David Bowie, Mary Finnegan and the Marketing of Tibetan Lamas







Mary Finnegan has a new book about David Bowie called the Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab.


You can read it in about two hours. It’s all  about who was there, who was who and  leaves one with the feeling of who cares.  Well  aficionados of David Bowie days will care and read it, particularly now that he is dead,  and young people into bi-sexuality and  sex, rock and roll and the drug scene.   A pretty large marketable crowd.

What is interesting is that in Mary’s blog post,  in 2013,  in the archives at  her website: Flower Raj,  when plugging her upcoming book,  she talks about  her motivation for writing a book:  i.e.  to rehabilitate Tibetan Buddhism,  that she says has gone down a  wrong path. This is  because, she says then,  of corrupt Tibetan  lamas and the naivete of flower children,  like  Mary.


In this archived blog post, she also says she became a one-woman activist to expose Sogyal and his corruptions, as well as the shadow side of Tibetan Buddhism, which she knew quite well. And she was a “one woman activist” and she did expose Sogyal , relentlessly. She knew him well . She was one of Sogyal’s long-time students who even ‘pimped” to find young women to join his Lama harem as she write this experience about it in her article about Sogyal “Behind the Thankas.” She was a feminist voice for the many women that had been abused by Sogyal. Another feminist voice that appears to be silenced.

Yes, Norbu is a genius, Mary.

He made sure Mary didn’t write that other book, the one about Sogyal and all the the corruptions of the exiled Tibetan Lamas- their “greed” and “sexual exploitation” and their “political skulduggery. ” Instead she wrote Norbu’s book, a subtle marketing tool for Tibetan Buddhism. A book that is about putting Tibetan Buddhism only in a good light. In fact, Sogyal is not mentioned at all, and Tibetan Buddhism is barely mentioned, except to say how wonderful it was to Bowie and Mary Finnegan. It certainly reveals none of the shadow side that was Mary’s first intent, i.e. writing her expose about the terrible sexual abuses of these lamas and its very dark side. Instead Mary’s Tibetan Buddhism is just piggybacked on a book about David Bowie that is sure to sell, at least for a while. That’s enough for the lamas. After all the Dalai Lama’s picture to sell Apple computers was enough to keep a halo on him for decades. So why not try it again? With David Bowie. There will be a surge of interest with his passing. Good timing, particularly since Tibetan Buddhism is rightfully being held in such disrepute, at least by those that actually want to know the facts and not the fairy tales.

Mary’s book will now  pair  Tibetan Buddhism  with a popular brand name “David Bowie”   and it will do exactly what Mary’s first book was going to expose and condemn:  i.e. marketing their tantric  Vajrayana Buddhism as  the lamas’  “greatest asset” to a new group of “naive  westerners” and  retro-hippie millennials,  including those  interested in the history of  the rock and roll scene, bi-sexuality and drugs. They will see  David Bowie as their  new “saint” and role model along with Alan Ginsberg and Tibetan Buddhism as something only wonderful  will subliminally be planted in their minds.

The Tibetan lamas are nothing, if not clever marketing professionals. After all, they have had over a thousand years to perfect their art.

But their enrollments are dwindling in the West and they need more naive young people, like Mary and her rock and roll bunch, her drug friends, rock and roll groupies, and aspiring stars. They are targeting quite aggressively another intellectually lost generation of trust-fund kids, the same groups the lamas targeted in the 1960’s on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Trungpa did the same thing here with Joni Mitchell and others in the California rock and roll scene. It gave him overnight status and swelled his Tibetan tantra sanghas. Tibetan Buddhism got a lot of mileage with Allen Ginsberg and the poetry scene,as well. They even created Naropa Insitute to serve as a constant recruiting tool that is still inducting these young into Tibetan Buddhism. The rock and roll and the literati , along with the Hollywood glitterati , are always the “marketing assets” of the Tibetan lamas who are hoping they can cash in on this again and soon.
What she leaves out of her blog  post,  written in 2013,   under “controversy”  is that Namkai Norbu was there,  in the  middle of the circle of celebrity lamas and their  wagons, protecting Sogyal the abuser,  when the  CBC documentary in Canada  aired.   This endorsement of Sogyal by her new teacher was while Mary was  attempting to expose Sogyal through her  “one woman activism” and   writings.

In fact, Namkai Norbu, wrote glowing  letter of endorsement for  Sogyal in the summer of 2011, right after the  expose film was released.  He  had a picture taken of the two of them,  glad-handing and arm hugging.  Both letter and picture were  immediately put up on  Sogyal’s “Rigpa”  website as damage control for all the Tibetan lamas, who were panicking, knowing how dangerous this film was to all of them.

Mary also seems oblivious  to the fact that Namkai Norbu  would not appreciate her “one woman activism” at all.  He  had come out officially in his own sangha against “feminism” explicitly, and had  hounded Tsultrim Allione into ‘heretic land”  along with the rest of  the Lama mafia, compelling her  into silence,   for trying  to expose the sexual abuse of these high Tibetan lamas.   She, too,  was silenced –  with a hat of her own  and a throne.

Norbu had actually declared that “feminism and Dzogchen, ”  his specialty Buddhist practice, “could never be compatible.” Meaning you couldn’t be a feminist and a Dzogchen practitioner at the same time.  I wonder if Mary knows that?  The younger generation of women that Mary is targeting by writing this book should surely know it and soon.

Yet,  interestingly Mary can still refer to herself as  a ‘feminist’  and a  Dzogchen student of Norbu , without the predictable  Norbu condemnation.  May I suggest what has changed is that the Tibetan Lamas have taken up one of their many politically- correct masks for the West  called    “feminism,”  created to fool all  Western women  into believing this is  one of their activist agendas too.  That’s what the Dalai Lama said,   “I am a feminist”  while  turning  everything in Western culture,  that differentiates us from an  eleventh century   medieval,  misogynistic  patriarchy,  into just  empty, double talk  and words that substitute for the real thing. Like “feminism,” “gender equality,”  and “peace.”  That is one of the lama’s hidden skills. Creating “empty vessels”  who become guru worshipers that just mouth the words.

Now Mary, too, like Western Tibetan Buddhists feminists before her who have tried to speak out, is probably never going to speak a negative word about her Tibetan masters, her gurus and their sexual abuse again. That’s what usually happens when the lamas fold someone back in their Tibetan Buddhist net. Tantra means “net.” Her lips are probably sealed. Because, as Mary writes in her post, “More than once I was on the point of walking away and never coming back” but the lamas could never could let that happen. Not with what Mary knows.

So thanks to Norbu’s ” genius” Mary says, her walking away, ” never quite happened.”
They “got cha ” Mary.

These clever lamas.

They almost always do.

Particularly the flower children that want to still live in the twenty-something world of their old rock and roll glory days.  After all,  it is the dream world that Norbu has always said is what is “really true.”



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