise of Buddhism and His Holiness’s tour manager he organized appearances at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1982 and conferences with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Fritjof Capra and David Bohm for the Dalai Lama. But Röttgen did not find enlightenment. Instead a warning lamp lit up when he and his wife Victoria thoroughly examined the inner workings of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. Now he takes to the field as investigator of his earlier mentor. "The Dalai Lama is not just the simple man he presents himself as," he says, "but rather a sacred ruler, who controls both worldly and spiritual power in one person." His claim to world domination is an element of Buddhist doctrine. Röttgen refers to the Tibetologist Robert Thurman, father of the actress Uma Thurman. In 1997 at a Tibet conference in Bonn "the spokesperson for the Dalai Lama" announced the impending fall of the decadent West and its replacement by a worldwide Buddhocratic leadership along Tibetan lines.

Radical disillusionment for the believers and "boom Buddhists". Alone in Switzerland there are 100 Buddhist centers, over 30 000 sense-seekers follow the path of the goodly people.

Of all the Buddhist lines, Tibetan Tantrism is the most widely distributed in Europe and the USA. As the youngest Buddhist teaching it has, according to the Dalai Lama, "a marked sexual symbolism", which leads to the false impression that it is about real sex. The tantric rituals consisted solely of visualization exercises used to unite feminine and masculine energies.

This stands in blatant contrast to one of the chief accusations of the book authors Trimondi and Goldner. "Tantrism is about nothing other than sexual violence, the sexual exploitation of girls or as young women as possible, ostensibly for the individual’s enlightenment", says Goldner, a psychologist. The sexual attacks and the highly secretive sexual relationships of high-ranking Tibetan lamas are not isolated cases, but rather part of the systems. However, the accusers only cite Western women as witnesses.

On the whole, criticizes the ethnologist Brauen, the authors lack convincing evidence for their most important theses. "Trimondi’s indictment is based upon literal translations of tantras which are over 1000 years old and have been superseded." This is as if an African sought to explain current day Christianity on the basis of St John’s Gospel. Röttgen replies to this: "The Dalai Lama also refers to these text and rituals, which he performs."

Alongside the academic dispute there are also more robust criticisms of His Holiness. In his keen hawking of the Tibet issue he has obviously lost his sense of good and evil. His contact to the Japanese guru and poison gas murderer Shoko Asahara won him a name as a friend of fundamentalists among other things. "In 1989 the Dalai Lama issued a letter of recommending the fascist sect leader for the dissemination of Buddhism in Japan", says Colin Goldner. Only thanks to this "letter of protection" was it possible for Asahara to establish, in Aum, the financially most potent occult sect of all time which was responsible for the poison gas attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995. "In return, gigantic sums flowed into the coffers of the Tibetan government in exile."

Goldner has still more strings to his bow. Thus he accuses the Tibetan government in exile of a "targeted propaganda by misinformation". Tibet support communities are reputedly furnished with arguments so that donations flow in. Ultimately there is no proof for the alleged 1.2 million Tibetan victims of the systematic torture of political prisoners and the oft-cited cultural genocide.

Cynicism, says Kelsang Gyaltsen, His Holiness’s private secretary, of Goldner’s accusations. Regarding those who have died, he admits that there are no exact numbers, since they are based on the questioning of refugees. "But the current 300 to 400 refugees per month are sufficient witness." In January the Chinese launched a new atheism campaign.

The Dalai Lama has only himself to blame for many mistakes. Kitsch and commerce overshadow the Tibet myth and distract from social and politico-religious grievances. Even Martin Brauen says, "It is difficult to reconcile having a state oracle as political decision maker in the parliament in exile with a democratic state system". And the institution of reincarnated lamas (tulku) also leads to an undesirable concentration of power.

It is undisputed that the Dalai Lama has disqualified himself with his publicity madness. for a double-figure million dollar fee he posed as an advertising model for Apple Computers, designed a special issue of the glossy Vogue and writes prefaces for other authors in piece work. The marketing chief of Buddhism has thus degraded himself to an eternally smiling cuddly Buddha.

Even the Dalai Lama’s own PR strategy "nonviolence, tolerance, and compassion" has reached the end of its half-life. "All the attestations of sympathy from the world public have after 40 years finally achieved nothing", says the Swiss-Tibetan Jigme Risur, president of the European Association of Young Tibetans. "We are fed up with the role of the nice little Tibetans." The organization opposes the political direction of their chief. The explicitly advocate independence for Tibet, and not just autonomy like the Dalai Lama .

Apart from political differences the Dalai Lama has also stirred up religious turbulence in the ranks since the mid-nineties. With the declaration that the worship of the protective spirit Dorje Shugden is dangerous, he split the largest school of Tantrism, the so-called Yellow Hats, into two camps. Ironically, the Dalai Lama is leader of the Yellow Hats.

"All the attestations of sympathy from the world public have finally achieved nothing." (JIGME RISUR; European Association of Young Tibetans)

Switzerland is a mirror of the religious brotherly quarrel. Since the beginning of the sixties the largest community of Tibetans in exile outside of Asia, with 2400 people, lives here. The Shugden conflict led to a split between the two Tibetan monasteries in Switzerland. The monks of the monastery in Mont-Pelerin VD in contrast to those in Rikon ZH have not bowed to the recommendation of the Dalai Lama. "We revere His Holiness; but we cannot abjure a belief that is hundreds of years old", says the Abbot, Gonsar Tulku Rinpoche. Since then they are outlaws for a majority of the Tibetans in exile, who stand behind the Dalai Lama. The seven monks from the monastery in Rikon unconditionally follow the course of their leader. The formerly good relations have been overshadowed by the God-King’s decision. In the one Western monastery founded by the Dalai Lama one would prefer not to comment on the conflict. "We are in the first instance Tibetans", says the acting Abbot, Lodro Tulku.

