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Re: Older thread here
Posted by: light34 ()
Date: January 17, 2020 03:03AM

Agree, he should not be devoted as it is only one way..he is not empowering people, it was healthy he would not be devoted and he would be equal to everyone.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: Horowitz ()
Date: January 17, 2020 08:05AM

a perfect article in the Guardian about Benthino Massaro: My journey into the dark, hypnotic world of a millennial guru:
[www.theguardian.com]
The author cited the Be's article a lot, similar stuff could be written about Mooji cult as well.

A vulnerable demographic:

"I spoke to several other Bentinho followers, a diverse demographic, who described a similar feeling. In moments of extreme vulnerability – after being fired, during a divorce, coming off prescription drugs – they had gone online looking for spiritual solace, and were guided by the invisible hand of YouTube’s recommendation algorithms to Bentinho. He told them that all they needed to improve their lives was to believe that their lives were good, and in front of the screen, with his unceasing affirmation, they could momentarily believe it was so.

Though they never met Bentinho, these followers were the silent engine behind his spiritual movement. They shared his content, commented on every one of his posts, and were often responsible for moderating his Facebook page. They were repaid with new spiritual content from the guru. But the joy they derived from the videos was hallucinatory, dissociative, fleeting. When they looked away from the screen, they were once again faced with the reality of their lives. So they went back online.

One woman told me that Bentinho’s teachings gave her a dopamine rush: “It made me feel manically better. It was definitely like a drug.” Another said that the videos allowed her to disconnect from her emotions. “It’s all about pretending you are in a life in which you really aren’t,” she said."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2020 08:09AM by Horowitz.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: Valma ()
Date: January 17, 2020 04:34PM

Indeed Horowitz, probably 95% of us here belonged to this "vulnerable demography" which drew us into guruland whether it be Mooji, Bentinho or another.

Myself was introduced/pressed to listen to Mr Moo's videos by a friend of mine who had many issues in life. She found him great for a while, but having found neither a lasting solution to her psychological issues nor the spiritual nourishment she was hoping to find there, she returned to her own Christian faith and community.

To tread on a spiritual path from a place of vulnerability is very risky, especially if the guru himself is in need of psychological healing. That is why i find spiritual communities so dangerous by appealing to anyone not feeling comfortable in their lives in society. It is creating a mirage of "heaven on earth" where many get lastingly trapped.

But there is a way out of course and fortunately one can regain lucidity about where one is and how one stands in life as it is.

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A reading resource
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 18, 2020 11:03PM

*(CCHOB)Classical Conditioning Hypothesis Of Brainwashing

Friends, someone posted a link to a research paper on methods used by Large Group Awareness Trainings.

IMO some of this material applies to commercial gurus who generate harm reports.

YOu can find the paper here.

Brainwashing in a Large Group Awareness Training?
The Classical Conditioning Hypothesis of Brainwashing
John Hunter - 213569345
11/9/2015

[researchspace.ukzn.ac.za]



The author of this paper used Robert J. Lifton's findings on how prisoners were converted to believe in their own guilt, confess their worthlessness and find relief by believing in their captor's doctrines.

Here is a capsule summary of the components Lifton identified as key to the throught control/re-education process, aka brainwashing

Note: Corboy's opinion is that yoga, tantra, crazy wisdom, meditation, neo advaita, spiritual seeker scene tends to encourage devaluation of of logic and reason....even before you encounter predators only too happy to exploit this.

I spent years at an ethical and honorable Zen center and did retreats at a place influenced by theravedan buddhism. Am sorry to report many loveable wise persons at both places were dabbling in material that devalued reason and fact checking. As I came to value friendships at these places, I learned that verbally expressing doubts, pointing out inconsistencies and past histories of abuse by certain teachers met with frowns and was a mood spoiler. All the bowing
reinforced hierarchy.

