Information about Frederick Lenz, aka 'Zen Master Rama' in Cult Education Institute archives.
Lenz's own guru was Sri Chinmoy, who had a troubled career - to say the very least. [www.culteducation.com
Here is an article about Lenz from Wired
A very small excerpt.
Lenz's small band of believers searched for recruits on college campuses throughout the nation. One campaign involved 100 disciples distributing 4,000 posters and 100,000 promotional newsletters in California alone. Newcomers were invited to meditation sessions where, in an upper-octave monotone, Lenz promised to take them into the "light."
Lenz didn't accept just anyone. He was interested only in bright, diligent, presentable followers, so he required people to fill out lengthy applications - with photos attached. (Typical question: "Do you hear voices, or do you communicate with nonphysical beings?") Those who made the cut were taught what Lenz called American Buddhism, which included "what matters: making money."
Lenz had the foresight to recognize that computer programming for mainstream institutions, including Wall Street banks, held far more potential than, say, street-corner flower sales. He urged his flock to learn the basics of programming at Computer Learning Centers. Lenz said computer training was integral to practicing Buddhism; he insisted that writing code is like doing yoga, that it "puts you in a very high place."
"It was quite a radical thing to take people who were used to eating granola and send them down to Wall Street," recalls William Arntz, who was a Lenz student for 12 years, until 1994. "He said it was a warrior's task to go down there. He said the good thing about programming was that you can see how clear you are by how good your code works."
"In a lot of ways," says a current follower who, like several others, declined to be identified, "your computer career became a vehicle for studying Buddhism."
Lenz was certainly right about one thing: the shortage of skilled programmers in the early '80s. Coders like Arntz who were proficient in SQL or Fortran made $50 an hour, a rate that more than doubled by decade's end. From their earnings, followers would eventually pay Lenz a monthly tuition ranging from $125 for college students to $5,000 for the highest earners. Some would fork over as much as $1,000 to have dinner with the man who clued them in on everything from what to wear (Armani evoked authority, he said, while Calvin Klein was for wimps) to where to live (he endorsed certain "power" centers, like Westchester County in suburban New York).
Some disgruntled members charged Lenz with being a drug-ingesting charlatan.
Invoking a theme from Carlos Castaneda, Lenz told followers that their paths would be smoother if they made themselves "inaccessible" to outsiders who might drain their energy. That meant creating an elaborate shield to conceal their physical whereabouts: relying on post-office boxes, hiding behind email. Buying into the Lenz trip often meant moving every six months or so - whenever he requested it - and acquiring no more material goods than you could stuff in a car. It appeared that he mistrusted not only outsiders but his own students as well.
"This was a man who made you sign an eight-page form if you went out with him on a date," says a lapsed follower now living in the New York area. Lenz warned students that the backlash for leaving the group included personal tragedies like cancer and fatal car crashes.
The Lenzies often did respectable work, but not always. "I was one of the first people to give computer training, and I had only one year of data processing," recalls former member Mark Lurtsema. "Let's put it this way: Those courses were not college level." In the Consultants' and Contractors' Newsletter, whose readership includes managers who hire computer programmers in and around New York City, editor Wendy Vandame frequently reported on the impact of unseasoned Lenz followers at places like Nynex and Deutsche Bank. She estimates that, from about 1987 to 1994, Lenz's people caused millions of dollars in business losses in the New York metropolitan area, the result of missed project deadlines and spending on services that were inadequate or misrepresented.
Still, the Lenzies proliferated, in part because their technical training was backed with seminars about aggressive job hunting. One training document goes so far as to suggest, "Have a friend using a pseudonym act as your reference person."
Corboy note: The Buddhist precepts warn against deceit.
Lenz died from an overdose of pills, his girlfriend in a coma beside him. She survived. and dog drugged beside him.
Lenz Dies On Drugs
150 sedative pills in guru
The New York Post/April 16, 1998
Yuppie guru Frederick Lenz -- whose body was found floating in the waters off his Long Island mansion --fell off his dock after taking more than 150 phenobarbitol tablets, it was reported yesterday.
Suffolk County Police, awaiting toxological tests that could take up to two months, declined to comment on the report in the Three Village Herald, which also said Lenz's three dogs were drugged.
Lenz's female companion, identified by the weekly as lacy Brinn, 33, of Manhattan, was found in an upstairs bedroom about 2 a.m. Monday by Old Filed Police Sgt Bob Bell, who had noticed lights burning and the front door open.
"You get to know the residents, what they do. This --sometyhing just didn't look right," Bell told the newspaper about the death of Lenz, 48, at his Old Field estate.
