MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP
BACK to EXTRAPOLATING SAMADHI Update 06 16 08
Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.
Examining the Issue of Bad Guru Behavior.
There are many contemporary and some historic accounts of behavior by both anointed and self-proclaimed enlightened ones that seem inconsistent with that which is prescribed in classical Vedic and Buddhist Dharma. Our issue is with the basis of claims to their enlightenment, the substance of the ideologies they embrace and whether the character of their interpersonal relationships and lifestyle betray their own teachings.
One of the most prevalent and disturbing features of many of even the most highly regarded gurus of the Vedic tradition are their claims of being reincarnations of consistently famous and revered entities ranging from saints and bodhisattvas to historical emperors or military conquerors. Jesus Christ, Buddha, Mohammad and Mary Magdalene are common in incarnated lineages and Julius Ceaser, Alexander the Great and William the Conqueror are historic figures frequently invoked. Such claims seem to in no way detract from a guru's credibility either by their disciples or those in the integral spirituality or transpersonal psychology communities.
In regards to explaning what by common standards would be considered unethical personal behavior- the usual excuse is that it is a manifestation of an accepted "rude boy" guru protocol for the spiritual benefit of the disciples. Another suspected cause for alleged deviant character is that these gurus never experienced authentic Samadhi and therefore were not imbued with all the qualities of humanistic compassion and morality that fully realized experiencers manifest. An alternative view is that their Samadhi could have been thoroughly authentic and of high order but that they simply failed to fully integrate the experience in terms of doctrinaire Dharma. In this reality- even high Samadhi is graced absent of any moral criteria or judgment whatsoever-that God grants free will not only to interpret the transcendent insight but to subsequently reform our ego and shape its character and behavior within its full range from honesty to hypocrisy - from love to misanthropy - from messianic missionary to detatched recluse.
Ken Wilber's spiritual think-tank presents a typically intense analysis of this issue and suggests that enlightenment proceeds within two distinct realms-the transcendent "states" and the rational "stages" and results in the boomeritus effect. "What this means, to give a very quick example, is that somebody at, say, the blue stage of development can have an altered state or peak experience of a subtle state--say, an experience of a divine Light or interior Luminosity--but the person will tend to interpret that experience through the mental apparatus that has actually developed in his or her own case..."
Links to Bad Guru Behavior
SAFE SECTS?- Early Warning Signs of Bad Religions
"...to found a religion, a leader usually makes some sort of claim to special insight or to special revelation that legitimates both the new religion and the leader's right to lead. The founder may even claim to be prophet, messiah or avatar. While many critics of alternative religions have asserted that the assumption of such authority is in itself a danger sign, too many objectively harmless groups have come into being with the leader asserting divine authority for such claims to be meaningful danger signs."
Sarlo's Guru Rating Service- A comprehensive resource presented with unique insight and self-deprecating humour- a compendium of mostly non-mainstream religious leaders whose mission/job description is basically to help us lift ourselves out of the multiple ruts of misery we find ourselves in as we live our lives. Their methods, quality and authenticity vary tremendously, as do the degree to which they claim enlightenment, encourage worship of their exalted selves and conceive of our misery. This gathering of facts and links and opinions is just that, and does not represent Wisdom. As a nexus for information about potential "baddies," it has some value but that value should not be extrapolated into other areas where judgment is so subjective.
A brisk online intercine warfare is going on with the following players taking sides according to who's guru is getting gored.
Sri Sathya Sai Exposing Critic's Smear-Campaigns Against Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by
Timothy Conway PhD,
Sarlo's Guru-Rating Service and
Guruphiliac - Jody Radzik and the war gets uglier at
Anti-Guruphiliac Jody Radzik Blog and see my review of Radzik promoting the drug ecstasy as an entheogen.
(mg note: Actually I find myself empathetic with the theme of Jody's Guruphiliac blog - "...to blow the cover off the facade of holy divinity and expose the much more accessible humanity that always lies just a tenth of a millimeter underneath." My main point of contention is his claim that the drug ecstasy can induce an authentic Nirvikalpa Samadhi experience. I maintain that such potent entheogens produce an impure version mixed to varying degrees with psychic baggage - resulting in an inspiring but warped illusion of realization.)
Update 11 16 08:
Jody Radzik (mg: Jody sent me an Email calling my attention to this statement in his blog- refining his view on psychedelic spirituality and positing that it disclaims my "strong misapprehension" that he advocates the drug ecstasy as a enabler for authentic samadhi. I generalized from the considerable body of Google references to his drift which seemed an enthusiastic advocacy of ecstasy-inspired spirituality. I'd say his challenge is to convert the public impression this body has created with as vigorous a campaign as for example Antony Flew launched when he converted from an advocate of atheism to born again deism.)