When the God-King visits Switzerland this year, he will not just smilingly bring his goods to market at the Fêtes de Genève. With a smile he will also, following Gina Lollobrigida, Roger Moore, Fredy Knie, and priest of the poor Abbe Pierre, take over the patronage of the smallest vineyard in the world: the 1.67 square meter "Farinet" in the Lower Valias town of Saillon. This will make the Dalai Lama – despite a vow of abstinence from alcohol – the first Buddhist winemaker.

Publik Forum - "The Shadow of Tibetan Buddhism" - Norbert Copray - April 1999

The Dalai Lama comes in for criticism - The Shadow of Tibetan Buddhism

Does the religion of the Dalai Lama have its "skeletons in the closet" too? A book gets feelings running high.

Uproar in the Buddhist scene in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The new book by Mariana and Herbert Röttgen, published under the pseudonyms of Victoria and Victor Trimondi and with the title The Shadow of the Dalai Lama has struck like a thunderbolt. The Buddhist scene generally presents itself as peaceful and worldly. But the fundamental criticisms of the author couple is strong stuff for the Buddhists, who see their religion and the Dalai Lama as badly defamed by the book. For weeks, threatening and abusive letters have been descending upon the publisher and the authors. At a recent public occasion in Frankfurt a representative from the inner circle of the Dalai Lama’s friends gave vent to wild threats against Mariana and Herbert Röttgen.

By German-speaking standards the authors have broken a taboo. In Anglo-Saxon countries the amount of critical literature about Buddhism, even by Buddhists, has been swelling for some time. (But) particularly in Germany the media have stuck to mostly favorable, uncritical portrayals. Thus it was possible to read some time ago, perhaps in the Spiegel, that Buddhism is the only religion with no skeletons in its closet. Something which especially angers Herbert Röttgen, since such a statement displays not only ignorance but also the marketing success which the Dalai Lama knows how to orchestrate for his own cause in the West. The Dalai Lama as an individual also fascinates the Röttgen couple, and they would happily agree point by point to what the Dalai Lama says and does in public. But the point is to look behind this surface and to understand what the Tibetan Buddhism of old was, how it continues to function and be organized today, what goals are associated with it and how it plans to realize these.

Buddhism is not simply Buddhism. Basically, Tibetan Buddhism unites Mahayana Buddhism, which makes Buddhism comprehensible for the broad masses, with pre-Buddhist, sexual tantric, magical, and typically Tibetan cultural traditions into a major creed of its own, alongside other Buddhist denominations. But even within Tibetan Buddhism there are various schools which cannot stand one another. The Dalai Lama’s circle even suspects followers of one of these schools of cooperation with the Chinese invaders and repressors of Tibet. They are also supposed to have accepted funding from them.

Similar charges have been leveled at the author couple Röttgen. They are alleged to have received a billion deutschemarks from either the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church, the Chinese, or the Scientology organization for their "campaign of agitation". None of this is true. It is certainly true that the Patmos publishing group has been known for over forty years for its soundly-based, investigative, and humanistic nonfiction and specialist program, which assembles such select intellectual figures as Leonardo Boff and Eugen Drewermann. They stand for keen criticism of the State Catholic Church and the manner in which it interprets and makes use of Christianity. Here, the Röttgens’ book is not just in good company, but also comparatively moderate.

Look at a religion with very earthly conflicts

An attempt to mow down the content of the book using the biographies of the authors ought to misfire, and the intentions guiding it are easily seen through. It is true that in the sixties Herbert Röttgen belonged to the left-wing revolutionary scene in Munich, and that his Trikont publishing house published among others Mao’s Little Red Book. But what does that tell us? In the eighties he nonetheless published such valuable and important books as "The Re-enchantment of the World" by Morris Bermann, "Abundance and Nothing" by the Dominican mystic David Steindl-Rast, and the Dalai Lama’s "The Logic of Love".

The Röttgens’ way involves, since 1982, a decided nearing of Tibetan Buddhism and a direct encounter with the Dalai Lama, in order to then treat his demands seriously, to not simply make a change in religion out of fascination, but rather to precisely examine this religion and its ways, to gain experience and to investigate critically. The findings are nonetheless negative in character.

Mariana and Herbert Röttgen see in Tibetan Buddhism a backwards-facing religion with a pronounced belief in spirits and demons and many multilevel esoteric teachings and initiations, which finally aims for a "Buddhocracy" which would make absolute demands upon individuals and society, that is existentially, religiously, ethically, socially and politically. To consider this at all possible, a thorough study of the historical, religious, theological, spiritual and sociopolitical backgrounds of Tibetan Buddhism and of the role and function of the Dalai Lama is necessary. What Röttgen and Röttgen enlarge upon in the over eight hundred pages of the book, is thus also an intensive (in a few rare cases inexact) investigation of the available and accessible literature.

Nonetheless significant is the question, to what extent the traditions and practices examined can be laid at the doorstep of the current Dalai Lama and his role, to what extent he himself has not also undergone a major development since he has turned to the West, and whether he even still sees himself as a "God-King". The authors attempt to prove how much the old traditions have maintained their validity to the present day, but cannot - for fear of asking too much of them - be admitted to enthusiastic fans in the West, in order to not lose the esteem believed to be needed to advance the matter of religious and political freedom for Tibet.

