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
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
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."
"A classic, yet modern portrayal of the religious mind-set."
"Subhuti's context is spiritual rather than political... yet the
populist priciples remain the same."