July 19, 2024

Archives for August 2014

Virgin Skulls and the Forbidden Stitch

Virgin Skulls and the Forbidden Stitch

by James C. Stephens

Note: This repost of an article written in 2005 has been slightly modified.

Currently Buddhism is being marketed to such a high degree that even Buddhists parody the Madison Avenue hype surrounding the Buddhist boom. Buddha books are big business, while magazines are a lucrative cottage industry supported by pages and pages of advertisements marketing everything from retreats, national conferences, the reincarnation of tea, salad dressings, Buddha beads, sneakers to smiling Tibetan lamas opening Toshiba laptops on the “rooftop of the world.”

Huge billboards along LA freeways featured the smiling image of the Dalai Lama advertising Apple’s “Think Different,” while the “Simpson’s,” a primetime cartoon program parodying American culture, focused on little Lisa’s conversion to Tibetan Buddhism on their Christmas special.

Three years ago, a consortium of art museums, scholars, performers, artists, and cultural communities and critics met at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in New York to begin planning a major collaborative art project called The Buddhism Project. By the spring of 2000, the West Coast component decided to independently pursue its own goals and established Awake: Art, Buddhism, and the Dimensions of Consciousness.

Its stated objective is to “explore the relationships between Buddhist practice and art practice in America” and will reveal through a planned series of exhibits, film festivals, and lectures “the threads of Buddhist influence that run through the fabric of contemporary culture and the potential for satisfying aesthetic experience engendered by an open, aware state of mind.”

Awake initiated a curriculum development committee to develop meditation materials based exclusively on Buddhist art and practice to introduce it into the ninth grade classrooms. Signs that this program is finding its way into Los Angeles Unified School District unfolded on November 4, as the LA County Museum of Art Teacher and School Program, held a training session entitled, “Images of Compassion: Buddhist Art and Practice” which explained:

The meanings of Buddhist symbols and gestures are explored, as well as how the art was used in meditation, the primary practice of all types of Buddhism.

A special curriculum guide, “Visual Arts for Meditation,” has been developed for junior high, high school and comparative religion teachers. A training session for these materials will occur during the program….

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, Rubin Foundation, Awake is now comprised of fifty institutions and individuals, many who openly are Buddhist practitioners, artists and priests, who will be seriously promoting a pro-Buddhist agenda at over 60 major exhibitions across America from January 2003 until 2005.

Why Now? Imagine living two years prior to the opening of Mecca, the Islamic holy site where six million devout Muslims annually make a pilgrimage once in their lifetime. In 2005, the $200,000,000 Maitreya Project, the Buddhist equivalent to Mecca is slated to be completed in Bodh Gaya, India in the state of Bihar (still in process). The statue of Maitreya (Future Messiah) Buddha is 500′ tall (reduced to 125’) and will house over two million Buddhist idols.

Many new temples, schools, hospitals, hotels, and facilities are being constructed for this arising global Buddhist center where millions of Buddhists and spiritual seekers will make a pilgrimage to where the Siddhartha Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment. Awake and The Buddhism Project have undoubtedly been scheduled to dovetail to assist in raising awareness and funds for the Maitreya Project which will be completed in 2005.

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One of the major platforms is the San Francisco-Los Angeles Corridor where over 28 exhibits will be staged at museums and universities. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art [1] at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art beginning October 5, 2003 and running through January 4, 2004 is designed to “offer a clear experience of providing a vivid guide through the stages of meditation.”

Christopher Knight, art critic for the LA Times reviewed the opening of the “Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art” exhibit in a tongue in cheek art review, entitled: “Overstating the religious?” which opened on October 5, 2003.