Quote

Crucial to the CCHOB are a number of steps. The first steps render reason defunct as a
mechanism for challenging the philosophy being indoctrinated; the next set of steps
promote general trust and elevate emotional experience as the sole mechanism for making
decisions and forming beliefs. Once this has been achieved the participant is vulnerable -
susceptible to ignoring rational defenses and uncritical of emotional experience as a source
of knowledge. The final step of the process involves triggering a powerful “experience”,
which participants associate with the principles/doctrine of the LGAT.
41
? Step 1 – Destroy the participant’s ability to reason. This is achieved through
philosophical undermining of reason as a source of knowledge, as well as through
intimidation, sleep deprivation, and attacks on the participants’ identities.
Inaccessible content and processes, like reframing and thought-terminating clichés,
which make questioning very difficult, are also used.
? Step 2 - Elevate blind trust (particularly in the trainer) to a virtue. Convince
participants that unconditional trust, in the context of the training environment,
rather than being foolish/naive/gullible, is a positive human trait.
? Step 3 – Elevate emotional experiences as evidence of the validity of a
process/doctrine. By spending a considerable period of time denigrating traditional
evidence, using selective examples to criticize science (E.g. “At one time all of the
best scientists in the world were certain that the earth was flat…”), and arguing that
one’s feelings are completely reliable, LGATs convince participants that only
experience can be trusted in their forming of new beliefs.
? Step 4 – Trigger an emotional experience paired with group’s doctrine. According to
the CCHOB LGAT participants will associate the experience with the principles of the
LGAT without processing these principles rationally.

Quote

(8) Re-education: Logical Dishonoring. Re-education begins formally with emphasis on group
study, and takes prisoners from artificially knowing the Communist doctrine, to being able
to use it and its reasoning to extend their self-abuse. Prisoners had to look at what they had
done prior to imprisonment and to find fault with it. They were convinced that their actions
were not only against Communism, but also in conflict with their own principles. Lifton
speaks about the negative identity (parts of a person of which he is not proud), and the
positive identity (parts that he likes and draws esteem from). Logical dishonouring aimed to
maximise the negative identity, and minimise the positive identity, creating a sense of
worthlessness. This stage is “the most dangerous part of thought reform” (Lifton, 1961, p.
78). Relative to the more superficial guilt previously experienced, here the prisoner
experiences deep, internalised guilt. The very essence of his being is threatened.

Quote

“… some observers have raised concerns about the authoritarian
nature of certain trainings and the potential for manipulation and harm” (Langone, 1998;
Pressman, 1993; Singer, 2003). The guilt experienced by most participants does not lead to
recognisable pathology in most participants, but this does not mean that some are not
significantly harmed.
Importantly, a certain number of participants will be seriously harmed as these stresses
precipitate a handful of psychological conditions, such as brief psychotic episodes,
posttraumatic stress disorder syndrome, a variety of dissociative disorders, relaxationinduced anxiety, and other miscellaneous reactions including phobias, cognitive
difficulties, and stress-related illnesses (Singer, 2003, p. 208).
(8) Re-education: Logical Dishonoring
Lifton (1961) states that reeducation begins informally right at the start of the process, but
that the real reeducation starts when group-study is emphasised. During the process
prisoners are made to consider everything they have done prior to imprisonment and to
find fault with every aspect of it. This process, while present in the 2010 LGAT, did not take
place to the extent that is inferred by Lifton. The general assault on identity incorporates a
great deal of abuse and blame for thinking patterns and behavior patterns of participants
before entering the training

Quote

Lifton explains that the aim of the process of re-education and logical dishonoring was to
maximise the negative identity and minimise the positive identity, with the end goal being
the greatest sense of worthlessness. Of course, a great deal of what has already been
mentioned in the sections on “Abuse” and “Assault Upon Identity” have the effect of
maximizing the negative identity. In addition to the group examples provided above,
individuals were singled out and their “stories” were re-interpreted by the guru. In my own
case the guru mocked depression. People who had experienced depression, according to
him, had the added guilt that they were just attention seekers (and that they could just
“snap out of it” if they really wanted to). Referring to prisoners during the Korean War,
Lifton describes them as feeling a deep, internalized guilt and states that the very essence of
their being was being threatened. There was, without question, an attempt by the LGAT
trainer to achieve in participants a “deep, internalized guilt” and it appeared that he was
largely successful in this endeavor. The trainer during the 2010 LGAT openly admitted that
he wanted to destroy the positive self-image participants have of themselves, and
attempted throughout the training to do exactly this.
(9) Progress and Harmony
To feel a sense of harmony the prisoner must adapt to the new environment to a greater or
lesser degree. As the prisoner adapts he starts to receive better treatment. This was seen
before the end of the first day in the 2010 LGAT. A number of participants initially
challenged the trainer, but soon learned that this led to abuse. They also learned that
providing the desired feedback, regardless of whether it made sense or not, was met with
praise from the trainer and applause from the group.
“As mentioned in the rules any questions required your hand to be raised and if anyone
shared anything then everyone had to applaud. The facilitator repeated this gravely:
‘Everyone is to applaud’” (Field Notes, 136-138).