Non-Buddhist experts on Buddhism, however, see in the rituals, in the belief in spirits and images the attempt of Tibetan Buddhism to provide spiritual transport, huge rafts as it were, with which to cross over the flow of human rationality to an holistic consciousness, which lets Buddhahood be achieved already in this life. "Maha-yana", as this Buddhist creed is known, literally means ‘great vehicle’. The theory says (that ) if one has reached the shores of holism, one can be relied upon to provide a raft for him- or herself. The visualizations and rituals thus ought to make possible the breakthrough to a higher state of existence, since a person who imagines himself as a divinity gains powers of consciousness for enlightenment.

Röttgen and Röttgen nonetheless believe that this is a favorable interpretation. In reality Tibetan Buddhism is dominated by a literal belief in gods, rituals and images, which are lacking transformative power and thus should be worked through afresh. Especially the tantric sexual practices, which according to theory ought to bring both man and woman enlightenment in the bodily union, lead in the Röttgens’ view to a straightforward sexual exploitation of the woman. For the Röttgens this Tantrism is, finally, a "ritualized female sacrifice".

The Dalai Lama: highly revered by religious seekers in the western world, but not undisputed in the Asian world of Tibetan Buddhism

Everything flaring up as part of this criticism of Tibetan Buddhism has long been everyday for Christianity, especially in its Catholic variety: historical, psychological, and political critical examination, confrontation with internal contradictions, the making aware of the risks for a religion when it favors literal over symbolic belief. Further discussion will have to show whether the Röttgens’ criticism is right, at least in its starting point. In all religions fundamentalist and progressive interpretations coexist. Perhaps, just like the pope, the Dalai Lama shimmers as he tries to simultaneously internally and outwardly demonstrate affection for some basic orientation in matters which are existential for him. But if anyone thought that there really could be a pure, innocent, naive religion, and believed they had found it in Tibetan Buddhism, they are possibly now either bitterly disappointed about this religion or more than just angry at the authors. But what is happening here is something which (even within a denomination) both pope and church have had to put up with for centuries, and which everyone therefore should perhaps have already known about: religions are shaped by people. They must therefore face criticism and take it on board, in order to not be misused as instruments of power or for the exploitation of human hopes and needs.

Ab 40 - Greta Tüllman - January 2000

Mariana and Herbert Röttgen (Victor & Victoria Trimondi) in search of new visions in coming millenium.

In [the women’s magazine] Ab 40, much space has been devoted to criticisms by women of the monotheistic religions. These have concentrated on Christianity and Islam and women’s roles in both of these religions. In contrast, Buddhism had become for many women a place of refuge for their religious needs, and has stood for inner peace, meditation, compassion, wisdom, calmness, spiritualization, etc., etc.

Now, in time for the turn of the millenium, comes a rousing critique and analysis of woman’s role in Tibetan Buddhism, about the devaluation and abuse of the feminine in this religion, (a critique) developed in dialog by a woman and a man, Mariana and Herbert Röttgen (Victor and Victoria Trimondi), which fits into the Ab 40 discussion. I have known Herbert Röttgen for almost 30 years.

What fascinated me alongside his pioneering, visionary view of the world was his untiring, intensive dialog with women [...], and now his dialog with his wife Mariana about the significance of traditional religions for the establishment of values and creativity in a future culture. Their joint book, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama is a start in this direction and the vehement, often inappropriately aggressive, criticism which this book has aroused in the media demonstrates that Mariana and Herbert Röttgen (Victor and Victoria Trimondi) have hit a raw nerve with their thesis.

As we want to devote space in the coming years in Ab 40 to an intensive woman–man dialog, the postscript which we have reproduced here seems with its philosophical discourse to be a symbolically successful way to launch our Ab 40 dialog off in this direction. Let yourselves be inspired.

Mariana and Herbert Röttgen (Victor and Victoria Trimondi) are a symbolic start for a successful "woman–man, man–woman dialog". Greta Tüllman

Woman World Wide - June 1999

The two authors have ventured almost to the limits of the "expressible" with their book, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama. Particularly when one considers how many people have turned to Buddhism nowadays. Average citizens, followers of the esoteric, celebrities in Europe and America have in good faith – but uninformed – committed themselves to the cause of Tibet and its spiritual head of state. They are not familiar with Lamaism and the religious practices of Tibetan Buddhism. And the peaceable mask of the Fourteenth God-King remains untouched. It covers his power-political and fundamentalist visions well.

What is actually hiding behind Buddhism and Buddhist Tantrism has been subjected by the authors to a powerful analysis and uncompromising critique. The fine detail of the differences within the hierarchical ranking of the edifice of Buddhist teachings is incredibly exactly sketched out here. With this view behind the curtains, the shocked reader perceives the cultural design (to be) in its innermost core atavistic, sexist and fundamentalist, and extremely warlike. Also revealed is just how clearly a global Buddhism is being striven for, one which questions values such as democracy, human rights, equality of the sexes, and humanism. With a shock the reader glimpses the contempt for humans and deeply misogynist culture which conceals itself behind Tibetan Buddhist thought so glorified by everyone.

The Tibetan variant of Buddhism is regarded in the West as a hoard of unadulterated Far Eastern religiousness. The Dalai Lama counts as a living symbol of Good. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has managed to anchor the "Tibet myth" in the West thanks to Hollywood films. The public are led astray with false information and cover-up tactics by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government in exile, and the Tibetan clergy. The two authors reveal the atavistic, fundamentalist cultural design which cannot deny the ideological and cultic connection to esoteric fascism and neo-fascism. But despite this almost uncompromising critique, at the end of their work the authors canvas a discussion about a Buddhism beyond such outdated and questionable traditions.