He keenly pointed out,

“Interested in becoming a Buddhist? You’re in luck. Now through Jan. 4, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is offering general instruction in Vajrayana Buddhism…Why is a county art museum offering a public course of religious study? Beats me. But that’s the novel-and inappropriate—organizing principle behind the otherwise impressive new exhibition “The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art…”


In the opening gallery, one passes by a nondescript religious silk wall hanging of several flower vases and an assortment of mountain scenes. The Exhibit’s curator Professor John Huntington (Ohio State University) revealed that he had some irreconcilable difficulties in its creation as it was stitched by twelve to twenty-one year old girls recruited for the job.

He went on to ask, ‘Why only until twenty-one? Because by then they had gone blind in making them.’ This spurred me onto further research which revealed that the Forbidden Stitch law had been passed in China to prevent this abusive practice in the silk trade. The stitches were so fine, that it produced blindness in the girls.

Today, in India and China there are over fifteen million indentured children working extremely long hours under cruel circumstances in the silk, rug and other industries, which severely damage their health, akin to the abusive child labor practices found in the west during the industrial revolution. The tragedy is that today we buy some of these discounted products in Wal-Mart and other stores and thus perpetuate abusive institutions.


In the main gallery, a sand mandala dedicated to two obscure copulating deities was built for the first time in the western hemisphere by a group of Tibetan Lamas from a monastery in Long Beach. Based upon ancient Tibetan rituals invoking the presence of Tibetan deities and goddesses, this sand painting acts as a portal to the demonic realm and establishes territorial authority wherever it is built.

In a very unusual and secretive spontaneous event, another sand mandala invoking the Diamond Realm and establishing a seat for the universal Buddhist emperor was built in LACMA West on December 11-14, 2003. The Southern Asian Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art invited “Most Rev. Badri Ratna Bajracharya, ‘Living National Treasure’ of Nepal along with eleven other priests and one laywoman from Buddhist temples from the Kathmandu Valley. They wrote,

For the first time in history, Buddhist priests from the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal will present their magnificent ritual practices outside of their homeland. These priests are the last surviving legacy of the Vajrayana tradition of South Asia.” [2]

According to Alexander v. Rospatt (Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig, Germany) who presented a paper at the 1998 “Conference on Buddhist Heritage of Nepal Mandala”, that the Vajrayana mandalas that are built by the Tantric Newars function to establish the seat of the Adi-Buddha, the universal religious emperor and his diamond realm. [3]

After four days of invocations to Buddhist deities and constructing the sand mandala which contained eight great Hindu gods, the nine great terrifying ones, the four great kings, and ten protectors,…and eight great water spirits” [4] it was discreetly swept up and was dispersed in Malibu by an American Chinese Buddhist. [5]


In the final gallery of the Circle of Bliss Exhibit, there were several religious wall hangings dedicated to the Wheel of Time God (Kalachakra). This cosmography of the Kalachakra which Tibetan Buddhists profess brings peace, was one and the same that was built in Tower One previous to 9-11 in 1994 by Ngawang Chojor, a member of the order of the Namgyal, the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery. Even the Trimondi’s who are the authors of The Shadow of the Dalai Lama have linked the building of this mandala to destruction. [i]

If our previous experience of watching busloads of children attend the Shi-Tro Mandala at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena during the Cosmos Exhibit is any measuring stick, we anticipate that the exhibit will be attended by busloads of children from the Los Angeles Unified School District over the Exhibits scheduled stay at LACMA.


This fall beginning on October 19, Pacific Asia Museum will host a showing of The White Beryl Sutra which the Tibetan Shaman chants when channeling spirits for giving guidance to Tibetan lamas or the Dalai Lama who consults the Nechung Oracle to this day is inhabited by demonic spirits.

At Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, California on Sunday October 12, 2003 Tibet! Treasures from the Roof of the World will open displaying for the first time in Western history, “rare and sacred treasures of Tibet” from the Dalai Lama’s summer and winter palaces. “They are objects that are at the center of myths and legends in the 1,000 room Potala Palace, which was built in the 1600’s by the fifth Dalai Lama.” [6]After the exhibit closes in May 2004, it will embark on a national tour.


