November 21, 2013

The Onion: Buddhist Extremist Cell Vows To Unleash Tranquility On West

Parody news article plays up Buddhist stereotypes

As if inspired by our latest blog post on misconceptions about BuddhismThe Onion recently ran an article poking fun at Buddhism's stereotype of passivity. Under the headline “Buddhist Extremist Cell Vows To Unleash Tranquility On West,” the article breaks news of a 45-minute video featuring faux Tibetan teacher Tsuglag Rinpoche. Rinpoche threatens that “In the name of the Great Teacher, we will stop at nothing to unleash a firestorm of empathy, compassion, and true selflessness upon the West.” Rinpoche goes on:

"From New York City to London, Madrid, and Paris, we will not cease until every major metropolis is left in a state of total nirvana,” said Rinpoche, brandishing a pink lotus flower before claiming that Kammatthana will seize any opportunity to aggressively instill a deep-seated sense of oneness in all Westerners. "We offered the unenlightened governments of America and Europe a chance to embrace the Eightfold Path, but you have refused. Now, we have no choice but to impose a peaceful spiritual reawakening upon you."

"And if you think even for a moment that we will ever relent, remember this: Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened,” Rinpoche added. You have been warned.

Also included in the video: an uninterrupted 19-minute clip of flowing, tranquil water. Read the entire article—and see a clip from the faux video—here.

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childish's picture

I think (to state the obvious) the target of the satire is extremism. By simply substituting stereotypically Buddhist concerns for peace and compassion into rhetoric associated with (so-called) religiously motivated terrorism, our assumptions are upended. The joke is not on Buddhists but on those who seek to mask extremism and violence with religion.

sharmila2's picture

Very cute. Although their faux Tibetan monk is wearing a South Asian theravada monastic robe.. But since the entire article is satire, wardrobe accuracy was probably not high in their list. Since stereotyping is impossible to avoid, at least we scored a positive one!

Dominic Gomez's picture

Re: faux Tibetan monk wearing South Asian Theravada robe: You've seen one, you've seen 'em all.

mahakala's picture

omg monks

mahakala's picture

I am not amused!

Richard Fidler's picture

I am.

mahakala's picture

just kidding lol

Dominic Gomez's picture

Should've been Sacha Baron Cohen playing a monk named Glugglug Rinpoche. Onion's scraping the bottom of the barrel.

iamourhaj's picture

Unfortunately I don't find this particularly funny or apt because of the dangerous supremacist trends in Burma and Sri Lanka. In fact, like people of other religions, many Buddhists around the world do not really embody the wisdom of their traditions and are not peaceful or compassionate.

I am sorry I cannot laugh.

zenmarc42's picture

I'll laugh for ya. ;)

eemhorse's picture

me too! commence laugh party