Neo-Buddhist "White Lotus" Movement in Ukraine and Lithuania
by Donatas Glodenis
"White Lotus" phenomenon: an overview
The "White lotus" movement is an interesting phenomenon in the post-soviet Ukraine, Lithuania and a few other countries in Europe. The movement was started by Vladimir Ivanovich Skubajev (1956 - ) a Ukrainian national, who has graduated from a pedagogical institute (nowadays it would be called university), worked in a high school and later as an elevator maintenance man. He got acquainted with students from Laos, with whom he began to practice Kung Fu, later spending some time in Laos. Upon return he claimed he has been initiated as a teacher in a Laos Buddhist martial arts school "Sha Phoot Phan", and began to teach Kung Fu in 1988 in Cherkassy, Ukrainian town of about 400,000, where the construction of a Buddhist temple was started by the movement in 1989, and is continuing to date. The "White Lotus" movement has continued to spread since and currently it has branches in many of the former Soviet Union republics including Lithuania and other Baltic States, also Greece, USA (branch in Chicago), United Arab Emyrates and Germany. The movement's manifold activities provide it with many marketable features, so the spread of the movement should be expected in the future.
The movement is mostly known through the Kung-Fu martial arts clubs and is usually presented as a sport-related organization, while at the same time having a committed member core united in neo-Buddhist religious communities, claiming to have their origins in Laos Buddhism. The movement is known under various names, but the "White lotus" is by far the most widespread. The other well known names are Kung Fu School "Sha Phoot Phan" and Community Confessing the Teachings of Buddha.
At the heart of the movement's religious teaching is mythology relating the movement's origins: about 7000 years ago a being by the name of Zang Lang So descended from Sirius to the present day Laos to restore a thriving civilization there, in which all the major world religions have their origin. Kung-Fu spiritual teaching and martial arts techniques form the spiritual practice of the movement. For a while the "White Lotus" was involved in diverse commercial activities. The movement displays syncretic features in it's attempts to establish itself in the Christian Ukrainian context and, strangely enough, it seems to have strong ties to local Ukrainian (in Lithuania – Lithuanian) nationalism.
According to the movement itself, there are about 25,000 members worldwide, a figure that is impossible to check, but not necessarily untrue, if what is referred to as "membership" includes all the people related to the movement's diverse activities. The movement claims to have 1,500 members in Lithuania alone. Two religious communities, united into an association, are registered in Lithuania. The movement has also registered six Kung Fu and Lao-Thai boxing clubs, united into a federation. The movement's world centre is in Cherkassy, Ukraine, where the temple is being built.
Beliefs and practices of the movement
At the pinnacle of the movement's hierarchical authority structure is the "teacher" Vladimir Ivanovich Skubajev who is invested with guru-like powers over the movement and his followers. Skubajev is an unquestioned authority on many issues, including the non-religious ones; the limits of his authority are hard to draw, and are demarked only occasionally by himself; however, his enigmatic statements and writings leave a lot of room for interpretation and innovative, though not independent opinion. The movement, claims to have it's Highest Teacher Si So Zan Lang So, who lives in Laos, but few of the followers have ever seen him, so the movement is completely dependent on Skubajev for the mediation not only of the teachings of Zan Lang So, but also of the secret spiritual knowledge and history, that is gradually opened to the followeres.
The movement has an elaborate mythology, recorded in the two books of Skubajev: Teaching of Kung Fu – the Teaching of Life, and The Gospel According to the White Lotus. The mythology provides both the explanation of the movement's "history" and it's current purpose.
Though nothing clear is said of the origins of the world and the universe, both the Biblical creation myth and other versions of creation stories are mentioned at time and invoked for explanation. But the real story for the movement begins with the interception of aliens (a word not used by the movement) or gods of aliens' wit the human affairs: there is kingdom under the earth's surface called Agharti, which exists for over 60000 years. It is a whole world (sometimes, but not often, referred to as "spiritual world") underneath the surface of the earth, it has a few exits to the surface; the places where Agharti connects with the surface are important charkas of the world (one is in somewhere in Laos, one is in Cherkassy, Tibetan Shambala, Belovodije in Ural mountains, and Trakai, a town near the capital Vilnius in Lithuania, to name the most important ones). This underground kingdom is ruled by the Prince of Peace, a messenger from the gods of the star Sirius.
