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Cults

lobsterlobster Veteran
edited June 23 in Sanghas

I was very fortunate in having a teacher who never taught me anything. That is probably why I paid so much attention. 😃

When I started my Buddhist cult (YinYana) I immediately banned all members from joining, including myself. That is a bit hardcore. 🤪
http://hardcorezen.info/do-i-need-a-teacher

I am really enjoying a TV series of dangerous cults in order to gain insight into how not to think thunk 🤔

What benefits us more than a teacher? Have you scrubbed your brain today? 😎

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited June 23

    Cults are an interesting phenomenon. I was reading a book written by Adi Da Samraj who was beter known under the name Da Free John back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and he put himself forward as a spiritual teacher but exhibited some cultish behaviour.

    Teachers and guru’s can be useful. I’ve heard it called the path of surrender, that you allow a teacher to arrange your life. Sometimes it takes the forms of trials or ordeals which the master puts his disciple through, sometimes it’s as simple as wearing clothes of a certain colour and no underwear. A teacher can be an excuse to leave an old life behind and start something new.

    But Buddhist teachers are usually not as extreme... the idea is the teacher is a guide who can take you on the path as far as he has travelled it himself, and we rely on his insight and qualities as well as experience.

  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    Love the hardcore zen article @lobster - your teacher is your mirror. Like that, though you presumably don't use her/him to fix your lipstick. I'm still looking for one and in rural Ireland it ain't easy!

  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    @lobster, I recently put a couple of Brad Warner's books on hold at my local library. I'm looking forward to reading them. I've found that I'm drawn to the teachers that communicate with informal language like he does. The only ones I've found are in California though O.o I don't think I'm gonna travel 3000 miles just so I can learn from someone that talks like I do.

    BTW, I'm gonna join you in not joining YinYana. I like not joining things.

    lobsterRowan1980
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 23

    Thanks everyone, <3

    Love, devotion and surrender in the guru brain washing circuit is not always a Buddhist requirment. Experienced sangha may know a lot, perhaps which books and teachers are appropriate. We may not, nor can we always expect enlightened teachers. Direction setters, spiritual friends, low level teachers may be all that is available ... In this sense, we must uses our existing sense, sanity, gut feeling, intuition, intellect ... what ever we have ...

    I would always suggest listening, reading and being attentive. We in a sense, are resonating and amplifying our skilful traits. I often notice that some people here exhibit more experience, more common sense, more sanity, more compassion than me. If we all exhibit our best strong points and ignore any failings, we may be in with a chance ... I'll join.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_modernism

    personkando
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited June 23

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve heard it called the path of surrender, that you allow a teacher to arrange your life.

    It's called getting married, getting a job, having a mortgage, then bearing children..... :)

    The great "insert country here" dream!!

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 23

    Th best way to avoid becoming a cult follower is, "not to mistake the teacher for the teachings"

    For more information on how to avoid cults, please deposit $1000 into this account 666-666-666-666 ;) ...and if you keep depositing $1000 each month, you will be cult free in no time :)

    lobsterkandoherberto
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @kando said:
    I'm still looking for one and in rural Ireland it ain't easy!

    They will come to you (maybe you have a tent) if you provide travelling expenses (send them a pair of shoes) ...
    Dharma is free. Sangha are cheap. Buddha is gone.

  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    What a bunch of Groucho's, never joining any club.... etc.... Certainly not one, in my case, where tec skills are required :) great comments on cults, too. my tent days are way behind me however, I would demand a holiday inn at least.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Many religions start as a cult/heresy or claim to be beyond the common fallacies. For example Buddhism is fashionable at the moment but is full of ancient un-wisdom as well as that we cherry pick as applicable to our needs ...

    The important thing is our personal independence from group thunk.

    Long live the Supreme Leader (Sheikh Ya-Muni aka Buddha 1 of many)

  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    am I the only one who thinks that pendant looks like a lobster?

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Yes ..There's definitely something fishy about it ;)

    lobsterBunks
  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    It looks a bit like an octopus to me, or even great Cuthulu :) I once got marginally roped in at a soon to be cultish ashram in India, but only for about three weeks - it wasn't the guru who scared me off, although he was rather hairy and his personal hygiene was not all it should have been - it was the manic devotion of his followers that gave me the heebie jeebies.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I was taught by a Guru Octopus called Olli, until an unfortunate incident [lobster hangs head in shame]
    http://peace.wikia.com/wiki/Empowerments (say no to cookies)

    ScottPen
  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    Tec tips for holy geeks! That's made my day, along with a marine cookie monster, although Hokusai would probably behead the culprit for that breach of copyright B)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There IS no breach of copyright, but at this moment, it's right to the beach! Yipeeee summer!

