The Bunny Letters
The members of the Bunnysattva Sangha Tribeca
are about evenly divided about whether
this photograph is authentic. Virtually
everyone who has seen the Bunnysattva
agrees that the picture is a good likeness.
But no one knows where and how this
picture was taken, or by whom. Or when.
And since the Master is known to be, and
has always been, averse to being
photographed, how did it get taken?
One theory is that the photo is not of the
Bunnysattva at all, but of another rabbit
who looks just like her. Another theory,
based on a story that has been going
around for awhile, is that this image
of a rabbit appeared on overexposed
film developed after a teenager's
vacation in the southeastern U.S.
In any event, we don't have a clue but
are posting it here just in case it's real,
and because it looks a lot like her.
-- Retlaw Tsoy
The Bunny Letters
Letters, notes, comments, complaints,
explanations and other stuff
from friends, enemies, readers,
students and strangers
Edited and with an introduction
by Aerna Otatop
Allright, it's all here. Well, some of it. There's really too much to put in one place, so I've gone through the piles of correspondence and come up with a representative sampling of the barrage of words sent, thrown or shot from modems to the Bunnysattva Sangha Tribeca. If you pore through it you'll find the thoughts of readers, friends and enemies of the Sutra and Sangha as well as a few writings by our teachers and other spiritual figures, living, dead and/or ascended.
Thanks to everyone who helped me, especially Emma, Mandy and Shur, who collected the early letters and kept them safe in cookie tins. To Retlaw Tsoy who fixed my grammar, sentence structure and silly spellings. And to my compassionate teacher Patra who never saves anything, and to the masterful Bunnysattva, Buddha Shakyamuni, Jesus Christ and the eloquently quiet Meherwan Rinpoche who said, pointing to letters on his letter board, "Things that are real and lasting are always given and taken in silence."
Before there were web pages about the Bunnysattva, the newly translated chapters of the Sutra appeared in the Buddhism Forum of America Online, in the Bunnysattva Sutra folder. So in the early letters here you will see references to the folder and "message board" (they're both the same thing). That folder still exists and if you have access to AOL go to keyword: Buddhism and look in the second Buddhist Message Board for The Bunnysattva Sutra folder. You can read from and write to the folder. This is a place Buddhists congeregate online, and you might enjoy the give and take, even arguments.
If you want your words or leters to appear on this page, send them to me at email@example.com with the word COMMENTS in the subject box. I don't promise I'll put your letter in but I might. I may replace your cursewords with &*m%$ or some other gobbledygook and I may turn verbosity into three little dots ... but otherwise you have a fighting chance to get published here. Turnaround will be about a month I think, depending on how much I'm working at the caffe. Enjoy!
Tuesday 25 January 2000
Vardo, Norge (Norway)
The most recent ones are first,
and the older ones follow.c
Time for someone to go back to his rubber bedroom.... Have you read the whole Bunnysattva? That's some wild stuff. Rabbits talking and everything. This is my favorite picture:
...Isn't Bunnysattva an old Steely Dan song?
OM BUNNYSATTVA SOHA
10 November 1999
...An incredible and creative story of a group of people that follow... the Broad School of Buudhism.......or maybe it is true????
10 November 1999
Hello to all and every one: I've been reading the Bunnysattva Sutra again for a second time and I am liking it. There are many things I missed the first time. It is getting cool here and I like that too. I hope you are all well and are happy and living in aura of Bunnysattva, whose love sustains the universes.
2 November 1999
To Mandy Buick about her web page:
i happened to perused you page and it sure is hilarious!
what an imagination! I bet lots of people are scared off by it huh?
in a way, you have created a certain "mystic" about yourself that is quite sexy.
how old are you? dont tell me you are over 1,000 years old !
7 October 1999
To Mandy Buick about her web page:
I was moved...very nice
29 September 1999
This is a great book, one of my favorite scriptures. Thank you all so much for putting it together and making it available. I have been recommending it to my friends but for the most part they're not interested. I think it's because they've all given up reading. They just watch TV. Too bad.