Corboy: In Moo's case, everyone is to laugh.

Quote

What followed was a new understanding of the word “trust”. The trainer asked us when
we should trust someone, so one of the participants replied “When you’ve known them
for a while?” He explained condescendingly that this was wrong because you could never
know just how long you’d have to know someone before they were trustworthy. I
suggested that you trust someone when they’d demonstrated that they were trustworthy – that you should use your judgment. This, I was told, was equally wrong because
– according to the facilitator- you would never trust someone based on this. You would
always want them to jump through higher and higher “trust hoops” in order to satisfy
you. I told him – quite correctly – that what he’d said made no sense, but he angrily cut
me off, told me he didn’t care what I thought and asked if there were any other
questions. As you might be able to imagine, real questions became scarce. Questions that
sought to understand what he wanted us to understand remained, however. He went on
to explain that trust is something that comes from within – YOU make the decision to
trust. I put up my hand – “Surely that trust has to be based on something…” He cut me
off… (Field Notes, 185-198).
A similar exchange took place in the Lifespring training, as explained by Haaken and Adams
(1983):
An example of this type of interaction occurred on the first evening after the "Trust"
exercise. Instructions for this exercise were as follows: Participants were to mingle, and
when eye contact was made with other participants, one of four comments was allowed:
"I trust you ", "I don't trust you," "I don't know if I trust you,"" or "I don't care to say if I
trust you." The participants were then to move on to the next person without further
comment. After regrouping following the exercise, one participant challenged the implicit
reasoning behind the exercise; as the exchange below indicates, his reaction was
dismissed without legitimizing the rationality of the question that he raised.
99
JAMES: I'm not sure what this had to do with real trust. I mean, it's not an all or nothing
thing-like "I trust you" or "I don't trust you." I would trust someone with my car before I
would trust them with my child, depending on how well I knew the person.
TRAINER: Are you willing to consider the possibility that you don't know what trust really
means?
JAMES: (Appearing confused and hesitating) Yes.
TRAINER: Thank you. You may sit down. (Audience applause).
The trainer used a variety of techniques to neutralize comments which challenged or
qualified the point being made and maintained sufficient control over audience
responses to assure that defiance and critical thinking were not publicly rewarded
(Haaken & Adams, 1983).
This specific elevation of blind trust to a virtue is fundamental to the CCHOB. In fact, Step 2
of the CCHOB is “Elevate blind trust in the trainer to a virtue. Convince participants that
unconditional trust in the context of the training environment, rather than being
foolish/naive/gullible, is a positive human trait”. In summary Haaken and Adams explain
that participants must adapt to the “logic” of the environment to fit in and avoid
harassment:
Participants who offered critical comments or who suggested a different way of
conceptualizing a problem had their statements dismissed, were subjected to ridicule or
were confused with paradoxical logic. The "dissenter" was generally maneuvered into
some form of compliance before being permitted to sit down and receive the applause
(Haaken & Adams, 1983



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2020 11:14PM by corboy.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: Sahara71 ()
Date: January 19, 2020 04:45AM

That's a great resource, Corboy.

I wish I had time to read the whole research paper. This quote did strike me as important to the process of brainwashing or "coercive mind control" as it operates in Moo's compound-

Quote:
"Step 1 – Destroy the participant’s ability to reason. This is achieved through
philosophical undermining of reason as a source of knowledge, as well as through intimidation, sleep deprivation, and attacks on the participants’ identities.
Inaccessible content and processes, like reframing and thought-terminating clichés, which make questioning very difficult, are also used."

Let's leave out the sleep deprivation and intimidation for now, and focus on the "thought-terminating cliches" - which abound in Moo's confusing teachings. I refer to this video clip of Julie, from the official Moo website.

[mooji.org]

Julie has become attached to a line Mooji uses; "If you can perceive it, its not you" Julie uses this idea in order to dissociate from her grief at the loss of her father. She decides that her grief is not really part of her and so then she doesn't need to feel it. Grief is superfluous and can be done away with.

