A Nepali Buddhist monk, a Rinpoche (high incarnate teacher), when asked about the origins of the Tamang (working class) people of Nepal, to whom he offers his services as a teacher, a priest and a master of the ceremonies of worship practised by the community into which they are born, replied that aeons ago, when the human realm was developing, a mountain demon ( rakshas ) bred with a monkey. From this magical union seven sons were born and these seven boys would in time grow to be the seven men who formed the Tamang tribe of Nepal, as well as a clan in Tibet and others inhabiting the remote tribal borderlands of southern China.
These people, with neither a sense of shame nor embarrassment, believe that this was the reality of how they came into existence. They don’t believe that all people have the same origins, they don’t believe that all of humanity are born equal, they believe in the magical emergence of humanity from a number of disparate and unique spiritual events.
The point of this prose is to consider, not the beliefs of these tribes, nor is to cast doubt on the validity of their assertions. Surely all of the peoples of our world should have the freedom of thought to express, in their own words, how they came to be? The cultures that have emerged and who accept the righteousness, the majesty and the complexity of the philosophy of Hinduism, have every right to assert that their understanding of humanity is valid and is as valid as that perspective offered by the western cultures that have emerged, first from the Judaic tradition that would spawn Christianity and from that reformist theological movement, on to the secular and scientific ‘certainties’. Certainties that they now seek to impose on those who have never converted from their ancient, pagan beliefs.
Science should of course require evidence before it can come to any conclusion. That is it’s nature. That is the point of it. However scientists seem to have forgotten this. There is no proof of God, so God does not exist. There is no evidence of magick, so that cannot exist either. Of course the scientists, in their educated arrogance can offer no categorical proof that either God or magick does not exist. That seems to matter not. To prove their perspective does not require irrefutable evidence. It is enough that they believe it to be true. A clear double standard. Obvious hypocrisy.
I am writing this piece from a rickety verandah that overlooks a serene Himalayan valley, with one ear listening to the pontifications of rather naive western tourists. Unfortunately their sweetly spoken words are salted by the usual arrogance that comes when people assume that they have received a rounded and thorough education. It is this arrogance that will always prevent them from understanding the complexities of humanity and leaves them languishing unwittingly in ignorance.
The westerners who choose to come to the orient, on the whole are deceiving themselves. Firstly, they convince themselves that either they have a cultural curiosity or a spiritual one. For the vast majority have neither. They are here because it is cheap and they can continue to participate in the same cosmopolitan cultural cliques that they would had they been living among in their own countries. To live in their own countries of course requires them to work. That they don’t like. It seems that they consider work to be beneath them. Easier to have Indians or Nepalis to do their labour. They don’t understand the native languages because they make no effort to learn them. The culture, religion and spirituality of the local people are also not understood for the same reason. These matters are reimagined and reinterpreted so that they fit comfortably into the western perspective of possibility. Karma, dharma, tantra, these words are used without any understanding of their meaning. Words from western languages have meanings as do the words that form the lexicon of the oriental languages. Unlike the peoples of the east who actually migrate and learn new words and languages so that they can communicate and participate in new social settings, the westerners, in their arrogance don’t. No effort is made to understand. They assume what the words mean and use them as they please, at their convenience, to make themselves feel better, smarter.
The bottom line is, that these financially fortunate foreign people are no better than their imperialistic forbears of the centuries gone by. When another’s language can be reformulated, misinterpreted and misrepresented at will, it is a sign of the subconscious superiority complex that characterises the white ‘European’ (North Americans and antipodeans included). They have no interest in the cultures or histories of Asians (or of Africans, for that matter). The Europeans, by their words and deeds consider that their understanding of the world and it’s creatures to be correct, because other, bigger brains of their branch of the human species have studied and discovered as much in their world renowned, well funded academic institutions.
Their determination not to rethink what they have previously been forced to absorb in their formative years, should give a clue as to the dangerousness of these people. Their willingness to mock and to slight others for their ‘primitive’, unscientific beliefs and customs is always at the forefront of their mind – even after spending their time and money to seek out these exotic people and to discover a ‘new’, better way of living. There is no sincerity. They adopt and learn no ‘new’ ways. Like the easterners, they don’t actually believe in equality. The difference between them is that the easterners do not pretend otherwise. Western people do. They sell their scientific certainties, that all are born equal, yet behave and speak in a manner that is clearly otherwise. Most are xenophobes, some out and out racists. However all pass that buck of backwardness onto the westerners who stay at home, work in the bank or for the government. They are the racists. They are the creators of the world’s problems. Maybe they are, but they are not hypocrites. They are not leaving their shores to patronise others in their own homeland. They are not the ones who think that natives know less about their own culture than they do. The westerners working in the west every day to pay off their mortgages, are not seeking to convince Nepali or Tamang people that their beliefs are backward and based on myths, stupidity and ignorance.
The fascists are not so many in the west – that ‘ideology’ is too vulgar for most, and resurrect unpalatable memories. They are in the east, masquerading as hippies. Be very careful with such people. Under their politically correct smiles there is a desire to promote a one world Europeanised utopia that serves them and them alone. Tattoos of a deity and a bronze statue of the Divine are absolutely meaningless, serving only to highlight their insincerity and the shallowness of their natures. The tragedy is that people in the developing world associate tourists, with their money and fancy clothes with knowledge, power, progress and righteousness and are abandoning their heritage and spirituality in pursuit of it.
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