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This person dodged a bullet - they fact checked
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 13, 2018 04:37AM

Disturbing Experience: Was looking for a meditation class...but think i ended up at a Cult recruitment event

[www.mentalhealthforum.net]

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I’m trying to work on my social anxiety now so I’m looking for things to do in my spare time. This led me to do an internet search for meditation classes in my city. I found an advert for free weekly meditation classes run by a charity. I thought it looked great and went long to the class last week.

It was so disturbing. This is what happened:

There were about 25 people there. Half of them ‘new’ like me and half of them experienced. First they played some very relaxing music and then we were given a talk about the meditation. They showed a diagram of energy centres in the body. They talked about an energy at the base of the spine which can be released via meditation. Apparently during the meditation the energy rises through the body and bursts out of your skull. Apparently this causes a cool breeze over your head and you reach a state of ‘self-realisation’.

Apparently a lady, they refer to as the divine ‘Mother’ came up with this idea. She spent her life providing the free meditation around the world, because she is such a good person. She died a few years ago. They said it was not a religious thing.

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Then one of the women led us into a guided meditation. There was a photo of ‘mother’ at the front of the room. There was also a candle and burning incense. We were told to always meditate in front of ‘Mother’s’ picture. For the meditation we had to put one hand on the lap with open palms towards mother’s picture. The other hand we had to move to various parts of the body during the meditation while the woman doing the meditation was saying things like “Mother the spirit is within me” “Mother allow me to forgive myself”. I felt a bit uncomfortable but I totally went along with it….hoping to achieve the state of self-realisation. I actually believed that my energy would burst through my skull and I would feel the cool breeze on my head.

When she finished we had to keep our eyes closed and listen to more of the relaxing music.

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At the end of the session, one of the experienced members came to talk to me. She told me how wonderful the practice was and how it had saved her from her drug addiction. She asked me questions about myself….like she was looking for my vulnerabilities. She insisted I took a photo of ‘Mother’ home with me and told me to meditate to it twice a day. And gave me written instructions about how to do the meditations. She said that if I go next week she will bring some incense sticks as a gift for me.

The whole thing seemed a bit strange. When I got home I wanted to throw the photo and instructions in the bin but I felt like something bad would happen to me if I did. I googled it and found out that this organisation is alledgedly a religious cult – disguised as a meditation group. They offer ‘free meditation classes’ to recruit new members. I have read alot about the beliefs of the orgnisation, and how they hide these beliefs from new members until they are hooked into it.

I have done a bit more reading about cults and I believe the whole meditation thing was a form of hypnosis. I can’t understand why I went along with it. I believe I was hypnotised. I feel a bit exploited that they managed to get me to go along with it. Also, angry that they are trying to prey on vulnerable people. What they do in these classes is very powerful and I can definitely see how people will be drawn in to it. They are advertising this free meditation all around the UK. I’m worried for other people that might get drawn in to it. And I’m upset for myself but also, glad that I wont be going back there. I'd like to write the name of the organisation on here, to warn others....but I have read reports on the internet that they can be violent to people who challenge their beliefs. I'm scared!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2018 09:44AM by corboy.

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Run a background check on any free introductory spiritual event
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 24, 2018 09:49PM

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Many students’ first encounters are casual: They spot a free or almost-free event with a title such as “Tired of Swiping Left? Let’s Talk Real Intimacy!” or “You Do Yoga. You Meditate. Now try #OrgasmicMeditation.”

At that event, OneTaste staffers tell them about the $199 Introduction to OM class. While attendees are no longer invited to try OMing during the intro class, it still features a live OM demonstration between staffers, right before lunch. The way to learn more, the intro students hear, is to take more classes.

Currently, students pay $499 for a weekend course, $4,000 for a retreat, $12,000 for the coaching program, and $16,000 for an “intensive.” In 2014, OneTaste started selling a yearlong $60,000 membership, which lets buyers take all the courses they want and sit in the front row. Staff also encourage students to repeat courses, telling them the experience changes as they progress. OneTaste says about 1,400 people have taken its coaching program, 6,500 have come to an intro class, and more than 14,000 have signed up for online courses and its app.

Some students take a course or two and drop off. But often, those with a core yearning—to overcome anxiety or resolve a sexual trauma, for example—are drawn in deeper. Volunteering at events can lead them to come work for the company full time, usually in sales. Former staffers say they were trained to target young, beautiful women and awkward, wealthy tech guys. They set up booths at life hacking conferences and Daybreaker early-morning dance parties, serving coffee in shirts bearing slogans such as “The Pussy Knows” and asking passersby, “How’s your orgasm?”

