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Budda in Doctor Who

Posted by goldenplum on August 24, 2013 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

From Tor:   The 10th chapter of the Lotus Sutra pertains to the practice of Buddhism in distant future, many centuries after the Buddha’s passing. To whom but a time traveler would he address such a statement? Indeed, that portion of the sutra is spoken to a man known as Bhaishajyaraja, or Medicine King. Medicine King. Doctor. Coincidence? Of course not.

However all kidding aside, buddhism has appeared many times in Doctor Who. From the Mind Robber :It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Doctor Who should enter into this stream of consciousness with its Tibetan tale of Buddhist Monks and Yeti, The Abominable Snowmen...The Abominable Snowmen’s writers, Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, sought to authenticate the serial by utilizing some real life names from the history of Tibetan Buddhism. The Master of the monastery was Padmasambhava, so named after the eighth century Buddhist Master who is said to have brought Vajrayana (tantric) Buddhism to Tibet. History names Padmasambhava as the author of Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State (Bardo Thodol) which is known colloquially in the Western world as The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The necessity for compassion is perhaps the integral moral of this story. Although the monk-warrior Khrisong is murdered by the Abbot, Songsten, he is forgiven of his crime by both the victim on his death bed, and by his fellow monks thereafter. As the young monk Thonmi rightly concludes, Songsten had been put under a trance by the Master, Padmasambhava. He was but a puppet, as was Padmasambhava whom the Doctor identified as also being controlled.(more about the episode here)

Next we have Planet of Spiders. We see not just one time lord be reborn but two. K'anpo Rimpoche and the Dooctor.   From Shadowlocked : This story is very much a Buddhist parable, with plenty of sly references throughout. “The old man must die, and the new man will discover to his inexpressible joy that he has never existed!” “We are all apt to submit ourselves to domination.” It's very cleverly done, never too in your face, and indeed the third Doctor’s death hinges on the Buddhist philosophies. Having found himself being the cause of the whole problem, The Doctor can only redeem himself by facing his fear and confronting The Great One...Here Reincarnation is treated the same as Regeneration.


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