This kingdom has initiated a great earthly Arian empire in prehistoric times stretching all over the Eurasian continent; it was a time of the rule of peace, Arians themselves were descendants of the gods of Sirius (presumably born out of sexual unions of aliens with the people of this world). The empire was maintained by the elite teachers, transmitting the secret knowledge of Kung Fu. The Arian empire was struck by a crisis more than 7000 years ago and Arians were dispersed throughout the world, they started worshipping animals instead of the true God (though the movement speaks about multiplicity of gods, those are just different faces of one supreme God), the line of transmission of secret knowledge was broken, and the knowledge was lost.
Seeing the decline of civilization the Prince of Peace Zan Lang So of Agharti decided to rectify the situation: he chose and brought to Agharti five Arian tribes, taught them again the secret knowledge of Kung Fu. And then, after a new intermarriage (Lang So slept with 5 girls, one from each tribe, so that his seed would remain in the genes of these tribes), he allowed some of this nation to go back and to re-establish the great Arian empire. The people from Agharti, who re-established this empire thus began the Slavic nations (in the words of the movement, the Slavs are the "Slavic-Arian nations", though other Arian nations exist as well, and Lithuanians are among those descendants of the old Arian empire). Arians-Slavs were divinely predestined to "fulfil the great mission of being a connecting link between God and the people" (Skubajev 1999, 52).
The centre of this re-established great Arian empire, called "Oratania-Rusi" was the modern-day Ukraine, Cherkassy. It was this empire that brought to birth the Vedas and the "Vedic religion", the Sanskrit was the language those Slavs-Arians spoke. This new empire brought to birth a new culture, from which all the major cultures and religions came to be, even so remote cultures as the pre-Columbian South American ones. This empire stretched from the North Sea in the North to Egypt in the South, from the Baltic Sea in the West to the Pacific in the East. This empire flourished with the Hindu-like castes system of society (though the lowest caste – Sudras – was not the outcasts, but the people who wilfully did not abide with the laws of the empire), where the nobles ruled in a semi-democratic way. The reinvention of history goes to the extent that the Arian empire is said to have conquered the Roman Empire, so that the king of Huns Attila, whom Pope Leo I persuaded not to sack Rome in 452, is said to be the emperor of this great Arian empire.
The empire was destroyed at the end of 1st millennium AD, when the Slavic nations one by one accepted Christianity. Skubajev, in whose writings these myths are recorded, knows his revisionist view of history is a scandal for traditional historiography, but while understanding this he lashes against the efforts to make a more scientifically acceptable account of history, saying it is a plot to destroy the Slavic-Arian pride in their glorious history:
The dark forces in the result proposed a version, the so-called "official, scientific outlook" that Slavs-Arians lived as separate tribes before the acceptance of Christianity that they did not have a state, did not follow any laws but only customs of the tribes before the adoption of Christianity (Skubajev 1999, 66).
The myth of glorious Slavic history is very important for the efforts that the movement is making currently. Skubajev dedicates his book The Gospel According to White Lotus towards the restoration of Slavic unity, and the myth of the glorious past is expressed in the movement's emphasis on the personal achievements of people through the Kung Fu martial arts practice and the activities of Nobility orders, on the monarchic ideals, expressed in support towards monarchic movements in Europe, in the nationalism and anti-westernism the movement displays. But to explicate the function of the myths let's explore the spiritual practices of the movement and it's structure.
The structure of the movement I: The School, community, clubs
The movement acquires what one may perceive as a fourfold structure. The parts of the structure are: (1) the Community, confessing the teachings of Buddha, (2) The School "Sha Phoot Phan", (3) the martial arts sports clubs and (4) the Nobility orders and other social institutions. The structure of the movement is shown graphically in the Appendix 3.