5 September 1999
The Bunnysattva is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Keep up the good work!!!
23 July 1999
Several people have asked me to tell a little about the Bunnysattva -- what she is like in person. I have not spent a lot of time with her, altogether maybe twenty hours over about three months. But I know more than most of you, so here goes.
Even though the Bunnysattva is a Buddha, she looks and often acts just like an ordinary rabbit. She likes to eat kale and different kinds of lettuce and potato and carrots and she LOVES toast. She spends a lot of time digging holes and sitting in them. She digs so deep we worry about whether she will come back up again. She likes to lick your hands and feet and face, and she likes to be petted, like a dog or cat.
What's different about the Bunnysattva from other rabbits -- I have not had much experience with rabbits, but I have read about them -- is that she can talk and read and communicate with almost anyone at their own level of understanding. And she has very great compassion. She always thinks of others first, not of herself. She is a selfless being.
She also has a great sense of humor. She loves practical jokes and music and dance. She is a wonderful dancer and leaps high in the air, turning around before she comes down. She drums by thumping her back legs, and has a very good sense of rhythm.
As a teacher, she is very patient and doesn't mind repeating herself as much as is necessary. So much of teaching is repetition. But she is very impatient with any kind of dishonesty. She will not stand for lying, not even little white lies. Sometimes I think she can read our thoughts, because no one can get away with anything if she is around. She also wants us to be very courteous and thoughtful of others, which is hard when you are obsessed with yourself, as almost all of us are.
22 June 1999
I am a loyal student of the Sutra. I have read it all twice and some parts many times. My question is, now what? How do I meet the Bunnysattva? Can I get individual instruction? Is there any special practice I should be doing?
12 June 1999
Shura Beelze writes:
Patra Skybamedpa recommends that we each read the Sutra three times. It takes that much reading to get the basic concepts on a level deeper than the surface of our minds. It is one thing to understand intellectually, and another thing to connect with the teachings on a feeling and experience level.
The Bunnysattva may appear to be an ordinary rabbit, but really she is an exalted being of the Buddha-level. She comes to earth again and again to save us from our self-created miseries and to teach us how to live in peace and harmony and love.
It is not easy to meet her. Basically, you have to get in line. I would suggest that if you are still serious about this path next September, you come to New York for the beginners classes. (There are also beginners classes in Paris in June, but I think they are mostly in French.) The classes last a month, and after that those who still want to take our path and who are willing to make the changes in their lives that are necessary, may get to meet the Master. It is not always a quick thing. Some people have had to wait two years to meet her. Others, like me, met her first, before even beginning the path. The Bunnysattva says that those who meet her easily worked hard in past lives to earn it. And there are others who must do that work now, because they are just at the beginning of the spiritual life.
About spiritual practices, there are five that the Bunnysattva recommends. The first is honesty. We are brought up in this culture to lie all the time, both to ourselves and to other people. Dishonesty is the opposite of spirituality, and one of the most important things for a beginner is to begin to practice honesty in thought, word and deed. To always tell the truth, but with this limitation: never hurt the heart of another person.
Don't just say what you think if it will hurt someone. The truth must never be used like a club or a gun. Be careful and discreet in what you say, and remain silent about something that will be painful to your friends or your family. Wait till the right moment to say what you need to say. It is not dishonest to say nothing, if your reason is to help others, and not to hurt them.
Being honest with other people leads to being honest with yourself. We are all in the habit of lying to ourselves. Sometimes this is very subtle. Meditation can help to open up the heart and mind, and then you see what you have been hiding from yourself.
Other people will sometimes tell you very helpful things about how they see you, but it is very hard to listen to them. We have elaborate defenses against the truth. For instance if someone tells you you are being inconsiderate, don't get mad, think about if it is really true. Ask them to tell you more. Weigh it in your mind and heart. Don't just dismiss the point of view of another person. Sometimes the Bunnysattva teaches us through others.
Once, when I was staying with her in the Copper Palace, she told me that she often appears to people in other forms. She might take the form of a garbage-man or a pet dog or a teacher in a school, just to teach a person a little lesson and give them a push toward the path. You never know for sure who you are talking to, so be open to life's lessons.