The woman, who had ingested 50 drug tablets, told a somewhat incoherent tale of going down to the water with Lenz, and seeing him fall in on Easter Sunday morning, the paper reported.
"She was all bruised up," Bell was quoted as saying. " I guess that happened when she was trying to reach him, but he just floated away -- on his back, she said."
Naighbors said multimillionaire Lenz did not have a boat, but would sometimes go down to the water with his three terriers to watch them swim.
Diving into Conscience Bay
Upstairs, the master bedroom was empty and all of the motion detectors that guarded the room had been turned off. Then, in one of the guest bedrooms, police spied a fully dressed woman lying on a bed, unconscious. Police tried to rouse her, but she was incoherent. By her side was a picture of a man and another of a dog. In another room were two dogs, stiff but breathing.
Searching the grounds, one officer followed a narrow path down to a pier on the water. Thin metal rails guided walkers on the path; one of them was bent and broken. Police called in divers who, 10 hours later, pulled a man's body from the water. He was dressed in a suit and tie. Around his neck was a dog collar with a dangling rabies vaccination tag.
The man was Frederick Lenz, better known to the world as the New Age guru Zen Master Rama; the woman, Brinn Lacey, one of his devoted followers. Two nights before, in a suicide pact, the pair had drugged the dogs with Phenobarbital, downed fistfuls of Valium (at least 150 pills by Lenz alone) and stepped off the pier. By some miracle, Lacey and the dogs survived; Lenz did not. Lacey wrote in a note the police found by her side: We all tried to go too the other world last night, and only Rama made it..."
Money released by this tormented chain of cause and effect has been used to create the Frederick Lenz Foundation.
Vast Sky brings together the principals from Big Mind (Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi)
Integral Institute (Ken Wilber) and Peacemaker Circle (Roshi Bernie Glassman) in a joint effort to "use the wisdom of the Buddhadharma, combined with the most effective technology available, to advance every conceivable area of our society towards a more awakened approach to life." It is the object of Vast Sky to change the way America views spirituality so as to affect and impact the way society views religion, educates its children, approaches politics, conducts its business, and cares for the elderly, the homeless and the poor, as well as the way Americans relate to other nations, especially those which are different from our nation. By impacting the level of consciousness of America’s public officials and public servants, the Vast Sky project seeks a transformation through the instruments of technology and mass media in the way Americans view these important matters critical to our nation’s well being.
Dennis Merzel Genpo has had a controversial career.
endorsed a series of troubled teachers, most notoriously
Adi Da, Andrew Cohen and Marc Gafni.
]Ken Wilber: Would You Buy a Used Guru from This Guy?
Da Free John (Adi Da)
David C Lane wrote this critique in 1996 before
KW went on to endorse
the notoriously cruel Andrew Cohen, and then after that, Marc Gafni,
Genpo (Roshi) Merzel, etc.
This hyper-inflationary quality [If this seems a bit harsh, just read his endorsements of Da] to his work naturally makes it
difficult for more skeptically minded readers to accept his
speculations, especially when he travels into regions of the
psychic, subtle, and causal.
In part one we saw how Wilber grossly over-estimated the power and
status of Da Free John (oops, Franklin Jones, now Adi Da).
recently, after about 10 years of keeping relatively silent on the
subject, Wilber has gone public on the World Wide Web and attempted
to soften his endorsement of the Big Boy from Fiji. It is a rather
lame retraction at that, since Wilber does not acknowledge or admit
the extent to which Da is a real "fuck-up" (Wilber's words, not
mine). Indeed, Wilber just doesn't seem to "get it" about why so
many of his readers are turned off by his praise of the
one-time California guru from New York.
When it comes to guru appraisements, Wilber is just plain naive. He
is as gullible as the rest of us and given his track record with Da
perhaps more so.
What is perhaps so worrisome about all of this, of course, is that
Wilber does not show the kind of level-headed discrimination that is
necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff. It would be one
thing to admit to a bit of "greenness" (e.g., "Hey, I am a sucker
when it comes to Perfect Masters
"), but it is quite another to pose
like you are a seasoned veteran of the guru wars.
Ken Wilber's paen of praise to Rude Boy Gurus
When Wilber encountered criticism from his supporters in 2006, he wrote the
Wyatt Earpy document. [www.google.com
A humorous satire on Rude Boy Gurus
Wilber and Marc Gafni
Gafni's track record
Wilber has recently endorsed yet another guru named Trivedi
. Persons who appreciated
Wilber's earlier books have expressed concern.
Has Ken Wilber Jumped the Shark?
Wilber's Integral Institute
Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/2015 10:54PM by corboy.