Evangelical Office of Information - Georg Schmid - august 1999

"People who need no illusions will value the extensive work as a contribution to a long due correction."

Herbert and Mariana Röttgen, the author couple publishing under the pseudonym of Trimondi, tear a public blinded by the modern myth of Tibet not just from out of its nostalgic dream of an in every respect peaceful, never violent, thoroughly pro-woman Tibetan Buddhism which transforms all the dark forces in people into bright energy.

In the volume of over 800 pages, the dark, occult, sexual magical, misogynist, fascist-near, warlike, and politically totalitarian aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, actually already known about in the west, are also linked to one of its most essential ritual texts, the Kalachakra Tantra.

Viewed in this context, the shady sides of Tibetan Buddhism are no accident in the history of a spirituality which is actually totally peaceful, but rather a logical expression of a religion and a culture which never did nor does want to just dissolve its shadows into light, and instead grants them a fateful inherent dynamism. The outbreaks of violence in the milieu of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, so incomprehensible to a western Tibet romantic – think of the still-echoing ramifications of the struggle between Red Hats and Yellow Hats in the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama with its many victims, of the so-called Shugden debate of recent years, of the continuing conflict around the true reincarnation of the new Karmapa, of the support which the Dalai Lama lent the Japanese sect guru Shoko Asahara, or of the military ambitions of the Dalai Lama’s brother - all these "absurd" incidents are no longer bolts from the blue, without precedent or resonance. The Dalai Lama’s claims to power, smilingly denied on the one hand, accepted without question on the other, are, like many other apparent contradictions, based in Tibet’s spiritual and political tradition and can only be understood when the modern enthusiasm for Tibet gives way to a more realistic engagement with this particular culture and religion, which like any other has nurtured and continues to nurture both its bright and shady sides.

The reader’s verdict upon this detailed engagement with the shady side of Tibetan Buddhism is entirely dependent upon his or her willingness to renounce nostalgia and to concede that there never was nor ever will be a completely peaceful culture or religion in the world of humankind. Those who cannot or will not abandon the illusion of a thoroughly peaceful Buddhism will only be able to see the work of the two authors as a grim settling of accounts by disappointed former friends of Tibetan Buddhism. People who need no illusions will value the extensive work as a contribution to a long due correction.

Gesundheit (Natur-Mensch-Technik) - September 1999

"Precisely because I know the danger of exercising magical miraculous forces, I avoid and abhor them." Sayings of Buddha 1. 212.

This very up-to-date book presents the reviewer, and certainly the main body of his readers, with no small difficulties. It is simply apt to divide our society – at least it ought not leave any reasonably responsible contemporaries unmoved; at the end of the day it is about nothing less than the claim that the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is in his worldwide campaign up to more than the thoroughly legitimate freeing of his home country, occupied by Red China. People who here want to ask what Buddhism has to do with us in central Europe are ignoring the fact that Tibetan Buddhism in particular has become a sounding board for the religious desires of tens of thousands of Europeans.

The large crowds that the Dalai Lama is able to draw must make the pope pale with envy. The authors, both formerly active in the "Free Tibet" movement, took literally the Dalai Lama’s instruction to thoroughly investigate his teachings and traditions before making a possible conversion to Buddhism. However, their study, from an initially thoroughly sympathetic approach, in the end produced a completely unexpected and contrary result: they recognized a danger in Tibetan Buddhism, in its teachings and magical praxis in day-to-day politics, not just for the psyche of the individual adept, but also for world peace. With their book, based upon personal experience and meticulous research, they hope to expose this so ostensibly pacifist, nonviolent religion, pious as it is tolerant, as being an imperialistic, misogynist atavism, riddled with a medieval-like belief in spirits and demons.

Allegedly, there is no taboo (child abuse, necrophilia, cannibalism!) which is not broken in the sexual magic rites of the tantric ways of this religion. As an enlightened citizen of central Europe one does not want to believe all this and seeks refuge in depth psychology, which is able to explain the horrors as projections or symbolic events – but even here the authors have collected damning counter-evidence. Buddhism too has a wildly turbulent history and past, where misogyny and witch burnings can also be found, and there are still battles between warring sects. One only needs to think of the poison-gas guru Shoko Asahara, who sees himself as a champion of a worldwide Buddhocracy. But, if one is to take the implications of the book at hand seriously, the Dalai Lama also wants nothing less than control of the world in a Buddhist-theocratic tyranny. A careful reading reveals that the authors declare themselves prepared to publicly discuss their hypothesis with him or a representative; that this certainly furore-provoking work is thus not a one-off surprise attack which only serves to generate confusion. What remains is a shaken image of the most holy Dalai Lama, of the pure, philanthropic politics and teachings of Buddhism, and the certainty that every traditional religion, regardless of its shade of opinion, has its skeletons in the closet. Only the idealism of those numerous volunteer helpers of the Committee for the Freeing of Tibet is to be regretted. (b.h.)

Badische Zeitung - Johannes Schradl - March 1999

The Dalai Lama – End of a beautiful legend?

BOOK UNDER DISCUSSION: A new study poses critical questions for the religious basis of the smiling God-King

Is the Dalai Lama a murderer of women? Is a dangerous despot lurking behind this figure, who appears as both a God-King and a mendicant monk at the same time? To ask such questions is to take on a large congregation. In Germany alone half a million people are devoted to Tibetan Buddhism. For them the Dalai Lama stands for peaceableness, inner harmony, compassion and social justice – for, in a word, the good in this world.