On the other hand, don't just dumbly believe what anyone tells you. People sometimes can be quite manipulating. It is your job to examine and judge what seems true for you and what is not.
Thee other four practices are Nam-smaran (repeating a divine name), daily meditation, prayer, and selfless service. This letter is already quite long, so I am not going to explain them all now. But you can find information on these spiritual practices in the Sutra and on the Bunnysattva web pages. I would read all the web-pages, if you haven't already, because there is much there that is not easy to find elsewhere. And sometimes you need to go back and read again cause you don't get it the first time (I know this because it is true of me).
Good luck to you Maureen. Never think that you are alone. In the spiritual life, we are watched over by higher beings, and when we need help they come to us and guide us. They also protect us from making serious mistakes. Remember always to pray for guidance so you will be led.
Maybe we will meet one day.
with love in the Bunnysattva,
Greenwich Village, New York
15 June 1999
From Patra Skybamedpa:
I have received far too many e-mail communications to answer individually, which makes me sad. Rather than leave some letters unanswered, I thought I might write this to you as a group.
Never having met any of you, I cannot advise you about any of the things you've asked. To help someone along the Path, one must get to know them. And that is not possible for me through electronic mail. It's hard enough getting to know my students here in New York.
To those of you who've asked to study with me, I have to apologize. I cannot take on any more students. I have barely been managing with the ones I already have. I am only a teacher, not a spiritual Master; I cannot advance anyone to higher consciousness. All I can do is share my experiences with my students, and hope we will learn from each other.
To those who asked questions about the Bunnysattva Sutra: I am really not familiar with enough of it to answer most questions. I suggest you write Emma Sirani (firstname.lastname@example.org), as she at least knows what she has read and what she hasn't. I get quite confused as to what has already happened and what is yet to come. Questions about the Sutra confuse me even further. Time travel has its' advantages, but keeping everything straight in one's memory is fairly difficult.
I know I have been called the 'author' of the Sutra, and I suppose this has some justification. But I never set out to write a book, and, in fact, I have written very little. Most of the material in the Sutra was taken down from talks I gave, and from tape-recordings of discussions I took part in.
I have only gone over a small part of the Sutra to correct it, and most likely won't be able to do much more. That is why I suggest you write Emma if you really have a problem understanding anything. Do not bother her for trifles, but any real difficulty you share with her will help her and her teacher correct the Sutra before it is published next year.
Questions about meditation: Most forms of meditation require the physical proximity of an advanced spiritual teacher. If you have such a teacher, you should not be writing me for advice.
If you don't have an advanced teacher, don't try any complicated meditations, and especially DO NOT do any breathing exercises. These yogic practices require careful day to day guidance from a Master. As they say on television, do not try this at home. There are three really safe meditations that anyone can do on their own:
1. Repeating a divine name. Pick a name you like, either of an aspect of divinity, such as God, or love, or compassion, OR the name of a Perfected Master, such as Gautama Buddha or Jesus Christ or the Prophet Muhammad. Simply sit in a quiet place and repeat the name slowly and with full attention. Most important, put your heart into it. There is no point repeating anything mechanically -- unless you aspire to become a machine.
If you repeat the name of a Master, make sure the name is of someone who really has attained Enlightenment. This is because the qualities of the one you meditate on will gradually be transfered to you during meditation. If the person is not Perfect, you will start to absorb their faults as well as any good qualities tjeu jave. Too dangerous. We each have enough faults already.
Of recent Masters, the following are suitable to meditate on:
Sai Baba of Shirdi (d. 1919)
Meherwan Rinpoche (1894-1969)
Undoubtably there are other Masters who are worthy of being meditated on. But these are ones I feel certain have attained the highest state of consciousness, which some call Buddhahood.
You may, of course, meditate on the Bunnysattva. I hesitate to recommend it simply because so many people doubt her very existence. There's no point trying to meditate on someone you don't believe exists. Of course, those of you who have met her or whose faith is solid would do well to meditate on her and repeat her name or her mantras.
