View single post by lostsocks
 Posted: Mon Jun 26th, 2006 04:30 pm
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Joined: Sun Jun 11th, 2006
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Posts: 226
If I may speak honestly, as a practicing Buddhist for five years now, I found it mildly offensive and ill-informed.

I think you may need re-research a great deal of your source material.
I've included below the things that stood out to me, I believe other Buddhists would notice these details and find them irritating.

Firstly, You wouldn't find a Tibetan Shaman in Dharmasala, the refugee camp for Tibetan Lamas.
The Tibetan Shamanistic Religion of Bon is all but extinct, and no Lama would also be a practising Shaman. Also, the Dharmasala camp is exclusively inhabited by the Dalai Lama (of the Gelugpa school) and his followers.
This makes the Dorje character slightly unbelievable.

Secondly was the whole "secret text" thing. Buddhist texts are ancient, but not secret. They are openly available to the public and many Buddhist schools actually have specific precepts forbidding us from withholding knowledge of our religion
Again, the concept of Samsara is common knowledge to all Buddhists (east and west) and you would not need a ancient secret text to learn of it. You could probably pick up the basics on Wikipedia.

Whilst some monks and lamas might use the tibetan mantra Om Mane Padme Hum, to say goodbye, very few use it as a greeting or as often as John does. He seems to finish sentences with it arbitarily.

Absolutely no Buddhist would use the Heart Sutra Mantra to finish a sentence.
It is the literal equivelent of saying:

Man one: Hello john
Man two: Hello Bill
Man one: Gone, Gone, Gone to that other shore, All Sentient Beings completely crossed over to that over shore, Enlightment, Hooray!.

Whilst many New Agers mix a belief in Chakras with Buddhism, you will find very few Buddhists who do. Some, but not many.

Dorje expressed a belief in a soul, but Buddhists explicitly state that there is no such thing as the soul.

Karma is not the fruits of past actions, the word Karma means action in sanskrit and refers to whatever we are doing right now.

Now, Samsara.
Firstly, Buddhists believe that all things, even Samsara, will eventually be destroyed. Our mystics have no vested interest in saving the universe from its inevitable destruction.
Samsara does not refer to the whole of creation, but is merely illusory existence. To destroy Samsara would only be to destroy illusion, the universe would still remain. It is in fact the stated aim of most Buddhists to destroy Samsara, we want to overcome it.

It seemed that Tibetan Buddhism had been used as "Generic Mystic Things From the East." largely because people in the west do not have an extensive knowledge about it, it seems easy to float a plot about magic monks and secret texts.
We observe a similar phenomena in the film Bullet Proof Monk.
But as a writer, I think it is dangerous ground to deliberately or accidentally misrepresent a belief system, that is in fact not strange and secretive, but very mainstream in a great deal of the world.

I'm afraid that I actual found the play very funny towards the end, as it seemed to represent a great deal of the wests misperception of my beliefs.

Also, the psychologist, would a trained psychologist really allow such people to perform such actions on a patient of his, firstly the man is a christian, and secondly a trained psychiatric proffessional.
At the very least he would be deeply skeptical, and I must wonder if he would really allow a couple of New Agers in the building to torment an already suffering patient.

The play was confusing for me (and i was already familiar with many of the terms used) and I dread to think what it would do to an uninformed audience. I also felt that the pace (and comments about enemas) were more appropriate for a farce.

Ultimately all I can say is:

As a comedy, aimed a Buddhist audience. It would work with some development.

As a serious play, It still needs a great deal of research, into both the religions and beliefs that the play discusses, and into the world of pschological treatment and hospitals.
For me, it was mainly let down by how ill-informed it was.