The following sampling gives one a taste of what is coming this fall (2003) in So Cal:

Salvation: Images of the Buddhist Deity of Compassion @ LACMA Aug. 14, 2003-July 5, 2004 (Disturbing: This is Avalokitsevara-the Patron Deity of Tibet whom Buddhists believe is in the Dalai Lama).

Drawing on Faith: Ink Paintings for Korean Buddhist Icons @ LACMA Aug. 25, 2003-Jan. 11, 2004.

From the Verandah: Art, Buddhism and Presence @ UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History Oct. 5, 2003-December 28, 2003 Collaborative project with UCLA Hammer Museum and Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art [7] at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art beginning October 5, 2003 and running through January 4, 2004 (begins on Yom Kippur)

Tibet!Treasures from the Roof of the World @ Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA from October 12 through May 2004.

The White Beryl Sutra @ Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, CA from Oct. 19, 2003.

Chieh Jen Chen Artist Residency @ Otis College of Art and Design in L.A.-Fall 2003.

The Art of Rice: Spirit and Sustenance in Asia @ UCLA Fowler Museum Fall 2003.

The Great Gesture (Mahamudra): Confluence of Brancusi’s Art and Buddhist Poetry @ LACMA October 2003.


First International Buddhist Film Festival @ LACMA, Nov. 20-24, 2003.

My interest in the power of media and its negative influence led me to reading The Religion of the Force, which talked about the movie “The Empire Strikes Back,” which Director Irving Kirschner said was designed to introduce Zen Buddhism to Children. Yoda, the Jedi’s teacher was none other than the proverbial Zen master. The latest movie about Tina Turner’s life “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”  blatantly touts Buddhism as the way to true happiness. Indeed, today’s celebrities are America’s gurus. If you are not teaching your children, the media is. [ii]

What will be our answer to the blatant idolatry that is being funded by your tax dollars in museums and universities across the nation? Prayer is a given. What should be our response? We are called to protect our children from the onslaught in the schools. The Awake Project is also developing a curriculum on meditation based exclusively on Buddhist art and practices for introduction into the ninth grade.

Studies have shown that there are presently over 1600 Buddhist temples, centers and monasteries in America, many of them Tibetan. [8] In the twelve years between 1985 and 1997, “more Buddhist meditation centers were established than the total number founded in the first eighty-five years of the twentieth century.” [iii]


A key component of their religious agenda is the establishment of Shambhala, a global Buddhist empire, illuminated in the Kalachakra initiation. While researching the life of Agvan Dorzhiev, tutor to the XIII Dalai Lama and Lhasa’s emissary to Russia’s Tsar, John Snelling uncovered the “Shambhala Project,” Dorzhiev’s vision of a great Buddhist empire. “Many Kalachakra devotees, including the present Dalai Lama believe that it is an actual place.” [iv]

Dorzhiev “skillfully” negotiated the political support of the Bolshevik regime in his religious vision by stating that “Buddhist doctrine is largely compatible with current Communist thinking.” [v]

The “Shambhala Project” incorporated Geshe Wangyal, a key Tibetan Buddhist leader from Kalmykia (a Tibetan Buddhist Republic in the former USSR). Fleeing the “full brunt of Stalin’s wrath” in 1952, Kalmyk refugees were the first group of Tibetan Buddhists to see Lady Liberty. After resettling in New Jersey, they established a Tibetan Buddhist temple and “in 1955, the eminent Kalmyk Lama Geshe Wangyal (1901-83) came to minister there. [vi]


How is it that wherever the Dalai Lama ventures, that the seemingly Teflon mystique of “Shangri-La” follows him? Originally the myth seems to have found its voice through the writings of James Hilton, the author of Lost Horizons and Lowell Thomas’s radio programs about his adventures in Tibet. [vii] Movie Director, Frank Capra perpetuated the myth of “Shangri-La,” a mysterious hidden kingdom through “Lost Horizons” (1937).