The heart and elite of the movement is the School "Sha Phoot Phan", in which the members are gradually initiated into the advanced levels of martial arts and the teachings of the school, as well as the mythology of the world history and the School, which is in the line of transmission of the secret knowledge of the world. The number of people initiated into the school is kept secret, although I have learned that only 3 persons from Lithuania are initiated. During the years at the school people learn and acquire the five sets of Kung Fu martial arts levels that are withheld from people who are not in the School but are practicing Kung Fu in some martial arts club. Actually, the preparation for the School takes around seven years of practice of Kung Fu in one of the clubs run by the movement. As "the warriors" take exams, involving the demonstration of physical force, concentration and spiritual strength, they acquire higher and higher ranks and titles within the movement (See Appendix 2).
The Kung Fu martial arts form the heart of the movement's spiritual practice, called "dynamic meditation" by the movement. The regular types of meditation are also important, usually performed before a special altar with the picture of the Teacher, two candles, vase with flowers, incense, and the Trident (incidentally, it is a state emblem of Ukraine). At the altar while performing "the ritual" one should also have a little bell, a dish with holy ashes and another dish with holy water, with a certain plant which is used to sprinkle the water. The ritual is considered to mean a fellowship with God as well as with The Great Teacher, and the Teacher (Skubajev) himself, the practice of the ritual and the way of life consistent with one's adherence to the truth of the teaching is a way towards the "highest happiness". The ritual includes bodily movements, proper disposition of mind, concentration on certain centers (charkas) in the human body, but the key to the ritual is this prayer:
Aum, I will be devoted to the Teacher, the Highest God, the Great Lang So and the True Conquerors. I ask you to show me quicker the way to Heavens (Skubajev 1999, 482).
The duties of a disciple include not only the daily performance of the ritual and meditations themselves, but also certain behavior style. The adherence to the movement (Community) and the Teacher is greatly emphasized, as is evident from the quote below:
The teacher is the connecting link between the Most High and the people, who practice the Teaching of Truth. In tantra the teacher is not simply a giver of initiation and knowledge, but also a spiritual father, giving his disciples "the second birth", and taking them on the road of Truth. Only with the help of the teacher one can come to the fullness of self-realization (Skubajev 1999, 479).
The importance of the Community and the Teacher is highly stressed in a text used in dynamic meditation, the so called "Principles of a Warrior" (see appendix 1).
The sports clubs are the lowest step within the movement as well as the major advertisement and marketing strategy for the movement. Anyone can participate in the club activities, from children, whom parents send to the club to develop physical strength and discipline, to women, who most often want their elasticity enhanced, to men who either want pure sport or are adherents of the movement and perhaps would like to join the School some day (children are accepted with the consent of parents; handicapped people are not accepted, for "they carry too much resentment, and they can use their technique against people", according to one of the leaders of the movement in Lithuania). Clubs are lead by the adherents of the movement, preferably – those initiated into the School.
The clubs are a place where religious and sports interests are mingled without necessarily being connected: though a minimum of Buddhist ritual is maintained, the School does not impose their beliefs on people who want pure sport, though a certain ethical behavior in the training hall is required. The movement claims that people, who want to use Kung Fu for wrong ends, simply do not stay in the clubs long because of ethical requirements (no cursing, respect for the tutors, etc.). At the same time the sports activities are the major tie of the movement to the government institutions that support the social endeavors of the clubs; the clubs are also a field of recruitment to the movement. Therefore the clubs are not independent from the School, and neither are they an accidental form of making a living for the movements members. The School strictly controls the activities of the clubs.
The communities, confessing the teachings of Buddha, embraces all of the School, part of the club members, as well as other people from outside, who participate in the communities events, such as meditations, public healing sessions, or Buddhist rituals (like the weddings), and who are generally sympathetic towards Buddhism, though they may also consider themselves to be Catholic (or Orthodox) at the same time (that is not uncommon even for the School members). The activities of the Communities are occasional; some activities are open to all people, while others – only to the initiated Community members.
The structure of the movement II: monarchist activities and nationalism
The Nobility / Monarchist activities of the movement is the most strange component of the movement at first sight, but that is when the mythology of the movement helps a lot in understanding this strange Buddhist - Nobility / Monarchist connection. The Nobility / Monarchist activities are expressed by the participation of the movement's members in the activities of different foreign orders, such as the Order of St. Stanislav, based in Poland, or the Eastern Orthodox order of Malta (not to be confused with the Catholic Malta order) order, etc., and creation of their own Order, the Sovereign Order of White Lotus, headed by Skubajev himself. The purpose of participation in the orders seems to be the propagation of nobility ideals, awarding distinguished people for their activities, propagation of oligarchy's rule in a state.