At OneTaste events, attendees often played communication games prompting them to share vulnerable stories.

Former staffers say they took notes that might help them sell later—maybe a student was recently divorced and lonely—and senior staff assigned subordinates to home in on wealthy students who seemed attracted to them or had experiences in common. They also say female employees were told to wear lipstick, heels, and short black skirts.

For the entire, very informative article about One Taste, go here:

[www.culteducation.com]

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Re: 'Free Meditation'..might be a front for Frederick Lenz Rama Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 24, 2018 09:52PM

How it starts:

[www.culteducation.com]


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At age 28, Michal had been in a few long-term relationships, but she always felt self-conscious about her body and about asking for what she wanted during sex. She’d also never had an orgasm. So even though she thought OM sounded weird, she went to a free OneTaste event one evening in late 2014 to see if it could help. She chatted with staffers who seemed open, ate the right food, and did yoga every day. Unhappy in her job as a teacher’s assistant in a Jewish school, she started attending regular OM gatherings in New York and responded to the open flirting from the men she met there. “This thing seemed to offer friends, potential mates,” she says. “Also, I was on this whole high where there were so many men interested in me. It was weird to feel that power.”

OneTaste quickly swallowed Michal’s life. She quit her teaching job, gave her dog to her parents, and moved into a crowded OM house in Brooklyn to sell OneTaste classes. OMing did allow her to reach orgasm, but only rarely. Instead, the draw gradually became more about community and purpose. A few months in, she wanted to sign up for the coaching program but didn’t have enough money. When she went to talk to Cherwitz about it, Cherwitz took out her laptop and helped her apply for a new credit card. Michal had never been in debt before. Her parents were worried, but “I was so swept in by that point,” she says. “I wouldn’t listen to anything that said, ‘Wait, take a moment.’ ”

Life at the OM house was relentlessly scheduled. Every morning at around 7 a.m., staff convened for two rounds of OM, switching partners midway. Then came an AA-inspired “fear inventory,” writing out and sharing their worries with a partner. Former staffers say they were encouraged to report to management if they heard others express doubts about OneTaste. They all went to Bikram yoga, cooked, cleaned, then spent several hours making sales calls around a table, tracking their progress with Salesforce.com. After an afternoon round of OM, they left to run the evening’s public session.

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Re: 'Free Meditation'..might be a front for Frederick Lenz Rama Cult
Posted by: Shmarl ()
Date: June 30, 2018 12:37AM

I get daily emails of Buddhist teachings from Tricycle.com and often see banner ads for the "teachings" of Frederick Lenz (Rama). When accessing their site right now on a regular computer (not a mobile device), I'm not seeing Lenz ads.

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Re: 'Free Meditation'..might be a front for Frederick Lenz Rama Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 30, 2018 07:11AM

[www.portlandbuddhistfestival.com]

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15th Annual Buddhist Festival in the Park
June 2, 2018
11 am to 4:30 pm
Colonel Summers Park
SE 17th and Taylor St, Portland, Oregon

Contact bpfportland@yahoo.com for more information.

Coming years: June 1, 2019; June 6, 2020.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Letter to Tricycle
Dear Tricycle, Tricycle board members, and CYM Coordinator,

The Portland, Oregon collection of Buddhist communities is withdrawing from Change Your Mind Day, and we would like to explain why. Please remove Portland, Oregon's link from your CYMD web page.

Last year you began accepting money from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation. The original organizers kept that connection low-key, since they had reservations over the founder of that organization. It has come to our attention that this year a significant number of American Zen teachers requested you sever the connection to the F. P. Lenz Foundation, and you refused, citing the need for the money given.

We in Portland find we cannot ignore the dubious roots of this foundation, nor do we feel it appropriate to lend legitimacy to such an organization by associating with it. There are other ways to find money, and the damage done to the Dharma and to Buddhism in America is not worth it. Frederick P. Lenz, otherwise known as "Zen Master Rama," was neither a Zen master nor a trustworthy teacher.

We have a vital Buddhist community in Portland, and we would like to be a vital part of the national collective community. Here in the Northwest, we have a regional identity and collective that grows yearly. We appreciate the intention and effort that you have put into creating a nationwide opportunity to celebrate and teach about Buddhism. We recognize there are many paths to the dharma, but we must also take care with the dharma.