Guruphiliac A blog by Jody Reavealing Self-Aggrandizement and Superstition in Self-Realization- a freewheeling often satirical critique of the global guru community by expatriate of Sri Chimnoy satsang.
Stripping the Gurus Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment by Geoffrey D. Falk.
Intro to free online edition says: "No one involved in contemporary spirituality can afford to ignore this book. It exposes the darker side of modern spiritual movements, those embarrassing- sometime vicious or criminal- reports which the leaders of these movements prefer to hide. With wit and humility, and without abandoning the verities of religion, Falk has provided a corrective critique of groups that peddle enlightenment and transcendence."
Norman Einstein- The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber by Geoffrey D. Falk Free online edition: "...Ken Wilber, his celebrated theories of consciousness, and the increasingly unquestioning population of "second-tier" spiritual aspirants surrounding him and participating in his Integral Institute (I-I) and Integral University, are not what they appear to be. The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber will show you why the community around Wilber is being increasingly called a 'cult', even by former founding members of I-I who have seen it first-hand."
John Horgan John Horgan presents a skeptical overview of his personal experiences with the enlightenment community including an interview with Andrew Cohen.
The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is an interdisciplinary network of academicians, professionals, former group members, and families who study and educate the public about social-psychological influence and control, authoritarianism, and zealotry in cultic groups, alternative movements, and other environments.
Is The Guru Dead?
WIE Magazine Issue 9 / Spring-Summer 1996 The fact that many spiritual teachers have fallen into financial and sexual scandal raises important questions. What are the causes of corruption? What is true purity? Interviews with The Guru Papers authors Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, Georg Feuerstein, Hal Blacker, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Andrew Cohen, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh.
International Cultic Studies Association Founded in 1979, the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is the leading professional organization concerned about psychological manipulation and abusive relationships, especially as they manifest in the interaction of individuals with cults, new religious movements, and related groups. Index of Organizations religious/spirtual links- some simply connect to the official org site- others to expose blogs and websites. Views expressed on these sites are those of the document's author(s) and are not necessarily shared, endorsed, or recommended by ICSA.
Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle - a lively discourse in the RickRoss forum where regulars usually are skeptical of guru claims, that quickly inflates with charges and countercharges about many others in the Western guru and non-dual teaching community.
What the (Bleep) Were They Thinking?
The ironic thing is that the film makers tell us quantum mechanics is oh-so-mysterious and can’t be explained - and then they explain it. They [state] as a fact, that one of the people you have been listening to for the previous 90 minutes, a main authority for the information being presented, is a 35,000 year old warrior spirit from Atlantis, being channeled by this Tacoma housewife turned cult leader. The woman pictured is JZ Knight, but you are not listening to JZ Knight. You are literally listening to Ramtha. There were people who saw this film and didn’t say, "That’s just a woman putting on a funny accent". Scary, huh?
Heart of a Cult by Lena Phoenix
"Phoenix's heroine seeks self-transformation through community. But her search leads her not to peace, but to a maddeningly complex weave of truth and lies surrounding the mysterious charismatic leadership structure of the group that seems to offer everything. Her self-transformation happens in ways she never expected when she first stepped outside her door in Boulder. Nail-biting reading!"
A Response To Andrew Cohen's "Declaration of Integrity" Personal Recollections by Simeon Alev; [Former What Is Enlightement? magazine editor provides further reflections in response to Andrew Cohen's recent attempt on his blog to explain his conduct which has been the subject of widespread criticism.] "Andrew Cohen recently meticulously crafted and posted a Declaration of Integrity, which in effect avoids the whole thing. Instead of addressing the actual facts, he predictably overwhelms us with his assessment of how great things are in the spiritual boot camp he has created, and why his ego-challenging teachings have proven his ex-student critics to be mere "failures", or losers whose "life mission is to create and spread a negative picture of who I am..."
The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic, and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism Our book, which was published in German 1999 by Patmos Verlag, has led to intense and emotional debates but also to informative and fruitful discussions among the public. See also Postscript for an enlightened integration of Tantric yab yum principles.
