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Wild Wild Country

personperson Don't believe everything you think'Merica! Veteran

There is a brand new documentary series on Netflix about Bagwaan Rajneesh's spiritual community in Oregon and the controversy and conflict that it entailed. It looks interesting, just putting it out there in case anyone is interested or if anyone has any opinions on the matter.

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Oh interesting, I will keep an eye out for it just to see what the most recent views are, thanks @person... I wonder if it moves beyond demonisation and conflict though.

    One of the most wonderful things of that commune was how with very little money and a lot of elbow grease they created the infrastructure of quite a decent sized town. For example there was a lot of pipe work laid, a dam built, a small airport, a mall, roads, all kinds of stuff where originally there had only been a ranch.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Oh interesting, I will keep an eye out for it just to see what the most recent views are, thanks @person... I wonder if it moves beyond demonisation and conflict though.

    One of the most wonderful things of that commune was how with very little money and a lot of elbow grease they created the infrastructure of quite a decent sized town. For example there was a lot of pipe work laid, a dam built, a small airport, a mall, roads, all kinds of stuff where originally there had only been a ranch.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 17

    I started watching it. They seem to be developing a fair minded approach, showing what it was like inside and outside the community of sanyassins. Very interesting, has positive reviews. :)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    An interesting review on Indiewire: it is a docu that demands that you see both sides

    http://www.indiewire.com/2018/03/wild-wild-country-netflix-review-1201940304/

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Saw the first episode, surprised by the amount of archive footage they’ve pulled together about the early days of Bhagwan’s commune in India. You always know when you’re watching archive material because it’s shown in 4:3 rather than broad screen.

    But from the sanyassin point of view it gives a fair rendition to the idealism of the period and the people who were drawn to the Bhagwan. It also airs the viewpoint of some of the followers who were more drawn to power.

    Where I don’t think it does justice is to the therapeutic side of the meditations, and it makes rather sensationalist use of the sexual nature of some of the encounter groups which were done in the nude. You need to know a little about 1970’s primal therapy to see it in context, although that’s fallen out of favour of mainstream psychotherapists nowadays.

    personShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It’s caused quite a lot of talk, this documentary. We have had interviews with Osho sannyasins on tv, reviews in newspapers, lots of traffic on websites. People seem to be ready to reassess Osho’s legacy a little, it’s the right documentary at the right time.

    I’m now up to episode 4 of the documentary, and it has become clear that the makers are choosing to focus mostly on the controversial sides of what happened at Rajneeshpuram rather than the phenomenon that was the sannyasin movement.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Don't they always? Scandals sell....

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 8

    I watched episode 5 today. It’s shocking how the government of the US created a very dangerous situation which nearly ended in an armed conflict.

    @federica said:
    Don't they always? Scandals sell....

    That’s certainly true, and the Osho commune played that card by participating in the making of the 1981 Ashram in Poona documentary, which caused rather a sensation with its depiction of naked screaming and flailing people in a padded room. I understand it was staged, and was meant to depict some form of primal encounter therapy.

    The irony is that footage from that documentary comes up again and again when Osho is discussed on tv, so the whole idea of getting publicity that way rather backfired. People seem to find it so shocking that it takes focus over the innovative active meditations that Osho did create, for instance.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Finished watching the series. My understanding is still that sham teachers produce nothing but a shambles, betrayal, cultism, sheep followers, negative outcomes etc.

    Clarity produces wisdom, greater good in people and society. Might be a clue there ...

    dhammachick
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Certainly from a Buddhist perspective Osho had shortcomings as a teacher, such as not taking a stand on right speech or ethics. But labelling him a sham teacher also does not quite hit the mark... he undeniably had a potent magnetism, made significant contributions to the art of meditation, and in terms of his overall impact I can’t think of any single Buddhist teacher who started with nothing and achieved the kind of following he did.

    Osho’s teaching - which the documentary series hardly touched upon - was not Buddhist in nature, it crossed the boundaries of religions and urged people not to repress anything while staying loving and compassionate. The idea of his many lectures was to introduce his followers to the many paths of spirituality, give them a taste of each, and let them choose a governing principle according to their own hearts.

    From what I’ve seen, many of Osho’s sannyasins were beautiful people who were helped by his presence in their lives, even in the archive footage in the documentary you can see a kind of radiance in them. Of course some of them were power hungry and became disaffected, any large community will have a proportion of bad apples. It seems it is hard to teach all of the people at the same time.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Saw the last episode, it was essentially the last few events that led up to Osho leaving the US and returning to India and a summary of what happened to him and the other major players in the documentary. I thought it was surprisingly sympathetic to the sannyasins.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    My understanding is still that sham teachers produce (snip) sheep followers, negative outcomes etc.

    I have a slightly different perspective, because I know some followers of Osho who were there at Rajneeshpuram during the events portrayed in the documentary. Most are now in their 60’s, but I think that for many of them the years in the commune were among the best years in their lives. I wouldn’t call those experiences negative outcomes, or the people sheep followers. Instead I would say their experiences with Osho lent another, more spiritual dimension to otherwise disaffected lives. It was more something to do with being, rather than thinking.