The public ceremonies of the orders do not have anything to do with Buddhism, even the White Lotus order ceremonies are filled with Christian Trinitarian language (orders given "in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit"), and many of the people awarded various degrees of orders do not have anything in common with the Buddhism of the group. At the same time, most of the more distinguished members of the movement have one title or another from different orders: the head of Lithuanian branch of the movement has a title of a count from St. Stanislav order and a title of "the Grand Duke of Lithuania" from the order of White Lotus. Skubajev himself, in his own words, was appointed a regent of the 14 year old king of Ukraine (presumably a descendant of the Ukrainian monarch, who was appointed to the regency after the February 1918 revolution in Russia and dethroned a few days after by the Bolsheviks) by the priest of the monarchic family Metropolitan Antonij. This same priest, presumably belonging to Alexandrian Coptic branch of Russian Orthodox Church (a denomination the author of this essay has been unable to locate), has appointed Skubajev a bishop of his church in Ukraine (?!). The recognition the members of the movement get from the different orders (although the extent to which this recognition provides real social capital is far from certain and overestimated by the movement) also functions as a burst towards the self-confidence of the movement as well as it's individual members, the confidence in their ideological goals.
It is a belief of the movement that the movement will be instrumental in bringing a breakthrough in history towards peace and happiness on earth (sometimes described in astrological terms: "the age of Aquarius"), and that this age of peace will come through the restoration of the unity of the great Arian-Slavic nations (those being "direct descendents of gods") and perhaps a creation of a monarchic state with oligarchic rule. Therefore the promotion of monarchic and nobility ideal is seen as a step towards the fulfillment of the movement's aims, a conviction, that might well be unshared or even unknown to the other participants in the monarchic movements. The future monarchy is seen as a nationalistic ideal, nationalism being the cure to the evils of western democracy, consumerism and cosmopolitanism.
At the same time, while promoting an idea that democracy is "the rule of demons, rule of the mob" and that "democracy, whatever it's kind: bourgeois, socialist, nationalist, - is always characterized by terrible cruelty towards it's citizens" (Skubajev 1999, 82,88), the movement does participate in democratic processes, backing up the current president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma in his election campaign, a position clearly witnessed by the posters still displayed in the movement's facilities, as well as by the President's portraits in the office of Skubajev. However, this backing up of the dominant political force goes hand in hand with the promotion of Monarchy idea to those same people in power. Perhaps some social change, dethronement of the processes of westernization, is expected also under the current, democratic and therefore corrupt, government, or, alternatively, it could be explained as an attempt to gain credibility with the political elite.
It is not exactly clear, if there is any xenophobic / racist element in the movement's teaching, or if the xenophobic sounding passages are better seen as rhetorical condemnation of the current world order, without any implications about other, non-"Arian", non-Slavic nations. The behavior of the members of the movement seems to suggest the latter, though the use of the words "Arians", "Slavic", corruption of the chosen nation, the talk about God's chosen nation (Ukrainians) or race (Arians-Slavs) does leave uncomfortable feelings in one's stomach, sounding too much like the recent history many of us would wish to forget.
Buddhism: just a resource for the movement?
The movement claims to be practicing Laos Vajrayana Buddhism or a special type, not found anywhere else but in the School "Sha Phoot Phan". And the appearance of the movement does not resemble the contemporary Buddhist practice (the current author, though, does not claim to be an authority on Buddhism), though the Vahrayana emphases – the theism of the movement, esotericism and occult dimension – are clearly evident. Theirs is a theist form of Buddhism, with God (or gods) being an important element in the perception of the world. The parapsychology, so widespread in Russia, is constantly invoked for support of the movement's magical perception of the world.
The illumination one experiences as a practicing Buddhist is described as coming in certain steps rather than as an absolute experience leading to Nirvana: "when you learn to drive a car, it is a certain illumination" – in words of one top leaders in Lithuania. The spiritual progress of a person and humankind is perceived as a kind of evolution. There is no talk of escape from wheel of karmic illusion, the four noble truths or the eightfold path are barely mentioned as the center of Buddhist religion, though those things are not denied either. At the same time the great emphasis on social transformation and social involvement makes one question, if the movement is really keeping to the central Buddhist truths.