The problem with this (other than it being an example of emotional by-passing in the extreme) is that in order for Moo's statement to be correct, across the board, then the statement must also apply to the 'pure self' or 'bliss' or the 'recognition of God within' or whatever else they are calling it these days. (I notice that they are shying away from calling it enlightenment - is the word 'enlightenment' too contentious for them?)

So: if you can perceive the Pure Self, then it isn't you. The very thing you are supposed to be 'aware' of in Satsung is not you, otherwise you would not be perceiving it. Your awareness can never be your awareness or else you wouldn't be aware. Can you see the confusion and hypocrisy here?

Moo's teaching creates a double bind. If it were true, then it can't be true and the whole teaching collapses in on itself. The resulting confusion causes dissociation, a denial of rational thinking and possibly an identity crisis in the participant. It could also precipitate some kind of break-down or psychosis in susceptible people, a point which the research paper makes clear-

Quote:
"Importantly, a certain number of participants will be seriously harmed as these stresses precipitate a handful of psychological conditions, such as brief psychotic episodes, post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome, a variety of dissociative disorders, relaxation induced anxiety, and other miscellaneous reactions including phobias, cognitive difficulties, and stress-related illnesses (Singer, 2003, p. 208).

I, myself, experienced mild cognitive issues, mild dissociation, confusion and kind of fuzzy euphoria from Moo's teachings! I would like to stress that in a group situation, it is going to be very likely that a participant going though these cognitive changes would be pressed to believe that they were having some kind of 'awakening' experience.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: January 19, 2020 06:36PM

Quote
Sahara71
So: if you can perceive the Pure Self, then it isn't you. The very thing you are supposed to be 'aware' of in Satsung is not you, otherwise you would not be perceiving it.

You're so right, Sahara71! That teaching ("Neti neti", see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_neti) should be considered only as a tool, and definitely not as truth, although unfortunately it often seems to be used that way.

In human experience, the interpretation process divides experience into parts, some of which are identified with. But the undivided pre-interpretation state of experience doesn't really disappear, it just tends to go unnoticed, like the screen you're reading from tends to go unnoticed when you read the letters it shows you.

We tend to lose touch with the nondual, uninterpreted aspect of experience and we limit ourselves to a small part of divided reality by our process of identification with parts. This loss of wholeness instills a general feeling of lack or unsatisfactoriness in life (called "dukkha" in Buddhism).

To be free from dukkha, we only have to re-cognize the wholeness/nonduality of experience that's already present. One of the ways to approach that is to first examine the validity of our identification.

Nondual experience knows neither self nor non-self, neither subject nor object. When the "neti neti" teaching is confused for truth, disidentification from the ego may happen to some extent, but a new delusional identification with an illusive formless observer is created. This is still duality, but with a newly drawn boundary. The boundary is now between consciousness and maya, between formlessness and form. When used as a tactic for dissociation, the "neti neti" teaching will likely leave you stuck in this new duality Maybe that's where Mooji is. It certainly seems to be where some of his students are.

As an aside: as noted, experience prior to interpretation is nondual. From the dual perspective (having made the division between experiencer and reality), we wonder: what about reality itself? Is that nondual? That question only makes sense from the dual perspective. But it's interesting to me that science may be on its way to finding that reality itself is nondual; see this Wikipedia entry for "Universal wavefunction": [en.wikipedia.org]
Sean Carroll explains the universal wavefunction in this lecture: [www.youtube.com]

Whether you describe the nondual perspective as "all is self" (as Advaita Vedanta does), or as "all is empty of self" (as Buddhism does), I think it means the same thing. Since nonduality is more fundamental than both self and no-self, both descriptions are equally correct and incorrect. Lately I find the Buddhist description more useful, but that's me.

German philosopher Thomas Metzinger evidently also has a clear preference for the no-self description. He has extensively explored the illusory nature of the (ego-)self, in cooperation with neuroscientists.

From the introduction of his book The Ego Tunnel — The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self:

Quote

But it is not just that the modern philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience together are about to shatter the myth of the self. It has now become clear that we will never solve the philosophical puzzle of consciousness—that is, how it can arise in the brain, which is a purely physical object—if we don’t come to terms with this simple proposition: that to the best of our current knowledge there is no thing, no indivisible entity, that is us, neither in the brain nor in some metaphysical realm beyond this world.