The Dalai Lama- Koenraad Elst; a critique of Shadow of the Dali Lama The German couple Victor and Victoria Trimondi is conducting a personal crusade against the Dalai Lama and against Buddhism. Via an inter-philosophical dialogue they became friends with members of the smiling upper-Tibetan’s entourage and through them became acquainted with some of the less pretty sides of this mediagenic guru. Nowadays, Maoists eagerly quote from the writings of ex-Maoist Victor Trimondi in support of their polemic against the clique surrounding the Dalai Lama.
Bodhidharma a disturbing account of some dialog by the Dali Lama regarding concerns about a famous yogi having sex with other men's wives and whether some yogi had psychic power that enabled them to fly.
Account begins with a description of the conference in which the dialog took place:
These Westerners are the first generation of authorized European and North American Buddhist meditation teachers. The conference was organized by Lama Surya Das, a native of New York who is now a teacher in the Tibetan Nyingmapa tradition. Each of the teachers had practiced for at least a dozen years in either Japanese or Korean Zen, the four major Tibetan schools, Thai or Sri Lankan Buddhism, or the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, a Western school based on Great Britain. There were laypeople, monks and nuns, psychologists, scholars, essayist, translators; some had meditated in caves, others had Western doctorates. Most were actively teaching Buddhist meditation, not only in the West, but in Asia, Russia, and countries like South Africa and Brazil.
His holiness received the teachers, and their questions, with enthusiasm at his residence in the hill town of Dharamsala, northern India. The four day discussion moved quicky to essential points.
The discussion turned to teachers who have sex with many women students, claiming to enlighten them. To almost everyone's horror, the Dalai Lama said there were a few cases where this might be possible. He began musing about that famous yogi of medieval Bhutan, Drukpa Kunley, who used to sleep with other men's wives and all sort of inappropriate people. His Holiness said that Drukpa Kunley did all this only for the long-term benefits of everyone involved, benefits of which he was full cognizant through his psychic powers. All of the emotional agony Drukpa Kunley caused purportedly turned out happily in the long run.
Smiling slightly, His Holiness explained that Drukpa Kunley could understand the long-term effects of his actions because he had attained the nondual insight known as "one taste." All experiences were the same to him: He could enjoy excrement and urine just like the finest food and wine. Traditionally, His Holiness said, the practice of tantric sex is permitted only to practitioners who can match Drukpa Kunley's insight. As for the teachers nowadays who sleep with many students, His Holiness laughed and said, "If you put into their mouth some urine, they will not enjoy." This in itself would be proof of their inadequacy.
A more traditional test to prove one's suitability for tantric sexual practice, His Holiness said, is to display, not unlike the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja, psychic powers such as flying. "As far as I know," His Holiness concluded, "zero lamas today can do that. Some meditators living in caves around Dharamsala are highly realized and possibly capable of such attainments," he said, "but they are celibate."
More about credibility of siddhis
Cult Information Center This page contains links to other websites and articles relating to cults, alternative or new religious and therapy movements and other groups. These sites are independent from the Cult Information Centre - we have no control over their content and make no representation as to their accuracy.
Video files on Kirpal Light Satsang David Lane video interview about Thakar Singh commune, Ariana Huffington's ministry and 1994 senatorial campaign of husband McWilliams. Interviews with disciples testifying both adoringly and complaining of sexual and other abuses.
The Psychology of Mature Spirituality: Integrity, Wisdom, Transcendence Young-Eisendrath, Polly and Melvin E. Miller, 200. The editors frame the discussions enclosed in the book by stating: "This volume of essays was designed to address [the following] dilemma: Is it possible to embrace spiritual meaning and not become either childish or irrational, while increasing one’s genuine awe, inspiration, gratitude, and intellectual appreciation of living now in the period of scientific skepticism?". See book review by Jeff Fine-Thomas, 2004. Emphasis is made in examining how spiritual and religious issues between clinic psychologists and patients present special tensions and challenges for avoiding abuse that inhibit integrating positive outcomes for therapies that respect precondition belief in a various of religious and spriritual beliefs including Chrisiain fundamentalism, and various non dual traditions.
David Lane- spiritual curmudgeon, critique and skeptic presents a
compendium of critiques of gurus, messianic visionaries and cults. In an exceptionally fairminded approach, Lane provides links to rebuttles to some of his critiques.
Eckankar Critique by David C. Lane- Thus, when I accused Paul Twitchell of plagiarism, cover-up, and deceit (read: lying), I think it is vitally important for the reader to check my sources directly. That is, look at Julian Johnson's THE PATH OF THE MASTERS and WITH A GREAT MASTER IN INDIA and compare them with Twitchell's THE FAR COUNTRY and other books (including SHARIYAT and LETTERS). Then one can decide whether or not there is a similarity between Johnson's writings and Twitchell's.