Relationship to Christianity
Along with the Buddhist stream of thought and practice the movement's rhetoric at times seems to be very Christian. Christian liturgical formulations are used in the movement's activities, the members sometimes introduce themselves as Catholics or Orthodox, but at the same time the movement's Teacher Skubajev displays very contradictory attitudes towards mainline Christianity. The need for good relationship with the Christian Orthodox context is understandable, for most of the movement's activities are carried out in a context, where Orthodox (or Catholic) Christianity is an inseparable part of culture. In one paragraph of his book Skubajev expresses the movement's sympathies with Christianity:
Jesus came for us, for people and he took death upon himself for the redemption of our sins. He came for all people, and all people are for him. He came for us as much as he came for others; we refer to his words as much as he addressed us. … They often tell us: "We are Christians, and you are of a strange faith". We ask them in turn: "Who can name himself a Christian?", and then we answer those people that only that person can call himself a Christian, who lives by the commandments of Christ. Do you live by the commandments of Christ? We, warriors of light, do live by the commandments of Christ, for they all are commandments of the only God – the Creator (Skubajev 1999, 457, 459).
On the other hand, Skubajev is clearly against the modern Christianity, especially against the movements that come from the West ("these so-called saviors are trying to make us follow their fake-morality and fake-culture, which is directed towards the perversion of our youth, towards the destruction of our faith and the traditions of our great nation" (Skubajev 1999, 73)), but also about Christianity in general. Quoting a source he entitles The Gospel According to Arians Skubajev says:
In the tenth century our geopolitical enemies decided to impose on Russia the power of Byzantine Christian sect. … Snakes of Paulinism, i.e., the fake-Christian, artificial, subversive religion, having destroyed the Roman empire and thrown Byzantine empire into agony, set towards our territories (Skubajev 1999, 74).
Later Skubajev has kinder words to say about Christianity, and even at places quotes "the Bible" (which, curiously enough, sometimes it is a Pauline epistle he is actually quoting!) to substantiate his position, but Skubajev's understanding of the "good" Christianity is far removed from what the self-perception of Christian mainstream happens to be, and perhaps has affinities with the Gnostic heresies of the early Christianity.
According to Skubajev, every religion (by which he perhaps means a religion worthy to be called a religion) has not only an exoteric, but also an esoteric aspect. It is this basic conviction about the validity of religious systems that forms a key factor in the movement's relationship to Christianity and the other religions. In their esoteric core, all religions are the same. Different faith languages can be used to express the same esoteric core.
It is in this context that we have to interpret the movement's claim to special relationship with some Christian groups, and the general stress on the role of "the Church" in society. Skubajev claims to be an appointed Bishop of the Alexandrian Coptic branch of Russian Orthodox Church, and the movement does seem to fellowship peacefully with some clergy from the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time the movement considers the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church to be apostate, having lost the line of transmission of knowledge, and backs (at least in words) the Russian Orthodox Church in exile. It is extremely common for the members to claim good relations with the Orthodox priests (in Lithuania – the Catholic priests), and, as we have seen, to even speak of themselves as "Christians". The relationships with the Christian Churches are expressed symbolically as well: it is not uncommon to see portraits or pictures of leaders of the different churches hanging on the walls in the facilities of the movement. Those pictures allow members to validate (at least in their own eyes) the claims they make.
The Church as a part of culture is also deeply imbedded in the movement's mentality. When asked, in a personal interview, why he thinks monarchic form of government cannot go wrong, Skubajev replied: "The Church would not allow it". Actually, the very validity of the claim of Skubajev to represent the king of Ukraine depends on the validity of the Church's right to appoint the king, for the monarch of 1918, whose nephews Regent Skubajev claims to be, was appointed a king by the Russian Orthodox Church, a fact mentioned as of great importance by the movement.