Rarely though does the Dalai Lama speak of his country’s historical problems with feudalism or his political contacts with Neo-Socialists. In Tricycle, a quarterly Buddhist magazine, Alex McKay explores the Nazi expedition to Tibet in 1939 involving five members of Hitler’s Secret Service. Their anthropological studies sought to confirm evidence of Hitler’s “idea of racial perfection that would justify their views on world history and German supremacy.” [viii] This became a source of embarrassment to the producers of “Seven Years in Tibet” which quickly glossed over Heinrech Harrer’s SS connection to Adolf Hitler.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Bible Church in Chicago, shared his concern about Tibet’s connection with Nazi Germany in Hitler’s Cross, a startling exposé.

He wrote,

Karl Haushofer became Hitler’s mentor. Haushofer had made several trips to India and was well versed in eastern occultism. He also lived in Japan for a time where he was initiated into an esoteric Buddhist sect called the “Green Dragon.” Through these contacts a colony of Tibetan lamas settled in Berlin, and when the Russians took the city in 1945, they found a thousand Tibetan corpses in German uniforms. Haushofer, more than any other, challenged Hitler with the vision of world conquest.

The newer contacts of the Dalai Lama with Neo-Nazis are equally troubling. On several occasions he has met with Chilean diplomat Miguel Serrano, the leader of the National Socialist Party of Chile who is the “ideologist of esoteric Hitlerism.” Serrano was a student of ‘Julius Evola (1898-1974) WWII Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s chief ideologist, who was heavily influenced by Tibetan Tantricism.’ [x]

The remarkable tenure of the Dalai Lama as God-King for life surpasses every President we’ve had since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although most nations do not officially recognize Tibet as a sovereign nation, they still allow the Dalai Lama the liberty to speak from his platform as a religious leader, even though they have little knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism’s global agenda or its worldview. As a religious and political foreign guest, the Dalai Lama has mastered the Buddhist art of “skillful means” (Upaya) and utilizes his position to propagate Tibetan Buddhism believing “the end, justifies the means.”


“They that do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Victor and Victoria Trimondi, two radical German Buddhists who were instrumental in inviting the Dalai Lama to Germany wrote,

“Only the worst villain could disagree with what he has said and written.” After responding to his encouragement to convert to Tibetan Buddhism, they uncovered an extreme “metaphysical exploitation of women,” a vile connection between magic and politics, and “the foundation for an absolutistic system in which spiritual and worldly power are united in one person, the Dalai Lama.” [xi]

Their findings were released in February 1999 in The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics, an expose of 800 pages of carefully researched and reasoned arguments. The Trimondi’s take you on a painful spiritual journey that dismantles the West’s idealized image of Tibet and takes off the pacifist mask of the Dalai Lama, revealing a pantheon of warring deities and a skillful God-King who still acknowledges the guidance of the Nechung Oracle [9] in all his important State decisions.

A deity war is being waged today against the 20,000 followers of Shugden Dorje, whose worship was outlawed by the Dalai Lama and is being enforced by house-to-house searches in India.


They warn that the ‘Kalachakra Initiation is consciously devoted to the manipulation of believers and introduces “an aggressive military ethos” aiming at “the establishment of a global Buddhocracy” following a Buddhist war in 2327 waged against the followers of Mohammed, Abraham, and Jesus.’ [xii]

In light of Tibet’s historical takeover of Bön, one might be tempted to seriously ask, “Do we as Americans understand the Buddhist worldview that is motivating Tibetans to systematically build sand mandalas across America? Or are they simply sharing their art and culture to raise money to build prayer halls in Asia?”

