by Charles Carreon
In 2002 Shambhala Sun, the shameful house organ of the Vajradhatu mafia, published a pathetic softball interview of phony tulku Steven Seagal. The interviewer in "Steven Seagal Speaks" feeds Seagal one easy question after another, and never once follows up with a pointed interrogation. The interviewer points out none of the obvious contradictions in Seagal's flow of blather. I've read more incisive interviews of Miss America.
There's a stink of piety and obeisance to the questions, which are spiked with Trungpa-esque phrases like "finding your seat," which give it that "insider" flavor. (See Trungpa's poem to Osel Tendzin urging him to "find his seat." Tendzin famously misfired while enjoying his seat, causing one of his students, and the student's girlfriend, to die of AIDS. But he had such a sunny disposition in the face of tragedy, that he is quoted as saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, the point is not to live as long as possible." Shambhala Sun has never covered the topic of Tendzin's murders, imposing a complete blackout on this topic. Although Tendzin is venerated by the Shambhaloids, who have reinvented him as a teacher with a "provocative" style, there is no information about him on the Shambhala Sun website, except for that one quote above, drawn from a doctor-devotee's essay.
No, instead of real information about their crash-and-burn gurus, the Shambhala Sun is working to shore up the reputation of Steven Seagal, who dropped out of the sky like the meteor in David Spade's hilarious sendup of redneck life, "Joe Dirt." http://www.jackasscritics.com/movie.php?movie_key=52 .The Seagal interview is by screenwriter Stanley Weiser ("Wall Street" 1989). His Seagal interview is so soft-brained , I thought maybe he wrote "The Karate Kid." It must be the air in Los Angeles; either that, or the number of gurus that swing through the town.
Whatever the cause, Weiser takes Seagal seriously, as only a fellow show-business person can. Willing suspension of disbelief is the key here. Seagal swings from one contradictory statement to another. First he says he was born with a spiritual bent, and that he's on earth only to do good. Then he admits he suffered delusions of grandeur when he was young, and now he understands things better. But his "better" understanding is the same one he had when he was young -- that he needs to achieve great spiritual wisdom to benefit human beings. He says he's meditated a long time, but then admits tantra confuses him. He says he wouldn't give a bribe to be called a tulku, but admits making large donations to religious organizations. He claims he keeps his donations secret, and complains that the press hasn't publicized his generosity. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's let the man speak for himself. All quotes are accurate, though they have been rearranged in order to highlight contradictions.
In other words, "Yes, and it's long overdue."SEAGAL wrote:
Q: There are the recent reports that Penor Rinpoche has recognized you as a tulku. Is that correct?
A: ... Well, first of all, this a recognition that people have been telling me about for more than twenty years, people who have known me in the dharma for a long time, long, long before Penor Rinpoche ever formalized this.
"You see, I've been spiritually advanced from birth, like all tulkus."SEAGAL wrote:
I was born with a serious spiritual consciousness and for many years studied different paths.
"I used to be impressed with my inborn wisdom-talent. Now I am beyond any delusions involving self-importance."SEAGAL wrote:
I was confused in my youth: I thought that if I could spiritually feed myself to levels of great spiritual attainment then I could do greater things in the world and it would be good for me and therefore good for everyone else.
"Like all of the Great Ones, my mission is healing."SEAGAL wrote:
I am here on this Earth for one thing and that is to see if I can somehow serve humankind and ease the suffering of others.
"I have tried to hide my light from the world, actively concealing my divinity."SEAGAL wrote:
It was something that I had always kept secret, and in fact denied.
"For that matter, why would I now argue in favor of my divinity when I have in the past denied it?"SEAGAL wrote:
So if I denied it then, why would I bribe people for it now?
"You will find no record of my donations anywhere, both because I hate publicizing good deeds, and because those damned reporters hate me."SEAGAL wrote:
I have traditionally donated large sums of money to many different religious organizations ... in secret, but ... the press believes there is no profit in reporting good deeds.