2. The second safe meditation for beginners is the Divine Theme by Meherwan Rinpoche. This is a reading meditation. The text we are using now was prepared by Retlaw Tsoy from a 1930s version. I believe Mandy has put this up as a web page. I do this meditation myself sometimes when I have difficulty concentrating. It's powerful.
3. The third safe meditation for beginners is simply to follow your breathing. Sit with your back straight, in a comfortable position, take the head as the center of the body, and just watch as you slowly inhale and exhale. It's enough simply to pay attention. Once your mind has quieted down, you can repeat the name of a Realised Master or a mantra like Hare Krishna or Buddha Bhagavan or Om Bunnysattva Soha. Don't do this for more than fifteen or twenty minutes at a time at first.
Remember, when the disciple is ready the Master appears. Get yourself ready. Purify and simplify your life, remembering to put the happiness of others before your own happiness. Then you will create an atmosphere in which enlightened guidance will naturally come to you.
Patra Chosnyid Skybamedpa
18 January 1999
To Mandy Bell Buick:
At the beginning of the Bunnysattva Sutra we meet the Bunnysattva, but there is nothing about where she came from, or about her parents and childhood. How come?
March 7, 1998
I don't know why it's not in the Sutra. But there is some background in Oscar Luft-hansa's forthcoming book "Visions of the Bunnysattva." With his permission, I am reproducing Chapter Two below. Hope this satisfies your curiosity, at least for the moment.
Mandy Bell Buick
March 10, 1998
I was born in the village of Schwanburg in Bavaria, in southern Deutchland. My father was a tool and dye-maker. He worked with big and little pieces of metal. He could make almost any part for any engine from scratch. He was a big, gruff, grizzly fellow, but he had a trusting heart.
My mother was a seamstress. She designed and crafted all our clothes, and dressed other families as well. She was kind and sensitive, and always looking out for others. But she was a worrier, and often drank too much.
I was their only child, and, strangely, I was not very good with my hands. I could not do anything very well. I loved music and sports and painting, and hiking up into the hills behind our house. And from an early age I was drawn to the mysterious life of the spirit.
From childhood I had a defect in my body. I would faint. I might be swimming, or rowing, or bicycling, and suddenly I would lose consciousness. Someone would find me on the ground with my eyes rolled back. Nothing terrible ever happened, no broken bones even, but it was unsettling for those around me. My father was embarrassed. The doctor had no idea what caused it. I was given bitter medicines, but they did nothing.
When I was seventeen a new family came to Schwanburg. The eldest daughter, whose name was Ilsa, was beautiful and graceful.
Ilsa had long, flaxen hair, and eyes as blue as the sea, and her skin was pale, almost transparent. She looked as if she had just stepped out of the Faerie World. Maybe she had.
She had the gift to see them. She saw elves and pixies and undines and gnomes and salamanders, and on rare occasions angels. I would be right there with her, and saw nothing but the trees and the rocks.
Ilsa talked with the faeries and they would tell her secret things, and even sing to her. This was more than seventy years ago, when everyone, at least in Schwanburg, still believed in such things. No one ever made fun of her for her gift.
I fell deeply in love with her, and, strangely, she loved me too. But she had a still greater love for the mystical, the miraculous, and the unknown.
We spent much of our free time together, up in the hills behind my house. We would take off our clothes to lie in the sun, or swim in a stream that formed three pools beneath tall trees. (Schwanburg is gone now -- it was destroyed by Allied bombers during the second war, and never rebuilt.)
We read out loud to each other from books Ilsa would bring from home. Her parents were followers of a Buddhist Master named Koot Hoomi who lived in Tibet. Koot Hoomi was rarely seen by his devotees, but a large movement of them developed in India and Europe and even America, called the Theosophists. Later they drifted away from his high teachings, but at that time they still studied his writings and lived selfless and spiritual lives.