When - in the enlightened Western sphere - living figures from other cultural circles become objects of fervent adoration, it cannot be ruled out that critical rationalism will stir itself and rear up against excess and mystification. For the Fourteenth Dalai Lama it has now come to this. Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese, the authors Victor and Victoria Trimondi have set out to do some deciphering of the bad in the good, in the cellar (gokhang) of Tibetan Buddhism and behind the "tantric mask" of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Victoria and Victor Trimondi (real names: Mariana and Herbert Röttgen – well-known and controversial as the publisher Trikont) do not question that the countless public appearances of the Nobel Peace Prize winner are of an impressive gentleness and modesty. However, the Dalai Lama regularly avoids raising the veil which covers the "shadows", the dark side of his religion, where there are: sexual magic mysteries and power-political obsessions (Shambhala myth), spirits and demons (Nechung oracle) and powerful destructive forces.

Tibetan teachings vs. Western civilization

For all that, of course the image of the Dalai Lama as a murderer of women, for example, is not meant literally. But the higher tantras do concern the sacrifice of the feminine principle in favor of the masculine and the theft of feminine energy in the interests of the tantric master. This is not something which a civilized Western person can approve of, nor is the alleged urge recorded in the religious myths to establish a "Buddhocratic" world rule. In this country, it is the custom to separate state and religion – especially when we are dealing with a pretty aggressive potential.

Western ‘fashion’ Buddhists with a rather superficial desire for enlightenment are hardly open for this sort of thing – at least not consciously, but beneath the skin they might already be pre-formed, the authors suspect. Not least the flood of Buddhist films which Hollywood produces plays a role here. This may be exaggerated. Then it remains rather doubtful whether those 10,000 worshippers, who made the pilgrimage to Schneverdingen in Lower Saxony last November to hear the words of the Dalai Lama and to meditate for hours, would also follow him in a Buddhist religious state. And for them he meant: just stick to the religion you have; everything else rapidly becomes strenuous.

The book had barely gone on sale when critics – invited Tibetologists perhaps – reproached the authors that they had fundamentally misunderstood something. It is not acceptable to unconditionally interpret the religious "images" of Buddhism as (dangerous) recipes for action in the here and now – rather than simply as treasures of wisdom. The shockingly aggressive fighting out of intra-Buddhist conflicts in Tibet with the Shugden group – up to possible ritual murders – meanwhile, teach us something different. There remains the criticism of the ostensible scientific shortcomings of the 800-page calling to account of Lamaism – a charge which one can readily present to outsiders.

Debate in the interests of investigation

That a discussion which needs to be had is being instigated here is not doubted by most critics, however. Even if the authors here and there bring out the heavy artillery, as where they produce the proximity of Tibetan Buddhism to German fascism and of the 14. Dalai Lama to the leader of the murderous Japanese Aum sect, Asahara - their concern is justified: to devote themselves to the myths behind the permanent smile of the Far Eastern God-King. In the interests of investigation. Although the Dalai Lama may preach values like human rights, democracy, equality and pacifism, they are not anchored in Tibet’s religion and traditions, as the religious studies scholar from Tübingen, Cristoffer Grundmann, also says.

Novalis - Günter Röschert - October 1999

The Buddhism of the Dalai Lama – A Trojan Horse for the West?

In an interview in the weekly Das Goetheanum (No. 20/1998, pp. 294f.) the General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, Arthur Zajonc, recently described Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, as a ‘modern representative of the consciousness soul’. This anthroposophical statement of Professor Zajoncs now appears doubtful on the basis of an extensive study, produced by Victor and Victoria Trimondi under the title of The Shadow of the Dalai Lama. The married couple Trimondi (real names Herbert and Mariana Röttgen) were for several years to be counted among the Dalai Lama’s sympathizers, but then began to regard him and Tibetan Buddhism increasingly critically and to evaluate their experiences through a detailed study of the accessible specialist literature. This biographical background, which the authors unreservedly concede, has led isolated critics of the book to disqualify it as a personal settlement of accounts.(The reviewer for the Süddeutschen Zeitung headlined his review with the title ‘Renegade literature’ and spoke of a ‘settling of accounts by two disappointed (believers)’. The review was so mercilessly damning that, according to information from booksellers, many SZ readers inquired about the book for precisely this reason.) The book indeed has an explosive potential, since at least the German-language literature about the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism is almost exclusively affirmative or even originates from the Dalai Lama himself.