Here's an interesting discussion in the Buddhism subreddit about the difference between dissociation and enlightenment: [www.reddit.com]

I think this post by abhayakara is a good explanation:
Quote

Psychological dissociation is a distancing from that which is real. The process of awakening is just the opposite. When pain arises, our inborn tendency is to feel aversion: a wish that the pain go away. And so rather than being with the pain, we are with the aversion. And the aversion gives rise to suffering. Dissociation is another step along that path: we distance ourselves so successfully from the pain we are feeling that it begins not to bother us as much, but the cost is that we've distanced ourselves from the totality of our existence.

Awakening attacks the problem at its root: aversion. We feel the pain, but when the aversion tries to arise, we move our mind back to the pain, and accept that it is present. This stops the aversion from arising, rather than simply distancing us from the suffering the aversion brings. Because the aversion doesn't arise, the pain doesn't disturb our mind, and does not give rise to suffering. So the state of the mind is now independent of the presence of sources of pain and pleasure appearing to us in our lives, while still being fully present in the experiences of pain and pleasure that arise.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: Sahara71 ()
Date: January 21, 2020 05:20AM

Today I am at peace. :)
I notice that the Mooji Wikipedia page has instigated a special section entitled-

"Response to Cult Allegations"

[en.wikipedia.org] - Response_to_Allegations

It's important that they are not just calling them "allegations", but they are being quite particular, calling them "Cult Allegations". I think this is very significant, as anyone who was previously ignorant of this discussion on Cult Ed will now be enticed to look for it and to read more.

The Mooji Show has inadvertently told people exactly what they are. They are a cult. They even have a link in the Wiki reference section to their farcical "Open Letter from Sahaja" that claims they have made plenty of mistakes and alludes to Old Moo sleeping with his students. This link needs to be much more prominent!

If only this information had been so blatantly easy to find when I first started watching Moo online, then I would have been saved a lot of heartache!

Never had it been so easy to find out exactly what is wrong with this group - they are making it so simple for everyone.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: January 21, 2020 05:34AM

I'm happy that you're at peace, Sahara :)

Regarding my previous post: I regret writing so definitively about stuff I have no business writing about. Today I already disagree again with some of what I wrote yesterday. I won't expand on that because tomorrow I'd probably regret it. It would be great if someone could give an insightful analysis of Mooji's teachings; I sure can't.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: Sahara71 ()
Date: January 21, 2020 06:49AM

Dear Zizlz,

as far as I can gather with my extensive research, Moo's teachings do not align with Advaita Vedanta. However, one would need to be a Advaita scholar of considerable talent and experience to make an accurate analysis of Moo's gibberish. At this point in time, honestly, who would bother?

No serious scholar would waste the time! As far as I have been able to gather, Moo bases a lot of his teaching style (if not content) on the work of the very dubious cult leader Osho. The actual content is more in line with Ramana's 'self-inquiry' teachings - but I stress that self-inquiry is only one part of traditional Advaita Vedanta.

A good Youtube clip which I found helpful in understanding the pitfalls of Advaita was this one (which I've shared before):

[youtube.com]

Another resource which is helpful is the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

[iep.utm.edu]

Just personally, I think the practice of 'self-inquiry' may be somewhat useful, as per Ramana Maharshi, but taken out of context and practiced without any knowledge of Advaita Vedanta, without any kind of ethical framework and without a respect for it's cultural and religious history, then I think it's kinda pointless.

This is perhaps a bit like a cultural Buddhist who grew up in Thailand and doesn't speak English or know who Jesus Christ was, or have any knowledge of the crucifixion, then saying "The Lord's Prayer" when they need some guidance! What is the point? (that's probably a clumsy metaphor, but I hope you catch my drift.)

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 21, 2020 09:03AM

Re Moo and the Rajneesh/Osho people:

There's a group named Royal Way with its own CEI discussion.

Michael Gottleib, its deceased leader, was greatly influenced by Rajneesh aka Osho.

Here is a page from that discussion. It gives citations for many articles about Rajneesh and many references to his trance techniques. A survivor gives a horrifying description of being attacked and beaten in a Rajneesh ashram encounter group.

Here is the URL

[forum.culteducation.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2020 11:20PM by corboy.

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