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Old 11-08-2003, 01:00 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Phil Silvers and the Tantric Buddha?

I'm beginning to think this is an urban legend, but I want to be more sure and share it with my fellow Dopers.

Here it goes, as told to me by a professor recently who has a Chinese wife and at least makes stabs at speaking Chinese:

In China (I don't know in which city or region, and I don't know when.), a Western woman (maybe American) wearing a Phil Silvers shirt was arrested by the Chinese police and forced to remove the shirt. (Did she receive a replacement? Dunno.) Why? Phil Silvers apparently looks enough like the the Tantric Buddha, an important religious figure in Tibet the Chinese government wants to suppress, that the Chinese police thought she was a dissident.

I had my doubts on hearing it, but didn't speak up. I should have gotten details, but that's all I have.

Anyway.

I've not been able to find any sites that link the exact phrases "Tantric Buddha" and "Phil Silvers". I've found two pages that link Padmasambhava with "Phil Silvers", both from the same "this day in history" site (in reference to a character named Padmasambhava in the show Dr. Who). I have been able to find sites that link "Tantric Buddha" to Tibet in a positive correlation. (For example, this one and this other one.) I don't know how reliable they are.

My first link provides an image of Padmasambhava. Does he look like Phil Silvers? Not especially. But maybe it's the rather stylized representation.

Anyway, Phil Silvers? The same guy who played in all of those goofy 1960s comedies? This doesn't ring true.
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Old 11-08-2003, 02:18 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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You sure they don't mean the Dalai Lama? They both wear eyeglasses.
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Old 11-08-2003, 02:34 PM
sugaree sugaree is offline
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Vanity Fair magazine had a profile of Phil Silvers a month ago, and they told this story. A British tourist in Tibet circa 1991 was wearing a Sgt. Bilko t-shirt, and his bald, bespectacled image looked like that of the Dali Lama to the Chinese guards.
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Old 11-09-2003, 07:42 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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That settles the OP, I guess. It was the Dalai Lama, not the "Tantric Buddha."

Padmasambhava is the name of the most important Tantric bodhisattva in the Nyingma lineage. The Nyingmapa are the Red Hat order of Tibetan Buddhism, the oldest lineage, reaching back to the 8th century. Padmasambhava, the founder of the lineage, was reputedly born in the valley of Swat (which is now in northern Pakistan). He brought Buddhism to Tibet and was a master of Tantric magical powers which he used to subdue the many demons that had been keeping Buddhism from entering Tibet. He is venerated by the Nyingmapa in images that show him as a sixteen year old boy. He looks nothing like the middle-aged Sgt. Bilko. He looks, rather, like a teenaged Buddhist magician in flowing robes and a red hat, seated on a lotus, holding a rdor.je and skull bowl.
http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/im...masambhava.jpg

The Dalai Lama, the one who looks like Phil Silvers, is the head of a different order, the Gelugpa or Yellow Hats. Their practice does have some Tantric stuff in it, but they are not as thoroughly Tantric as the Nyingmapa. So there seems to be a little confusion here because of scanty understanding of Tibetan Buddhism.
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Old 11-09-2003, 12:02 PM
Slithy Tove Slithy Tove is offline
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If anyone at Fort Baxter was the living incarnation of the Buddha, it would have to have been Doberman. Shave his head and stick incense in his belly button and you got a shrine.

Fred Gwynne takes honerable mention for monastic virtue, for the eposiode where was isolated at an Arctic radar station where he had nothing to do but memorized an entire book of birds, including the mustard smears on the pages.
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Old 11-09-2003, 12:42 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by sugaree
Vanity Fair magazine had a profile of Phil Silvers a month ago, and they told this story. A British tourist in Tibet circa 1991 was wearing a Sgt. Bilko t-shirt, and his bald, bespectacled image looked like that of the Dali Lama to the Chinese guards.
There actually IS a fair resemblence, so the story is understandable:

http://www.dalailamanyc.org/
http://www.buy-posters-online.com/74...l_Silvers.html
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Old 11-09-2003, 05:05 PM
tremorviolet tremorviolet is offline
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Hmmm, I remember reading about the occurence when it happened. But it's very difficult to find corraboration on the web. This link does mention it briefly. I guess trivial events that happened pre-Internet have no record...
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Old 11-10-2003, 11:13 PM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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I remember this from when it happend. Phil Silvers and the Dalai Lama were featured in the book seperated at birth.

Certainly I can vouch that travellers in Tibet and Lhasa in the 1980"s sporting a DL button or photo would get attention from the police. It's a plausible story, although having been a backpacking traveller for many a year there could certainly be a lot of exaggeration if not outright fiction in the account.
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