1. To help understand the book, first up the following remarks in advance (introductory literature consulted: Helmuth von Glasenapp, Buddhistische Mysterien [Buddhist Mysteries]. Stuttgart 1940; Julius Evola, Metaphysik des Sexus [Metaphysic of the Sexus]. Stuttgart 1962; Heinrich Zimmer, Indische Mythen und Symbole [Indian Myths and Symbols]. Düsseldorf 1972; Philip Rawson, Tantra. Munich 1974; Heinrich Zimmer, Philosophie und Religion Indiens [The Philosophy and Religion of India]. Frankfurt 1976; Mircea Eliade, Yoga. Unsterblichkeit und Freiheit [Yoga. Immortality and Freedom]. Frankfurt 1985; Michael von Brück, Buddhismus [Buddhism]. Gütersloh 1998): The development of Buddhism has proceeded in four stages; a fifth stage has been heralded. At the beginning are the teachings and life of the historical Buddha Gautama. After his death (480 B.C.E.) the ‘Teachings of the Elders’ (known as Hinayana or ‘Low Vehicle’) developed, with the Four Noble Truths: of Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Relief from Suffering, and the Eightfold Path. From the second century B.C.E. the ‘Great Vehicle’ (Mahayana) emerged, with the development of the teaching of the Bodhisattvas. From 500 C.E. an India-wide movement, Tantrism, began, which gradually took a hold on Hinduism and Buddhism as well. Even the word tantra (or Tantrism) is difficult to define (Eliade, p. 209). It concerns a system of esoteric instruction of non-ascetic character on the basis of a thoroughly magical-symbolic world view (von Glasenapp, p. 17). Characteristic of Tantrism is the marked inclusion of sexuality (Rawson, p. 14). Tantric Buddhism is referred to as the ‘Diamond Vehicle’ (Vajrayana). All stages of Buddhism still exist today alongside one another in more or less large areas. Buddhism entered Tibet in its tantric form from the eighth century C.E. on and displaced the up until then predominant shamanism (von Brück, p. 277). In the following centuries in constant exchange with Indian Buddhism several new tantric systems with a number of extensive collections of texts emerged. The last major tantric system, the Kalachakra Tantra, appeared in the 10th or 11th century (von Brück, p. 284). It is thought that the tantric texts – despite a complete absence of proof – originated from Buddha Gautama and existed for centuries as hidden ‘treasure’ (terma), waiting to be found at the correct time (cf. von Glasenapp, p. 49). The book under discussion here concerns the Kalachakra Tantra (Time Tantra) and its most important representative, the Dalai Lama.

2. The main thesis of Part 1 of the book states that: ‘the mystery of Tantric Buddhism consists in the sacrifice of the feminine principle and in the manipulation of erotic love in order to obtain universal androcentric power (pp. 30, 317). From the up to now accessible texts (see p. 24) the authors gather that there is a hidden monistic orientation to Tantrism, whilst everything which exists in the universe is dualist, emanating from a primeval divine couple, indeed from their sexual union. In the sexual magic union of the tantric yogi with a female partner the former seizes the feminine energy and elevates himself to an androgynous state, through which the body of the yogi approximates the spiritual unity of the universe. The ritual sacrifice of the woman (the tantric partner) as originator of the great Maya is the precondition for a transfer of her life energy to the tantric master. This procedure is in the authors’ interpretation an application of an overarching tantric law of ‘inversion’, according to which immersion in the lowly and the base turns into spiritual elevation to the supreme. Since the relevant passages in the texts are presented by the authors as containing an abundance of practical instructions, real, not just internal (to the soul) sexual magic should be assumed (this is confirmed by Evola, p. 386). The repeated sexual magic act lets the yogi, approaching androgynous unity, experience the spiritual union of his physical and subtle body with the energies of the universe. The apex of the Kalachakra Tantra is the overarching figure of the primal Buddha (von Glasenapp, p. 85), of the so-called Adi-Buddha as cosmic androgyne. Through the forces of the tantric initiation path the body of the yogi achieves an occult correspondence to the diamond body of the Adi-Buddha, down, indeed, to a detailed correspondence in the physiological energy structure. The Adi-Buddha is the Lord of the Universe and thus the bearer of unbridled power, including political power over the entire globe. This claim to power is concretized in the utopia of the Shambhala realm, which is hovering on the threshold of revelation and is destined to arise in the foreseeable future in a final battle for control of the world.

3. In every era only one tantric master reaches the highest level of the initiation path. The authors believe that the encounters with the vile and demonic, which thanks to the law of inversion should be transformed into the elevated and divine, can lead to the demonic becoming taken for granted, at any rate among those adepts of the Kalachakra Tantra who do not reach the highest level. But the tantric master identifies himself with not just the ‘good’ Bodhisattvas (e.g.. Avalokiteshvara), but also with the Tibetan gods of wrath. In this connection the authors attempt to explain the Tibetan pantheon of gods and demons with its shockingly aggressive and murderous astral figures, even the morbidity and aggressiveness of Tibetan culture in general. For the tantric real and ritual/symbolic deeds are of the same moral value, since he assumes a pervasive magical unity of the universe, through which each layer of the phenomenal world can be a symbol of another. The Kalachakra Tantra includes fifteen levels of initiation. The first seven levels count as lower orders and are performed in public by the Dalai Lama in front of thousands of people at huge open-air events. The higher levels are of a sexual magical nature (pp.171, 183). The authors describe the four highest levels as Ganachakra (a magical circle under participation of several female sexual partners in an orgiastic form). The Master of the Kalachakra Tantra of our time is the Dalai Lama; when one considers his previous incarnations he has always been so, from the beginning. The authors are convinced that he must thus understand himself to be a figure who corresponds to the Adi-Buddha and prospective world ruler (Chakravartin).

4. In Part 2 of the book the authors attempt to show that all of the Dalai Lama’s teachings and actions without exception can only be understood against the background of the Kalachakra Tantra. The sexual magic world of gods and demons of Tantrism with its by Western standards repulsive rituals is carefully kept hidden from the Western public. The Dalai Lama only provides European and American media with the attractive teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. But the true politics of the exile Tibetan community orients itself to the eschatological plan of the Kalachakra Tantra with the Shambhala myth. Individual elements of the politics of Dharamsala (the residence in exile of the Dalai Lama in India) are still today mediumistically determined by the pronouncements of an oracle. The famous Kalachakra sand mandala is a means of occult possession of the territory in which it is created and then dispersed.