    Kundokando
  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    At present life is a beach @federica - even in Ireland :)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited June 30

    @kando said:
    I once got marginally roped in at a soon to be cultish ashram in India, but only for about three weeks - it wasn't the guru who scared me off, although he was rather hairy and his personal hygiene was not all it should have been - it was the manic devotion of his followers that gave me the heebie jeebies.

    This is true, if people around you are displaying unquestioning devotion rather than great freedom and creativity, then your cult is probably heading in the wrong direction. You did well to get out of there.

    federicaKundo
  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    I did @kerome, it all got very messed up and weird later on. I never regretted leaving.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Explorer

    @lobster said:
    Long live the Supreme Leader (Sheikh Ya-Muni aka Buddha 1 of many)

    Personally, I've always been more of a fan of the teachings of Sheikh Yerbouti.

    ShoshinScottPenKundo
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    if people around you are displaying unquestioning devotion rather than great freedom and creativity, then your cult is probably heading in the wrong direction.

    @kerome -- Just sitting here this morning thinking about the search for some deeper meaning or importance ... and wondering if anyone doesn't involve him/herself in a docile credulity during such a search. Something like: Find some serious conviction in your life; vow to follow it right down to its roots using a preferred mechanism (persuasion); be wowed by the persuasion's acuity and the experience it provides; find out that there are worms in your apple ... then keep digging anyway.

    I guess this mumbling today came out of an article a friend sent along about sexual peccadilloes in a Buddhist organization (https://thinkprogress.org/buddhist-leader-sexually-assaulted-students-report-finds-0d08e17cedd9/) and a longish Associated Press piece (https://www.apnews.com/2b67901dc55c45eb9da9c9a012210e49/Vatican-City-still-has-no-policy-to-fight-clergy-sex-abuse) about the Vatican's longtime foot-dragging on the topic of sex abuse.

    The I-can-explain-everything-psychology-savvy Buddhists and Christians will bring out humble explanations ... oh so soothing and understanding and compassionate-- but the fact may be hard to swallow ... my angel is also an out-and-out corruption at times. How is my persuasion to be viewed after the holy roof falls in? Are spiritual cuddlings enough? Shall I flee the world I had committed myself to? Cult? You bet it's a cult: So ... how will I handle the web I have chosen to struggle in? (No icky answers, please).

    I think every serious student will have to face the annexed cult that has every capacity to bring that serious student home. But of course it won't all be butter and cream. Hagiography simply cannot dissolve serious, life-searing questions.

    Can my cult beat up your cult? I haven't got a clue. :)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Have you scrubbed your brain today? 😎

    Hmm... if I only had a brain ;)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    In a sense Dharma practice is a form of 'gentle' brain washing, where one gentle washes away the built up conditioning stains of Samsaric living...

    "I'm gonna wash that neuropathway 'right' out of my brain! I'm gonna wash the neuropathway 'right' out of my brain! I'm gonna wash the neuropathway 'right' out of my brain...and make another way" ;)

  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    @genkaku living in Ireland, which is very much a RC stronghold, I find people's lack of reaction to all the revelations of abuse baffling, on top of all the horrors of 'the troubles' (typical Irish down play even in calling it that!) I think a lot of people here are still in a state of shock most of the time. Old sins have long shadows is right.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    if people around you are displaying unquestioning devotion rather than great freedom and creativity, then your cult is probably heading in the wrong direction.

    but the fact may be hard to swallow ... my angel is also an out-and-out corruption at times. How is my persuasion to be viewed after the holy roof falls in?

    You’re talking about where the boundaries are of cultish behaviour. It’s an interesting question, as soon as the personality of the teacher becomes a strong factor there’s the possibility. I think it really depends on the standards we set for our teachers...

    A spiritual teacher can be just a mirror, when you surrender to him or her you may find yourself doing new things, being transformed. A real master of that type is unpredictable, and may impart fragments of his experience easily or not. So the question can be, is it really possible to set standards for such a person without ruining their effectiveness and the effectiveness of the experience?

    Kundo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yeah, thanks @Shoshin , doesn't have quite the same ring to it.... R&H might not have used the lyrics, on a minor point orf scanning.

    But I do get the gist....

    Shoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I think it really depends on the standards we set for our teachers...