"You know, it's just something you get used to."SEAGAL wrote:
[P]eople ...said to me that I am an incarnate lama, or tulku.
"I supported violent resistance, but that's top secret, and bad for my image. Nobody understands what it's like to be a secret agent bodhisattva."SEAGAL wrote:
I was originally introduced to ... a handful of lamas who had come over from Tibet [who] were sick and had been tortured. [W]hen the Khampas were still fighting the Chinese and the CIA was helping them, and because of the severe repression of the Tibetan people, I wanted to get involved. ... it is probably best if we don’t get into that. ...I don’t want to appear to be a dangerous revolutionary person.
"I keep secrets, which are dark things I will not talk about. I also keep things private, about which I am happy to tell you, because I must use them as evidence of my long-time connection with all things Tibetan."SEAGAL wrote:
These were the years when my interest in Tibetan Buddhism flourished, but my involvement in any of the spiritual endeavors and training remained my personal business—not secret as some of the other things were, but just private.
"You won't be able to verify any of my claims, because like I said, it was private, because I didn't want the attention. Now I want the attention."SEAGAL wrote:
I very much wanted to be invisible in the dharma community, for a lot of reasons. Only in the last few months have I come out of the closet.
"He didn't recognize me as Yudra Nyingpo, but he 'basically' recognized me as this other guy, who was his reincarnation."SEAGAL wrote:
Penor Rinpoche basically recognized me as Kyung-drak Dorje, who was the reincarnation of the translator Yudra Nyingpo.
"Do not try to get any details out of me."SEAGAL wrote:
From the time that I started going to India and meditating I did start getting memories [of past lives] that were fairly unclear.
"Many lamas kiss my ass. Perhaps they have heard about my secret donations."SEAGAL wrote:
Just a few days ago ... a lama ... said to me ... "you have a very good imprint of many strong past lives, and therefore your realization will come more swiftly than some people’s."
Q: What did he mean by that?
A: I can’t really explain it.
"For example, I am a huge man who could break your head with my fist. It's not important."SEAGAL wrote:
Of course, as you practice longer, you will develop some different siddhis. But none of them really matters.
"Let's talk about something I know about, okay?"SEAGAL wrote:
... I have consistently said ... I don’t believe it is very important who I was in my last lives, I think it is important who I am in this life...
"All of the Great Ones deny being great. I fit the mold."SEAGAL wrote:
I am not a highly realized being, I am not a great lama, I don’t have any great practice.
"Of course, you already heard about the 27 years, the Tibetans recognizing me as divine, and my special talents in meditation, so you know this is just more of my humble schtick."SEAGAL wrote:
I am a very low person just trying to get to first base and the most basic practice of a bodhisattva. I am starting humble memorizations, meditations, and prayers.
"Have another helping!"SEAGAL wrote:
I have been doing serious meditation in my own pitiful way for probably twenty-seven years.
"Name dropping really works with Tibetan Buddhists, so bombs away!"SEAGAL wrote:
Hopefully [by sitting with Trichen Rinpoche and Penor Rinpoche] I will absorb some knowledge or wisdom....
"I just keep it simple. Like Elvis Costello said, 'What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?'"SEAGAL wrote:
Whenever I get too esoteric into the realms of tantric stuff, I get a little bit lost.
"So glad I'm over that obstacle!"SEAGAL wrote:
[T]he great obstacle was just a lack of understanding of the way.
"A total dead end."SEAGAL wrote:
[W]hen I was in Japan, people tried to deify me, and the reason I left there was that deification is truly a death trap.
"Once people realize you're divine, it's all over. They will deify you. Didn't want to make the same mistakes here, so I just laid low."SEAGAL wrote:
That is a reason why I kept my spiritual practice to myself in America.