In October 1998, two groups of Tantric Buddhist monks began a tour across America and Canada to construct 100 sand mandalas which were predominantly financed by Gere Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Their professed goal beyond raising funds simply was “to spread their knowledge to everyone who wants to learn about their traditions.” [xiii]

In one of Karl Gustav Jung’s last works, “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth,” he remarked that mandalas are the “pre-eminent symbol for our time” and appear in “situations of psychic confusion and perplexity.” [xiv] He went on to associate the psychological experience of the UFO phenomena with the “rotundum, the symbol of wholeness and the archetype that expresses itself in mandala form.” [xv]

module 2 pictureIn the blockbuster movie, “Independence Day” you may recall the terror of citizens across the globe who helplessly observed alien ships attack earth in a global Armageddon. A review of the movie discloses alien ships assuming the form of giant air born mandalas, symbolically opening up as lotus flowers (euphemistic Tantric symbol for vagina in Buddhism) usurping power from giant buildings (phallic symbolism) that penetrated the skies. Prior to the White House’s destruction by an alien ship, a split second shot of a small framed picture of the Dalai Lama and the President is revealed in the Oval Office.

According to the Trimondi’s, “the Kalachakra sand mandala is a means of occult possession of the territory in which it is created” [xvi] including the waters where it is dispersed, reminding one of their original strategy of conquest in Tibet. Some Buddhists theorize it brings peace, while other Buddhist scholars speculate it brings destruction in its wake. One such mandala was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution as part of a $6,500,000 Summer 2000 Folk Life Festival featuring “Tibet Land Beyond the Snows” on the Capitol Mall in Washington, DC. Over 2,500,000 visitors attended the exhibit replete with Tibetan temple, prayer monument, prayer wheels, pornographic Tantric idols and chanting lamas.


In the overcrowded marketplace of ideas, where every guru, priest, and religious leader is being promoted as the solution to the world’s problems, “buyers beware” is a watchword to be taken quite seriously. Maybe my apprehension arises out of my experience as a Buddhist in the 70’s hearing all the talk about peace, compassion and kindness from leaders who in the same breathe spoke in condescending tones about the superiority of Buddhism. Critical thinking however, doesn’t need to go out the door when we are hosting, interacting or sharing our faith with those of other religious persuasions.

Christians have a duty to investigate religious systems that impact their lives and to effectively proclaim the Gospel in full understanding of the context of world history. Os Guinness, born in China, educated at Oxford, at a talk at La’bri in 1973 issued a stern warning to the Church it has yet to heed:

The swing to the East has come at a time when Christianity is weak at just those points where it would need to be strong to withstand the East. Without this strength, the Eastern religions will be to Christianity a new, dangerous Gnosticism, but this time much of the fight will be lost before many see the nature of the danger. [xvii]

I have observed Tibetan lamas in local host museums teaching young children how to make mandalas who were innocently unaware of their proximity to malevolent spirits. Even Tibetan lamas recognize dangerous demons that manifest during the construction of mandalas and perform ritual offerings to them to prevent their own possession by demonic spirits.


The late Mas Toyotomi, a Japanese American who served with Japanese Evangelical Missions Society warned,

“Satan’s subtle strategy is to camouflage idolatry in such a way that even Christians do not recognize it as such. Because there is practically no preaching against idolatry in America, they are vulnerable to the temptations of modern sophisticated idolatry. [xviii]”

The watchman’s warning is clear (Ezekiel 33:4). The Tibetan Buddhist World Peace Vase Project [10] recently completed its’ first global target, America. 180 tantric vases have now been buried in every state, key National Parks, significant mountain peaks, Capital cities, lakes, and major waterways. Tibetan Tantric Lamas continue to build mandalas at Universities, museums, buildings and temples in America financed by major foundations.

In the Old Testament, God “abandoned Israel because it was filled “with idols” and “influences from the east.”  The first of His commandments read:

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have
brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt
have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing
that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for
I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And
shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;
for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Exodus 20:1-7

Thou shalt nots

The message to Christians all across America is indeed, AWAKE from your slumber!

God warns us that He abandoned Israel because it was filled “with idols” and “influences from the east.”

Rather than serving God and loving Him, they “mingled with the nations and learned their practices” which were detestable to the Lord, so the Lord then “gave them into the hand of the nations; and those who hated them ruled over them” (Psalm 106:40b NASV).