So we read aloud the books of Koot Hoomi and his student Helena Blavatsky, and tried as best we could to understand the difficult concepts: karma and reincarnation, evolution of consciousness, higher planes... We meditated and prayed together. We built a small stupa in the woods, around which we would walk in circles, saying mantras, to build up spiritual energy.
Ilsa loved animals, and her house was always full of pets: dogs, cats, mice, squirrels, even a peacock. People would bring her their hurt animals and she would nurse them back to health.
Ilsa especially loved deer, and together we would feed them in the forest. Sometimes we would see a black bear. But her favorite animal was the rabbit. While we often saw rabbits in the woods and fields, she never had one for a pet (and my parents never wanted animals, so I had none). We even exchanged rabbit rings: she gave me one of copper and silver, and I gave her a ring of white gold. To me, the rabbit was the symbol of our love for each other and of our common spiritual aspiration...
We had been friends only a year when Ilsa told me she was pregnant. I knew I could not be the father, for we had never engaged in sex. Ilsa confided to me that she had not been with any man, and I had no reason to doubt her. Today people would laugh, but, indeed, such things are possible -- though very rare. Ilsa said that she had been told by an Angel that she must journey, to bear her baby in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Ilsa told her parents, and, like me, they believed her. I never knew her to lie. It was arranged that I would accompany her to India, to the base of the Himalayas. Ilsa felt all along, she said, that it was her destiny to live in India. She had been told in visions that her child was a saintly soul who had returned to help others: a bodhisattva.
Ilsa's parents paid for our tickets. We went overland, mostly by train, as far as Istanbul, and then by freighter to Bombay. We both enjoyed traveling very much, though Ilsa would occasionally feel ill and weak from the pregnancy. Reaching Bombay, we took several trains north, finally arriving in Badrinarayan, hot and dusty but excited and exalted.
We took rooms in an old Hindu hotel, and set out immediately for a place Ilsa said she had seen in her dreams. It was a spot along the Ganga River where there were many caves, not far from ghats where people burned the bodies of their dead.
We settled in and began to meditate, and soon Ilsa was in a deep trance. I heard her speaking to someone, someone I could not see. After a while I was able to see him too. He was a young man, only a few years older than me. He had long straight copper-colored hair past his shoulders, and a beautiful, open face with dark, deep-set eyes. He seemed to be lit up from within. I felt as if I had seen him before, as if somehow I had known him.
Then a young woman appeared, also very beautiful. She wore a white sari, and her dark hair was untied. The man told me that she was his sister. And that Ilsa's child would be born shortly, and grow up to be the saviour of many lost souls.
The young man and woman told us they would help Ilsa care for the saintly child, but that, for spiritual reasons, I should return to Germany in a few weeks time. I said I could not bear to be parted from her. The man promised that, as long as Ilsa wished, she could come visit me in her subtle body every evening, so we would have each other's company even at that great distance. I was reluctant to agree, but Ilsa was convinced it was for the best, for this man and woman were her gurus or spiritual teachers. She said she had seen them in visions, and remembered them well from her previous birth. I could see she was blissfully happy to be with them again.
Four or five days later, Ilsa went through a very quick labor. I was present at the birth. I had thought a lot about what the child would look like, and whether it would be a boy or a girl. You can, perhaps, imagine our surprise when we saw that Ilsa's daughter was... a tiny brown rabbit.
Ilsa, consulting her teachers, named her daughter __________...
__________ was tiny and perfectly formed, and quite healthy. She was full of fun and adventure, and had a mischievious sense of humor. She had the body of a rabbit but the mind and heart of an advanced soul. I could see it in her eyes, which shone with an unearthly light.
I had to leave after another week, and it was very hard for me. Ilsa promised to visit me every night (and she has kept her promise, even to this day). When her daughter was a little more than a month old, Ilsa and her spiritual teachers, by means of rare occult powers, took her back in time several thousand years, to keep an appointment with Lord Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. But that is another story, perhaps to be told another time...
That's it, Cathy. I thought I'd add a short section I like from later in the book. It's about one day when the Bunnysattva and some of her students went out together. When Oscar says "the Master" he means the Bunnysattva.