The book by the two Trimondis offers an exceptional abundance of material in this part and describes, for example, the Dalai Lama’s connections to representatives of fascism, to Mongolia, to Chinese Communism, to the Japanese terrorist Asahara and to many Hollywood actors. The West has such boundless good faith that it doesn’t notice Tantric Buddhism setting out on a magical world mission straight out of its situation of exile. With no clue of the sexual magical and demonic ‘shadow’ of the Dalai Lama, statesmen, artists, and academics everywhere seek out and host visits from him. The spread of Tantric Buddhism in the West (the fifth stage in the development of Buddhism) is already in top gear. The authors believe an intensive explicatory study of the Kalachakra Tantra is absolutely necessary, in its political aspects as well, and its core transformation of sexuality into power. They view their book as a warning study, which should be followed by further, unprejudiced investigations.

5. In this connection it is interesting that the anthroposophical journal Info3 (11/1998) published several articles on Buddhism on the occasion of a camp organized by the Dalai Lama on the Lüneburg Heath at the end of October 1998. An editorial assistant reported, with reference to Professor Zajonc, that the Dalai Lama, because of the imminent apocalyptic Shambhala war, had begun to deposit the Kalachakra initiation as an image in the subtle bodies (!) of more and more participants at his large meetings. There were strong similarities between the Kalachakra Tantra and Rudolf Steiner’s book An Outline of Secret Knowledge. It then goes on to say: "Rudolf Steiner repeatedly referred to the connection between Buddhism and Christianity. He went as far as to say that both religions must come together in the future. In the spiritual world this consolidation has already occurred." Whoever studies the cited speech from 13.3.1911 (GA 124) attentively, will note that Steiner is speaking of the continued effects of the spiritual individual Buddha Gautama. Steiner was not, in this passage, discussing Tibet’s Tantric Buddhism which first emerged a thousand years after Buddha Gautama had died. This raises the question whether this amazing reinterpretation through recontextualization of an extract from a speech by Steiner can be linked to the outward appearance of the Tibetan mission as a Trojan horse (Trimondi, p. 326).

In an era of spiritual and religious pluralism the study of religion is an especially significant anthroposophical desideratum. The book by the two Trimondis, which could only be discussed in fragments here, is a polemical document and as such a clear warning not to approach the world of religions naively or with guileless identifications. It is an exciting book and in its wealth of material a stimulating invitation to one’s own power of judgment, and to the appropriately qualified pupil of Rudolf Steiner, to engage more closely with the subject of the book.

Different Press Voices:

Opinions differ about The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: according to co-author Victoria Trimondi, their book is in roughly equal proportions well received and torn to pieces by the media. ... But The Shadow of the Dalai Lama is selling well. "Precisely thanks to the controversy about the book" [...]. The authors are already at work preparing the third, revised edition. Berner Zeitung, 2 May 1999, Switzerland

Former Dalai Lama sympathizers settle accounts with Buddhism. The new trend religion is said to be deeply caught up in superstitious practices. The study in hand interprets Dalai Lama Buddhism as a medieval-style secret doctrine. Focus Magazine, 15 March, Germany

Sexual abuse, links to fascism, brainwashing – the accusations against the Dalai Lama have got what it takes. [...] The two authors aim to expose the peaceableness of the Dalai Lama as "a mask" and to present Tibetan Buddhism as "an at heart atavistic, fundamentalist, sexist, and warlike cultural design". [...] Radical disillusionment for the faithful and the "boom Buddhists". Facts, 4 March 1999, Switzerland

An attempt is made to prove this bitter farewell to a myth with a great flood of sources [...] The criticisms, by the way, also come from Tibetans in exile and cannot be brushed aside, even by the Dalai Lama himself: more and more he concedes to some shady sides. [...] Thus it is a cheap trick when - as has happened - the book by the Trimondis/Röttgens is dismissed as typical renegade revenge. The authorial duo’s grasp of religious and cultural history is undoubtedly firm. Abendzeitung, 20 June 1999, Germany

Finally a long-overdue discussion of the antifeminist, anti-liberal, and antidemocratic core of Tibetan Buddhism. Bayrische Rundfunk [Bavarian Brooadcasting], April 1999, Germany

The first cracks have appeared in the image of the perfect Buddhist ‘roof of the world’ which were, however, long overdue ... Explanations of the background of Tibetan Buddhism are always necessary. Sender Freies Berlin, April 1999

Victoria and Victor Trimondi (have)delivered an informative and gripping work of cultural history and fundamental research. The book throws up many questions, several are answered satisfactorily. Thus, a western reader’s curiosity about the tantra system is stilled. The authors present Tibetan Buddhism as a religion of mysteries. [...] Its mysteries are the driving force behind its political decisions and goal setting. [...]The Shadow of the Dalai Lama is a thorough - sometimes too detailed – and uncompromising analysis of Lamaism. The study is not without emotion, however. Die Presse, 27 March 1999, Austria

A critical debate is emerging at the zenith of the euphoria around Buddhism in the west: Is TIBETAN BUDDHISM really as peaceful and democratic as the Dalai Lama claims? ... The authors ... address the foundations of Tibetan Buddhism. ... Critical discussion of Tibetan Buddhism is only just beginning in the west. Die Woche, 19 March 1999, Germany

As the title anticipates, we are dealing with an sensation. ... The elevated level at which this attack is pitched is a surprise. None of the work at hand (is) "dull" or superficial. Everything is soundly researched and demonstrable. ... To sum the book up: extremely well worth reading with comprehensive (coverage) of all aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. Tattva Viveka, May 1999, Germany

Anybody who believes that the authors’ (the Röttgen couple’s) critique can be consumed as journalistic fast food may well be disappointed. As a matter of fact it’s a weighty tome of 800 pages, which is nonetheless written in a very accessible style and offers unaccustomed perspectives which harbor real dynamite. ORF, 4 March 1999, Austria