    They just have to be better/further along. In my case that is practically everyone in some capacity ... :3

    So the question can be, is it really possible to set standards for such a person without ruining their effectiveness and the effectiveness of the experience?

    Well in that sense, I am an effective learner. So for example I learn from a trump-wit (like a half wit but not as bright). I learn from cultish gurus about gullibility, apologetics, need to be servile etc

    Humans congregate around noise but the Buddhas sit under trees and learn ...

    kandoKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The leader of a terrorist Buddhist cult was executed today
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/06/japan-executes-sarin-gas-attack-cult-leader-shoko-asahara-and-six-members-reports

    Serious consequences if we do not expose cultists for what they are or become ...
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/17682/the-cult-at-the-end-of-the-world

  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    @Vimalajāti said:

    @lobster said:
    Long live the Supreme Leader (Sheikh Ya-Muni aka Buddha 1 of many)

    Personally, I've always been more of a fan of the teachings of Sheikh Yerbouti.

    The venerable Yerbouti has indeed imparted many wise lessons.

    "You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."

    >

    "Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff."

    >

    "A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians."

    >

    "Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, uses that something to support their own existence."

    >

    "If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library."

    >

    "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."

    >

    "If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it."

    >

    "Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST."

    >

    "My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can."

    >

    "The essence of Christianity is told us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the tree of knowledge. The subtext is, 'All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your f@#*ing mouth shut and hadn't asked any questions."

    >

    "The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents — because they have a tame child-creature in their house."

    >

    "lf you’re going to deal with reality, you’re going to have to make one big discovery: Reality is something that belongs to you as an individual. If you wanna grow up, which most people don’t, the thing to do is take responsibility for your own reality and deal with it on your own terms. Don’t expect that because you pay some money to somebody else or take a pledge or join a club or run down the street or wear a special bunch of clothes or play a certain sport or even drink Perrier water, it’s going to take care of everything for you."

    >

    "Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow."

    >

    Shoshin
  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    @lobster said:

    Humans congregate around noise but the Buddhas sit under trees and learn ...

    A wise man once said, he who sits under a noisy tree is soon to be shat upon

    ShoshinKundo
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I do a little volunteering in the town where I live, and I’ve been asked if I want to facilitate a group of ex-cult members who want to discuss their experiences. The people in charge seem to think that my knowledge of matters spiritual and background could be useful here, and I think it could be rather fun. I’m told the participants will be a mix of people with background in Scientology, Christianity and guru’s such as Osho. I’m quite looking forward to it.

    JeffreyShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Great @Kerome ...Now you can start your own cult oops I mean group ;) :lol:

    Kundolobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think the idea is rather to help people process their cultish-past experiences. But I think it is best to go into it with an open mind and see what happens.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    It is very easy to feel superior until we consider:

    • The materialist cult
    • The rebirth of the dead cult
    • Trump cult
    • Anti something or other cult
    • Socialist cult
    • Rabid atheist and theist cults
    • Cult of extreme behavour
    • Cult of looped thinking and behaving
    • Superior Buddhist Cult

    oh dear ... we may all need to attend @Kerome new group?

    KundoBunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’m reliably informed that the best way to start people thinking about how their cult may be irrational is to ask difficult questions. So I’m going to practice formulating some of these. Thanks @lobster for the examples of cults :)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited July 12

    @Kerome said:
    I’m reliably informed that the best way to start people thinking about how their cult may be irrational is to ask difficult questions. So I’m going to practice formulating some of these. Thanks @lobster for the examples of cults :)

    I don't know who 'reliably informed' you but in my experience, all this does is EITHER make them bristle, defensive and hostile, OR, worse still, they adopt a 'Gaslighting' behaviour.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    If you have better suggestions I’m all ears... of course there needs to be a suitable introduction, space to talk, exchange confidences. But an approach towards making people think is also part of that.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    When you say 'people', who do you mean, exactly? Those who run the 'cults' or those who have escaped....? All attitudes, opinions and interactions will be completely different.... at opposite ends of the spectrum I would say....

  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    There's a great film by Jane Campion on the subject of deprogramming called Holy Smoke, worth a watch @kerome. :)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    When you say 'people', who do you mean, exactly? Those who run the 'cults' or those who have escaped....? All attitudes, opinions and interactions will be completely different.... at opposite ends of the spectrum I would say....

    Yes that’s true. But I’m basically doing a little homework for facilitating the group, so it’s for people who have escaped wholly or partially, and are referred there by local mental health teams.

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