One day about nine months ago, the Master took three of us to Scotland. I don't know the name of the place, but it was somewhere between Achnasheen and Dingwall.
She set down the saucer on a grassy hillside. It was about a half hour after sunset. There was still enough light to see, but not enough to read by. She opened the door, and turned to me and said, 'I'll be awhile.'
She hopped out. The door closed behind her, and the saucer lifted by itself into the air. None of us were at the controls.
As we rose up, I saw, beneath us, coming from all directions, rabbits, hundreds of rabbits, maybe a thousand rabbits, all different colors and sizes, in groups of two and three. Occasionally a single one. All moving in toward the hill, where the Master sat waiting for them.
The saucer hovered about a thousand feet above the Earth, and we watched as the hill filled with rabbits. They had some sort of silent meeting -- I say silent, but I could not have heard if they were speaking, not at a thousand feet. There was very little movement. We sat and watched and talked among ourselves. Finally, without our taking the controls, the ship went back down and stopped a foot or two above the hill.
The door opened, the Master leaped in, the door closed, and we took off. As we flew away I saw the rabbits all still sitting quietly on that hill. It was the most incredible sight.
The Master never told us anything about that meeting.
Visions of the Bunnysattva
by Oscar Luft-Hansa
Copyright 1998 Oscar Luft-Hansa. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.
Hello. My name is Susan and I think I many be a Bunnysattvan.
There. I've said it. Is that the first step?
February 28, 1998
Winter Park, Florida
The Bunnysattva Sutra is remarkable. I am still reading all of it. As for testimonials as to its spiritual power, I do attest to its benefit, as the mind that writes it is a light and a joy. You have a touch as knowledgeable as it is transformative and effervescent. You must put up with such things being said as they are true, and I thank the Lord they are. Don't think your writing is unheard. It is one of the few things I have seen this life
expressing a truly generous spirit. I am grateful souls such as you are alive, and that they still endeavor to communicate the beauty, humor, love and depth they have known. Like a deer turns to the music deep within the forest cathedrals, and forgets everything but that music, that is how I hear the light behind your words. That there are just such beams of light slanting through the trees, colors just this rich possible in the heart of being, I did not know. But another could show me.
February 24, 1998
Cool, cool story! Thanks!!!!
C. Tucker (CTucker620)
February 6, 1998
The story is a wonderful way to teach. Thank you
January 16, 1998
May i humbly say... that i think this is the most charming presentation of teachings ever to be imagined. i hope you plan to publish these insights for the benefit of raising consciousness of all sentient beings! :) So many voice not being able to comprehend the books they have attempted, and become too frustrated. Your story forms are exquisite!! I foresee them as the "New Age Grimm Fairy Tales" (so to speak) and the bedside companion of every child, if not adult, who seeks an easy to follow flowing intro to Buddha Mind.
Barbara (B 10 49)
January 10, 1998
Sincere thanks! This is so much more satisfying than stuffing one's face with turkey!
November 27, 1997
I think the Bunnysattva is one of the most brilliant works out there.
11 November 1997
May the Bunny sutra never die!!!!!
'The Bunnysattva Sutra' is like 'The Neverending Story' for me! I love it dearly!
Nov. 5, 1997 & Jan. 29, 1998
The Bunnysattva Sutra has a timeless quality. I have recommended it to my online friends as well as my offline friends who don't visit this message board. Its a definite must read.
Jeany (Jeany Bro)
September 25, 1997
More! More! More!
Mon ami, it is you who should be thanked! You have not allowed mundane considerations to interfere with the flow of your great genius. I will be forever grateful to you...
July 16th & Aug. 30, 1997
Gee, how exciting!!!! I love this! =)
August 29, 1997
Kansas City, Missouri
I love this folder... =o)
August 5, 1997
Fort Worth, Texas
Th..... th.... That's all, folks!
The Bunny Letters (this entire page) is copyright 1999 The Eastern School of Broad Buddhism. All rights reserved. Nothing on this page may be reproduced in any way without written permission. Write Aerna at email@example.com
Om Bunnysattva Soha