Tibet is going to enter Western popular culture as something can only when Hollywood does the entertainment injection into the world system" wrote the Herald Tribune in 1997. This statement is also taken up by the two authors Victor and Victoria Trimondi in their book, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama. The Trimondi’s theses are as aggressive as they are provocative: desire for the end of the world, an aggressive cult, the goal of world domination, and the sexual exploitation of women – strong stuff with which to reproach Tibetan Buddhism. In fact, in this book Buddhism and the Dalai Lama himself are subjected to a comprehensive critique for the first time in the German-speaking world. This (the criticism) comes from experts in the scene. [...] Attacks from their own ranks, from Tibetans in exile, are also accumulating. Like the sellout of their own country to the Chinese, political lies, the rewriting of history among others. The authors inform the reader in detail about the development of Buddhism and its cultic ramifications such as Tantrism. Thus The Shadow of the Dalai Lama is also an introduction to Buddhism. But the writers have something definite at heart. [...] The book’s theses are well founded, described in detail, and annotated with numerous sources. The background to the cultic and ritual practices, the sexual and military obsessions of Buddhism are accurately described. They carefully introduce the distinctions between the individual tantras and compare this reality with idealized European conceptions. The couple lay much value on the difference between the public image of the "Prince of Peace" and his alleged power-political ambitions. [...] The fullness, density, and challenge of this book will demand a strong public discussion. This will be awaited with bated breath. München Aktuell, 22 March 1999, Germany

It appears that the keenness of intellect and linguistic skill of a 1968-trained dialectician are needed to tear the mask from the face of the Dalai Lama in a manner which gets through these days. Etika, 2 May 1999, Italy

For those familiar with the material, as the researchers Victor and Victoria Trimondi have shown themselves to be in their book The Shadow of the Dalai Lama recently published by Patmos-Verlag, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama proves to be a Trojan Horse, with whose help the archaic-patriarchal monastic culture hopes to conquer the West and thus take a great step towards its final goal of Buddhist world domination. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 20 July 1999, Professor Dr. Dr. Udo Köhler, Germany

The Trimondis do not descend upon a harmless, peaceful paradise, Shangri-La, so attractive to mental tourists, but they are indeed stirring up a hornet’s nest at present. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15 July 1999, Switzerland

Ignorance has always been a precondition for and foundation of all religions and ideologies, since "he who knows nothing must believe everything" (Maria von Ebner-Eschenbach). On this well-tested foundation, above all, dealings with Indian and Asian religions and schools of wisdom, especially Tibetan Buddhism, are currently flourishing in West. The latter’s highest representative, His Holiness the Dalai Lama , exerts an almost magical attraction over that great mass of people who neither know nor can judge critically either the roots or the decisive content of their own religion, let alone that of others. To this group belong in no sense just those without academic training, whose healthy human intelligence protects them, but rather those many, often highly specialized, but inadequately philosophically trained intellectual eclectics, in particular physicists, but also politicians and, especially of course, artists (Hollywood!), religious enthusiasts and mystics of all sorts, for whom exact science and rational thought are foreign or even hated anyway. The supreme Yellow Mage has an easy job with them. But what conception of the world is hiding behind the smiling, so apparently philanthropic and peaceable mask of the Tibetan God-King? The ignorance which this key question exposes, particularly in the Western world, can only be described as catastrophic. Here, the book at hand can and wants to help, for which one cannot be grateful enough to the courageous researcher couple Trimondi. Within it, they have divided the vast amount of material into two parts. [...] In order that they do not sink afresh into the sweet sleep of their affluence, but rather become immune to that no less sweet, but in the end deadly poison of archaic-totalitarian, patriarchal-fundamentalist Tibetan Buddhism, the book at hand is more suitable than any other currently available. Reading it is thus a sine qua non for all scientists, educators, politicians, and all who are responsible for others, not least doctors, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists. Alongside a subject and biographical index, a detailed glossary is urgently required. Wiss.Literatur-Anzeige der Univ. Gießen und Marburg, Autumn 1999, Prof. Dr. Dr. Köhler

As people say, where there is much light there are also many shadows. No wonder then, that critics and warning voices also address Eastern teachings of wisdom. The Shadow of the Dalai Lama (Victor and Victoria Trimondi, Patmos, 800 pp., with photos and illustrations, DM 58.00) is a sharp-sighted analysis, a religious-philosophical work of fundamental research into the interpretation and decipherment of Tibetan Buddhism. The book is riveting– I was "hooked" from the start: belief in ghosts, sexual magic, political and ritual murder, ideologies of war, torture, and a deeply misogynist culture appear on the stage when the authors pull aside the pacifist curtain of "compassion". The book is actually more of a political and explanatory book, which wishes to warn us of the power-political consequences of Tibetan Buddhism. Buchhändler Heute, Düsseldorf, June 1999

The Trimondi’s theses are provocative: desire for the end of the world, an aggressive cult, the goal of world domination, and the sexual exploitation of women – "strong stuff" with which to reproach Tibetan Buddhism. In fact, in this book Buddhism and the Dalai Lama himself are subjected to a comprehensive critique for the first time in the German-speaking world. [...] The authors inform the reader in detail about the development of Buddhism and its cultic ramifications such as Tantrism. They oppose the hyping up of Buddhism by media and culture trendies without a knowledge of its historical and cultural background. This ignorance of the topic and of the background is what the authors wish to put an end to with their book. The book’s theses are described in detail and annotated with numerous sources. The background to the cultic and ritual practices, the sexual and military obsessions of Buddhism are accurately described. Rheinische Post, Nr. 214 Christoph Weiss - September 1999

Critical Links to Buddhism and Lamaism



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