Sahaj Marg Cult a sharp critique of Sahaj Marg by Shashwat Kumar Pandey, Mumbai, India - Sahaj Marg (the Natural Path) is the system of practical training in spirituality offered by Shri Ram Chandra Mission. It is in essence the well-known old raja yoga (yoga of the mind) remodeled and simplified to suit and help the man of present-day world to achieve inner perfection, which is a synonym for God Realization.
Note: The term Rinpoche is an honorific title commonly afforded to Tibetan lamas.
Chögyam Trungpa- Rinpoche There are a number of controversies that surround Trungpa's behavior, including open sexual relationships with his students and drinking of alcohol, the latter of which led to his death of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 47. Before moving to America, he drove a sports car into a joke shop while under the influence of alcohol. This left Trungpa partially paralyzed and usually needing assistance to walk. On some occasions he had to be carried off-stage for being too drunk. Some observed that even while drunk, he could lecture brilliantly and be precise and compassionate with his students. See also- notorious incident at Halloween party at the Fall, 1975, Snowmass Colorado Seminary.
Ösel Tendzin After Trungpa's death Tendzin became his dharma heir. Many in Trungpa's community (sangha) felt angry and betrayed when they learned in December 1988 that Ösel Tendzin had contracted HIV and continued to have unprotected sex with his students, without informing them, and transmitted it to a student through oral sex, resulting in the subsequent death from AIDS of the young man. (The young man's girlfriend, who also contracted HIV as a result, is reportedly still alive.) Tendzin admitted that he was responsible and said that Chögyam Trungpa had told him to keep his HIV a secret and that his tantric practice would prevent him passing the HIV infection onto his students.
Sex, Semantics, and Chauvinism by Ming Zhen Shakya, ZBOHY presents details of the scandelous behavior at Trungpa Rinpoche's Naropa Institute and a review of Holy Madness by Georg Feuerstein- the Shock Tactics and Radical Teachings of Crazy Wise Adepts, Holy Fools and Rascal Gurus. (Paragon House, NY.)
Is Da the only 7th Stage Realiser? by M.Alan Kazlev.
Since 1991, Adi Da has moved from referring to himself as one seventh stage realiser among many, to the first and only seventh stage realiser. What are we to make of this? Is Da an evolutionary avatar, like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother? Or has he become sidetracked in the Intermediate Zone, possessed or taken over even? The following excerpts from Elias' archives are revealing, and the "once only status" Da makes ("I (Alone) Am the Adidam Revelation") indicates that he certainly cannot be an evolutionary avatar, for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother only claimed to be the harbingers, not the once and for all time only ever supramental avatars. It may be that Adi Da's students and devotees can answer the claims made here, in which case I welcome their comments, since it is my intention to present a fair case.
The Adi Da Archives We present a large body of historical materials and analysis that are critical of Adi Da. The only other site we know of that hosts a comprehensive critic's view of Adi Da is at Lightmind It will soon be deleting all of its Adi Da materials, leaving us as the only large repository of critical information on this controversial individual.
Integral Therapy: Love is the Healing Principle. Mindfulness and "Radical" Non-Dualism and Their Relevancy for Clinical Practice by D. B. Sleeth. Ignoring Adi Da's proclivity for grandiosity, Sleeth credits the avatar with profound insight into the imperative of "Radical Non-Dualism". "The basic premise of integral therapy is this: love is the healing principle. All therapeutic orientations, whether
explicitly acknowledging the relationship or not, are based on this principle. Further, the efficacy of all therapeutic orientations result from a particular clinical equation: the more the awareness, the more the love. As a result, positive outcomes from all approaches to clinical practice rely essentially on mindfulness, which derives from nondualism - and especially "Radical" Non-Dualism as proposed by Avatar Adi Da."
Aurobindo- Partial Enlightenment
Website Commentary: The August 24, 2006 post is an interesting essay entitled Some Reflections on Abuse- and Uncompleted or "Intermediate" Gurus. It discusses Aurobindo’s philosophy on the danger posed by teachers with only partial enlightenment as a reason for Cohen’s behaviors. It’s an interesting theory, and the list of warning signs may be useful to some. But the article supposes that there is such a thing as complete enlightenment, and implies that a teacher functioning in such a state would not be at risk of these behaviors.
MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP
OTHER TRANSPERSONAL EXPERIENCES