Opinion / Raymond Zhou

Spiritual guides or charlatans?

By Raymond Zhou (China Dadily) Updated: 2015-12-14 07:13

The funny thing is, all those Rinpoches active in the Han area, whose only connection with Tibetan Buddhism is probably their crimson robes, act as consorts, assistants or au pairs and have the potential to be ticking bombs in families, or a dependant in the least harmful scenario.

The trend is said to have started with showbiz luminaries, whose entourage would include agents, a phalanx of personal assistants, an English-language coach, a fitness coach and now a personal religious leader, who customizes your spiritual enlightenment.

Mind you, while a televangelist speaks to thousands at a venue and perhaps millions via television, a Rinpoche serves just one person. No wonder some female stars ended up carrying their babies.

But illiterate as I am about religious niceties, I'm not sure what sort of Rinpoche is supposed to be celibate a la a Roman Catholic priest. Honestly, I believe a Chinese update of the Moliere play could have more twists.

I have met a couple of such people in the past decade. I was once asked to translate by a friend's friend a little pamphlet written by a "great man". It started with the origin of man-neither the Darwin version nor the Christian version, but a fusion of both, and many more.

You could have fit in the mythologies of the whole world because it was vague and very "accommodating". Then it went on to address world peace. I thought, wow, here is some ordinary Chinese concerned about such big issues and I was a little moved.

Page after page, the rhetoric grew more grand and grandiloquent. In the end the author was putting himself in the league of Jesus Christ and founders of all the mainstream religions in the world.

I requested a meeting with him and found that his purpose was a photo opportunity with the secretary-general of the United Nations. So I suggested, why settle for so little? You could have a photo with Jesus himself. There are many who play him in Hollywood movies.

Most Viewed Today's Top News