On the other hand it should be noted that there is less substance to the movement's claim to good relationship with the Christian Churches than the movement would like to believe itself. A personal example would be in place: upon seeing a picture hanging on the wall in the movement's facilities in Vilnius of Shanuda III (head of the Coptic Church) with Pope John Paul II sitting together, I asked why was it there. It was explained to me that Metropolitan Antonij has spent a lot of time in Egypt with Shanuda III, and that they have a relationship with the Coptic Church, one of the oldest patriarchates of Christianity, and so somehow with the Catholic Church through it. However, upon further questions the leaders of the movement had to confess they did not know of exact association of Antonij with the Coptic Church, and that Antonij was not a bishop of the Coptic Church. They could not even name exactly where congregations of the Church, headed by Antonij, could be found. However, this and other associations with Christianity is used for self-legitimation of the movement.
The controversy about the movement's activities in Ukraine have been centred on the movement's business ventures (up until 1995 the movement has been involved in cargo transfer protection business as well as protection of business ventures) as well as on it's perceived totalitarian aims. The movement's facilities in Cherkassy have been raided a few times, swords and other weapons were confiscated (the movement insists that some of the weapons were deliberately put forward by the police, to be found at the search); the prosecutors were trying to find evidence of illegal activities in the movement. In the end the property of the movement was returned, no legal action followed from the raids that were perceived as harassment by the members of the movement.
There are certain peculiarities that distinguish the movement's members from the rest of society, and that make some of the causes for controversies, surrounding the movement. The members dress in black, men also cut their hair very short. There is a strong sense of hierarchy in the movement and elaborate rituals of greeting the Teacher Skubajev as well as other higher tutors, the closest analogue to this hierarchic structure with ritualised procedures would be the army, with obedience demanded that would best be seen in the military context (see also the "Appendix 1: Principles of a Warrior" later in this text for an illustration). The training halls are died in black, with the Kung Fu School "Sha Phoot Phan" symbols painted on the walls, the Buddhist symbols like red swastikas are not avoided and are actually used quite widely. All of these external features of the movement make it easy to equate it with a neo-nazi organization, an assertion sometimes found in the media.
A few Russian Orthodox sources (including some internet sources) present very critical though not extremely informative descriptions of the movement. Those critiques described the White Lotus as a dangerous eastern style cult, focus mostly on the authoritarian style of leadership and supposed unconditional obedience to the leader in the movement.
In Lithuania a controversy surrounding the movement started in fall 2001; it was centred on the association of state institutions with the "White Lotus" movement through support of their sports activities, directed towards children from a-social families. One Kung Fu club was even established at the police office. The major issue was the religious elements present in the Kung Fu club practice, which made state institution support for such a club and cooperation in attracting youth to practice questionable. A series of articles appeared in one of Lithuania's daily's, later followed by other publications, with numerous quotations from the book of the leader of the movement as well as quotations from the Russian Orthodox internet sites. No significant changes for the movement's status resulted from the controversy; the movement has not been convicted of illegal activities or brought to court on those kinds of charges in Lithuania.
The social expressions of the movement
The movement, though having an authoritarian structure, and beliefs that do not square well with the secular society's values, has thus far created little controversy and practically no apostates in Lithuania, the controversy in the press has largely been echoing the controversies in Ukraine. And that is not as surprising when one observes an interesting contrast in the movement: the authoritarianism and high level of involvement of the members in society, infallible pronouncements of the Teacher and the high level of independent search for knowledge by the members of the movement, though again interpreted through the lens of the movement's teachings.
However, this seeming contradiction could be only apparent; the two poles are not irreconcilable: the teachings of Skubajev are so enigmatic that they need a translation to the "common tongue", and an interpretation offered by the members always makes them seem to be less extreme. At the same time the movement's self-legitimation practice through association with the Christian culture and Churches themselves seems to be quite successful; the other success is the highly marketable sports activities programme that the movement is propagating. The average observer may find it too hard to go deep into the enigmatic and fascist-sounding, caste-system affirming mythology of the movement, instead focusing on the high morality and profile of the people associated with the movement. The involvement of the movement's members with the Nobility orders make unfriendly looks even more unlikely though the values that the involvement in Monarchistic movement is actually expressing are far from being identical to what most observers think of upon first look. Thus the movement is able to maintain it's activities and spread beyond in spite of it's ideology, that many would find questionable, the type of ideology that would create a lot of hindrances for the movement without the presence of the positive and highly marketable features.
