WHO IS SUBHUTI?
A new video production
The name SUBHUTI echoes through the annals of FWBO history. His achievements
are legendary. At a tender age he almost single-handedly built the London
Buddhist Centre, the mighty flagship of the FWBO, from the ruins of an old
fire-station. Invigorated, he went on, under Sangharakshita's direction, to
create the institutions, structures, procedures and paperwork that are the
lifeblood of any modern Buddhist Movement. In all this he was fired by the
love of hierarchy and duty that his public school and naval backgrounds have
bestowed on him.
In the midst of these heroic activities, he also found time to build a men's
training camp in the Spanish mountains, as well as create a process that
ensures that Ordinands have the correct views and attitudes before joining
the Western Buddhist Order.
What really characterizes Subhuti, however, is not his organizational
achievements, nor even his undoubted political acumen, but his extraordinary
capacity to BELIEVE, and to believe UNCONDITIONALLY. It is this quality of
Subhuti, harnessed by Sangharakshita at an early age, that more than any
other factor has made the FWBO what it is today. Just as Christ was to
St.Paul, and Marx was to Lenin, so too is Sangharakshita to Subhuti.
Moreover, the sheer exuberance of Subhuti's belief - which Sangharakshita
once likened to Champagne - has inspired a Movement that is supremely
confident in itself and in the fact that it has the real answers for
Buddhism in the west. As Subhuti once put it, the FWBO embodies the Dharma
"in a particularly pure and powerful form." (Have we Faith in the Order?
1998.) At the same time, Subhuti has always shown a kind but firm hand
towards those not ready to share his convictions, helping them to sort out
their confusions, and philosophically accepting of the "brickbats" that
"complainants" sometimes hurl his way. His insight into human nature is such
that he is able to strongly praise and encourage people, even when he hardly
knows them, and thereby spontaneously dissolve their confusions.
In this beautifully produced documentary, which includes digitally
re-mastered footage from the early days of the Movement, many of Subhuti's
exploits are dramatically re-enacted. Particularly moving is the scene in
which, abandoning his youthful tendency to question and criticise, he
commits himself unconditionally to doing whatever Sangharakshita asks of
him. And on a sterner note, we see Subhuti upbraiding members of the Order
for "thinking for themselves": as he reminds them, Sangharakshita has
already done all the thinking for them, and far better than they could ever
manage. (As ever, he adds by way of caution, it never does to surrender
one's critical faculties where other teachers are concerned). WHO IS
SUBHUTI? also includes extensive interviews with the man himself in which he
shares his vision of a Movement triumphant.
"His enthusiasm is infectious and sent shivers up my spine." THE GUARDIAN
"A classic, yet modern portrayal of the religious mind-set." PSYCHOLOGY
"Subhuti's context is spiritual rather than political... yet the populist
priciples remain the same." MILLBANK MONTHLY