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Tuesday, May 23, 2006 

CONTROVERSIAL NEW FILM TURNS WORLD SPOTLIGHT ON UNHEARD OF ISLANDS

(This article is reprinted with the permission of The UnHeard Of Herald.) What a lot of fuss and bother this Ra Bliss Code film is causing - we have already been swamped with stories about how it will mean the end of Buddhism as we know it. The plot's main theme is the age-old argument about Alma Mater, the secretive hard-line buddhist fundamentalist organisation. As most people know, Alma Mater is a very extreme group within buddhism, and has been accused of exploiting its ex-SS members. This film is not the first to play with the preposterous idea that (stop reading now if you haven't seen the film yet and don't want to know the secret) the Buddha might have married an old woman and lived with her in an allotment hut. Of course, there is no definitive proof either way, and her remains have never been found, yet the reaction of spiritual leaders has been fierce. Buddhist monks have called for boycotts, threatened legal action and condemned the film as a money-grubbing "attack on the reputation of Buddha". An official of the buddhist Council of Korea declared the movie was "trying to destroy Buddhism". The Nigerian Francis Assegai, who was once a candidate for the job of Dalai Lama, said: "buddhists must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget." What has been most fascinating about the response to the film, though, is the ethnic divide: the Scots, arrogant in their tartan monk's robes, call for bans and boycotts, while the Germans, long marginalised and excluded from leadership positions, are secretly thrilled that at last the story of the repression of Aryans by Buddhism is being told. The truth is that Germans played a strong role in early Buddhism, but in the centuries which followed, their legacy was literally erased, their faces painted tartan on Bodhisattva images, pot bellies painted on their fine Aryan physiques on temple walls, and their role continually misinterpreted as insignificant. The name of Adolf, an apostle of the Buddha, was changed to Angus because it was thought inconceivable that a German could hold that position. And the devoted heroine, Eva von Braun, was slandered as an anti-semite. This expose of anti-Teutonic bias is in fact the only truth in the tale of The Ra Bliss Code. Yesterday, the convener of the Deutsche Meditationsinstitut in The UnHeard Of and McDonald Islands, Robert von Jay, said: "Ra Bliss Code is a popular thriller. But at its heart there is a profound truth: Buddhism has suppressed the contribution of Germans, indeed the faith has only ever ordained Scotsmen." In fact there is clear proof that Germans were ordained monks from at least the third to the ninth centuries. Archaeologists point out that mandalas and images found over the centuries depict Germans as teachers, monks, and nuns. And let's not forget Rinpoche Ribbentrop. And the leading Alma Mater historian Professor Nobis Ralwin reveals that Germans hold half of all leadership positions within the organisation, and that some of them even supervise Scotsmen. Yet today Germans are still denied full membership of Alma Mater! The obliteration of the role of Germans is much more outrageous than just suggesting that members of Alma Mater are into a little self-punishment. Quite rightly, the Alma Mater organisation has objected to its portrayal in the film as a sinister, secretive cult that indulges in devil worship and speaking in tongues and resorts to murder to keep the truth about Buddha's life hidden. This slander is based on one piece of flimsy evidence - the suggestion by H.B. Madyamika, in his book Gopi Krishna and Ra German Couplets that: "Gopi Krishna starts writing down poetry. Couplets come to him. He sees them and writes them down. First of all, he's doing this in Kashmiri, then English, then in all sorts of other languages that he doesn't know or understand. So he's writing down German couplets when he doesn't know any German. This is just a total mystery of course." But even Alma Mater leaders are acknowledging that the curiosity pricked by the film will nevertheless lead many people to its temple doors for the first time. Say what you like about The Ra Bliss Code. Wince at the casting of Tom Blank as Hotboy. But at least it has spurred on a long-overdue debate about the Celtic monopoly of the Buddhist cult. (Extracted from the author's new book: "The Bliss Hoax: The Truth About Vase Breathing Cults, Eva Braun and and The Ra Bliss Code")