"I've just learned to take it in stride. I'm huge, I'm handsome, I'm rich. And on top of it all, I'm divine. The adulation is just part of the scene."SEAGAL wrote:
I don’t think deification has been one of my biggest problems in life because I am lucky enough to have understood a long time ago what adoration and power really are about.
"If anyone will listen, I need the practice."SEAGAL wrote:
I have given teachings recently. Always on Buddha’s teachings.
"This sort of thing worked for Charlie Manson, why not for me? Just talk bullshit and let it roll."SEAGAL wrote:
When I walk into a room some people see a dog, some people see a cow. I am all of what they see. It is their perception.
"I heard that some guy named Naropa saw his guru as a dog. I been thinkin' a lot about that."SEAGAL wrote:
Buddhanature is in all of us, even in a mangy dog lying in the gutter with fleas. That dog is Buddha to me.
"He knows I make movies in which I kill lots of people."SEAGAL wrote:
The Dalai Lama has said to me to concentrate on bodhicitta.
"Just had to ask that, didn't you?"SEAGAL wrote:
Q: The Dalai Lama gave you personal instructions about teaching?
A: I wouldn’t say he has given me personal instructions about teaching.
"I swear I never think about it."SEAGAL wrote:
I don’t really care what other people think of me or say about me.
"Blondes, bucks, flashy cars, all mean nothing to me. What I want is all stuff I can imagine in my head just as well without a dime in my pocket. In fact, I'm about to give away all my stuff, I'm feeling so solaced about it all."SEAGAL wrote:
Guru Rinpoche, the Lord Buddha and all the protectors, dakas and dakinis [give me solace].
"But my arms aren't long enough."SEAGAL wrote:
I want to be able to feed the children who are starving and sick in Tibet.
"That's me and some other people I can't mention."SEAGAL wrote:
We are also trying recently to do something for people with eye problems in Tibet.
"This is my best shot at profundity. Watch that I don't drown."SEAGAL wrote:
Acting is an art ... art is the mother of religion; by becoming one with ourselves and nature, one becomes one with god.
"I learned about emanations recently. I like to use the word, but maybe this isn't the best way."SEAGAL wrote:
[A]rt imitates life and its function should be a perfect and accurate interpretation of the way life really is, in all of its emanations.
"It is fun to be honest sometimes."SEAGAL wrote:
I am not saying that I am a great artist; I am probably a poor artist.
"I am drowning. Please help me."SEAGAL wrote:
I am an artist trying to perfect his craft, but at the same time I do have feelings about violence.
"I agreed to kill people on film in exchange for millions, not realizing I would someday want to pose as a man of peace. By the time this tulku option opened up, I was stuck."SEAGAL wrote:
I was under a contract with Warner Brothers I could not get out of, and what they wanted me for was the male action films.
"Yeah, like I was gonna do "Hamlet" for the BBC, and a special with the Muppets."SEAGAL wrote:
I was offered extraordinary sums of money by other studios to do different types of movies and Warner Brothers would not let me.
"Yeah, I'm going to do a dinosaur special for Discovery Channel."SEAGAL wrote:
Now that I’m out of that situation, ... the kinds of films I would really like to do ... are spiritual in nature and ... will lead people into contemplation and offer them joy.
"People have a lot of frustrations, and when my character breaks every bone in a villain's body by slamming him against every protuberance on a late-model BMW, then shoves him into the trunk and pushes the Beamer off a high-rise parking structure, it releases those frustrations, and that gives people joy. Then they can consider the path of contemplation, and how they can only kick the shit out of their enemies if they stay calm, like me."SEAGAL wrote:
I am grateful for the ability that I have on the screen to bring people happiness and joy and the ability that I will have in the future to hopefully bring people into the path of contemplation.
"So people like AmbuFortuna and Odysseus do not bother me at all. In fact, they are my greatest benefactors, because they show me how far I have to go."SEAGAL wrote:
I consider my worst enemies and my worst sufferings to be my greatest teachers, so there is always another side to these negative forces.