    Clarity produces wisdom, greater good in people and society. Might be a clue there ...

    Certainly the whole Rajneeshpuram episode produced a lot of bigoted reactions in Americans, but I think that’s unavoidable when introducing a free-thinking spiritual community into a very conservative area.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 10

    @Kerome said:
    Certainly from a Buddhist perspective Osho had shortcomings as a teacher, such as not taking a stand on right speech or ethics. But labelling him a sham teacher also does not quite hit the mark... he undeniably had a potent magnetism, made significant contributions to the art of meditation, and in terms of his overall impact I can’t think of any single Buddhist teacher who started with nothing and achieved the kind of following he did.

    Osho’s teaching - which the documentary series hardly touched upon - was not Buddhist in nature, it crossed the boundaries of religions and urged people not to repress anything while staying loving and compassionate. The idea of his many lectures was to introduce his followers to the many paths of spirituality, give them a taste of each, and let them choose a governing principle according to their own hearts.

    From what I’ve seen, many of Osho’s sannyasins were beautiful people who were helped by his presence in their lives, even in the archive footage in the documentary you can see a kind of radiance in them. Of course some of them were power hungry and became disaffected, any large community will have a proportion of bad apples. It seems it is hard to teach all of the people at the same time.

    You refer to him as a Buddhist teacher. I don't think I've ever heard that before. Wasn't he some sort of Hindu teacher? Or neither; his own blend of teachings? I wouldn't call him Buddhist. "Eclectic", maybe?

  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited April 10

    @Dakini said:

    @Kerome said:
    Certainly from a Buddhist perspective Osho had shortcomings as a teacher, such as not taking a stand on right speech or ethics. But labelling him a sham teacher also does not quite hit the mark... he undeniably had a potent magnetism, made significant contributions to the art of meditation, and in terms of his overall impact I can’t think of any single Buddhist teacher who started with nothing and achieved the kind of following he did.

    Osho’s teaching - which the documentary series hardly touched upon - was not Buddhist in nature, it crossed the boundaries of religions and urged people not to repress anything while staying loving and compassionate. The idea of his many lectures was to introduce his followers to the many paths of spirituality, give them a taste of each, and let them choose a governing principle according to their own hearts.

    From what I’ve seen, many of Osho’s sannyasins were beautiful people who were helped by his presence in their lives, even in the archive footage in the documentary you can see a kind of radiance in them. Of course some of them were power hungry and became disaffected, any large community will have a proportion of bad apples. It seems it is hard to teach all of the people at the same time.

    You refer to him as a Buddhist teacher. I don't think I've ever heard that before. Wasn't he some sort of Hindu teacher? Or neither; his own blend of teachings? I wouldn't call him Buddhist. "Eclectic", maybe?

    He taught many things (Buddhism, sufism, tantra, yoga, etc.), but his emphasis was mostly on zen.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 10

    @Dakini said:

    @Kerome said:
    Certainly from a Buddhist perspective Osho had shortcomings as a teacher, such as not taking a stand on right speech or ethics.

    Osho’s teaching was not buddhist in nature...

    You refer to him as a Buddhist teacher. I don't think I've ever heard that before. Wasn't he some sort of Hindu teacher? Or neither; his own blend of teachings? I wouldn't call him Buddhist. "Eclectic", maybe?

    Perhaps you read something that I didn’t mean to say? I said his teachings were not Buddhist, and from the perspective of a Buddhist what he did teach had a few shortcomings.

    He taught his own path, that is for sure.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 12

    @Kerome said:

    @Dakini said:

    @Kerome said:
    Certainly from a Buddhist perspective Osho had shortcomings as a teacher, such as not taking a stand on right speech or ethics.

    Osho’s teaching was not buddhist in nature...

    You refer to him as a Buddhist teacher. I don't think I've ever heard that before. Wasn't he some sort of Hindu teacher? Or neither; his own blend of teachings? I wouldn't call him Buddhist. "Eclectic", maybe?

    Perhaps you read something that I didn’t mean to say? I said his teachings were not Buddhist, and from the perspective of a Buddhist what he did teach had a few shortcomings.

    He taught his own path, that is for sure.

    OK, I guess it was this statement that sounded like you were including him in the category of "Buddhist teachers". Apparently you were only comparing him to Buddhist teachers?

    I can’t think of any single Buddhist teacher who started with nothing and achieved the kind of following he did.

    I don't think that building a huge following is, in itself, something laudatory, without looking at what is being taught, and the effect of the teachings and teacher's behavior on the students, and considering ethical issues, if any. Not to mention--considering the effect of the community or movement on the larger human environment in which it's located. There are, indeed, Buddhist teachers who have achieved the kind of following Osho had, but they're extremely controversial, and one recently stepped down from his position of head of a large international organization, when his organization was sued in a French court. The governing board of another such global organization recently issued a statement finally admitting to decades of abuse of its followers, and pledging to reform.

    One might even venture to say that seeking to build a large following is a manifestation of ego. The best teachers are often the reluctant ones.

    lobster
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