1. I am above other people, for I have been given an honour to participate in the "White Lotus", a society of strong and courageous people.
2. I am a real warrior, I never complain to anyone.
3. I am patient and enduring, I despise comforts and pain.
4. I am strong and tenacious, I am proud of my technique and my body.
5. I am not afraid to pain and bodily punishments, they are good for me.
6. I am firmly convinced, that only my teacher and my tutors can make me into a real man, warrior, super-fighter.
7. In this world I am obeying no one save my teacher and my tutors, their command is a law unto me.
8. My tutors know better what is good for me and what is not.
9. My teacher and my tutors can do everything, and I can do only that which is permitted to me by my teacher and my tutors.
10. Everything, that is [being done] in the name of the teacher and our school, is moral to me.
11. I have but one ideal – the teacher and his commands.
12. The teacher is my only tutor and my only god.
13. Only at the School and only with my teacher I can reach the perfection of body and spirit.
 The account in this paper is based on the research done by the author into the movement in Lithuania over the period 2000-2002 and a research trip to Cherkassy in April, 2002. No scholarly account of the movement, to the best of the knowledge of the current author, exists to date.
 The website of the group in Germany is the only website of the movement currently active: http://www.kungfuclub.org/ - the site of White Lotus in Russian (the English pages were not yet working in July 30, 2002.
 The association: Lietuvos budistø bendrija, Antakalnio g. 43/2, 2055 Vilnius; head: Rimantas Stanaitis registered at the Ministry of Justice on 2001.01.30.
The two communities: Elektrėnų bendruomenė, išpažystanti Budos mokymą, Draugystės g. 3, Elektrėnai, 4061 (Trakų r.), head: Audrius Valaiša, registered at the Government of Lithuania, 1992.05.27;
and Vilniaus m. bendruomenė, išpažystanti Budos mokymą, Antakalnio g. 43/2, Vilnius; registered at the Government of Lithuania, 1992.05.27.
Source: Ministry of Justice website, http://www.tm.lt/min/default.asp?load=re_kitos_iregistruotos_rel_bendruo..., last accessed July 30, 2002.
 The address is: Kung Fu School "Sha Phoot Phan", Spusk Franko 4, Cherkassy, Ukraine. Local phones: 479207 and 451481. The movement itself does not use e-mail.
 Владимир Иванович Скубаев. Учение кунг-Фу - учение жизни.. одесса: "друк", 1998.
 Владимир Иванович Скубаев. Евангелие от Белого лотоса. Черкассы: "друк", 1999. This book is an expanded version of the previous one. The added chapters reveal the dynamics of the introduction of new "knowledge to the movement members, because most of the quasi-historical material that will be described further is not found in the previous version of the book.
 I think it would be safe to say this "Gospel" being either non-existent or a very recent creation, perhaps by the movement itself, or so the semantic anglysis of the text of this paragraph seems to indicate (the word "geopolitical" seems to be an unlikely word to be used before the end of 19th c.). As doubtful, if not more doubtful, are quite a few other sources, quoted in Skubajev's books.
 "Религиозные группы и деструктивные религиозные организации восточной ориентации; ‘Белый лотос'", in Новые религиозные организации России деструктивного и оккультного характера (New Religious Organizations of Destructive or Occult Character in Russia). First published by the Missionary chapter of Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997. Online available at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Cyprus/6460/handbook/h320.html, last accessed July 30, 2002.
In condenced form that information also appears in two other sites:
"Белый лотос" at the site of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, http://orthodox.compclub.lviv.ua/nhtm/vostok/lotos.htm, last accessed July 30, 2002.
"Белый лотос" http://www.nevskiy.orthodoxy.ru/center/sprav/heathenism/wite_lotos.html, last accessed July 30, 2002.
 A daily "Lietuvos aidas", issues of October 17, 2001; October 19, 2001; October 25, 2001; October 29, 2001; november 06, 2001; November 9, 2001;
A weekly "Laisvas laikraštis", March 15-29, 2002, issue No. 4.
by Donatas Glodenis (New Religions Research & Information Center, Lithuania)
A paper presented at CESNUR 2002, Salt Lake City and Provo. Preliminary version. Do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author