Respectfully,

Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Portland Chapter
(3 individuals signed)
Portland Insight Meditation Community
Rev. Jundo Gregory Gibbs, Oregon Buddhist Temple (established 1903)
Kyogen Carlson, Abbot of Dharma Rain Zen Center
Terri Luoto, member NW Dharma Association
Peggy Lindquist, member Portland Community of Mindful Living
Suzan Hilton, Dzogchen Institute, Portland Chapter
Posted by BPF Portland at Thursday, March 30, 2006

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Re: 'Free Meditation'..might be a front for Frederick Lenz Rama Cult
Posted by: DharmaLion2003 ()
Date: July 06, 2018 06:23AM

Just to give a bit more information about what I recall from the group between about 1992 - 1998--since the press coverage doesn't tend to focus too much on that period. I suspect that any new recruiting drive will/is being modeled closely on what happened back in that era so it might be good for people to know what happened in that earlier era so they know what to avoid if they see a similar pattern cropping up today:

By late 1991/early 1992 the Lenz group had shrunk to about 200 disciples/students from a peak of over 1,000. There are a number of reasons why the group was on the wane: bad press convincing some members to drop out; exponentially increasing "tuition" fees forcing some members out because they couldn't keep up; abuse including sexual abuse of students causing them to leave; slow recruiting of new members; frequent moves from city to city which some disciples didn't want to make; and Lenz himself would frequently kick people out in droves for reasons known only to him. In early 1992, therefore, Lenz decided it was time to reinforce his numbers once again and put a huge new effort into recruiting. I was one of about 600 people recruited during this effort, and it was to be his last really big recruiting effort before he died.

So in early 1992, Lenz sent his students in groups from New York (where most were then living) to about six or seven other cities in the country to start recruiting drives. These cities were deemed to be "power spots" where prospective recruits with "personal power" might live. Lenz only wanted new students with "personal power" (ie a good income or the potential to earn a good income that they would then turn over to him). I was part of the group that was recruited in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco area. Other cities that were part of the recruiting drive were Boston, Washington DC, New York, and Los Angeles and a couple of others. I believe there was also some recruiting going on in Portland OR which was especially secretive even by the usual Lenz secretive standards.

The first contact with the group was usually to see a flyer posted on a bulletin board, a telephone pole, a wall, etc. Usually whenever one flyer was posted, many would be posted, so if you happened to be in the area where Lenz students were postering, you couldn't really miss their flyers. These flyers typically advertised free meditation classes, with a variety of benefits promised such as "Career Success" or to "Empower your Life". They generally included one important restriction: you had to be between ages 18-29. The upper limit was because of an astrological belief in the Saturn return: the Saturn return (about age 29) seems to mark the astrological end of youth and the beginning of full fledged adulthood, and Lenz wanted people who were still fairly young and malleable. The minimum age was 18 because people needed to be 18 to sign contracts as they would soon be asked to do. Another factor, I strongly suspect, is that he wanted potential female recruits to be young but above the age of consent.

The flyers would never mention Lenz, although they would sometimes mention obscure organizations that would later turn out to be fronts for Lenz. They generally advertised free meditation classes at a university campus, a new age center, a community center, or something similar. If you attended the meditation class, they would generally teach meditation for a couple of hours. The classes would be led by students of Lenz--Lenz himself would never appear at these introductory classes--and they would generally not mention any connection with Lenz or, at the most, keep any connection very low key. The meditation itself was not a problem; I've always found that the meditation techniques taught by Lenz and his students to work well, with it being the associated baggage that is a problem. After each class, they would generally hand out a tape by Zazen (a band that turned out to be affiliated with Lenz) to meditate to and get everyone's contact info.

The contact info was so that they could screen people for recruiting into the Lenz organization, although they didn't explain this at the time. After each class, though, they would privately contact each person who was deemed a good potential recruit for Lenz. People they thought wouldn't fit--or who looked like they were outside the 18-29 age range--just wouldn't be contacted any further with no reason being given. However, Lenz himself traveled to each of the recruiting cities about once a month to meet with new recruits for about 1-4 nights per city per month. The people who attended the intro class who were deemed good recruits would be invited to the next meeting with Lenz himself in that city. A bit more information would be provided to those people although by no means complete disclosure.

If the new recruit was invited to and accepted the invitation to meet Lenz himself, they would find out that the meeting with Lenz would have a somewhat different format. These meetings took place at considerably more upscale locations such as dinners at the Four Seasons or Fairmont hotels. There was generally a cost associated with these dinners, although the recruiter often offered to pick up the cost the first time. There was a "the first one is free" philosophy but this got recruits used to the idea that these events wouldn't be free forever.

At the dinner or meeting with Lenz, Lenz would generally alternate between light hearted banter (he could be quite funny when he wanted to be) and intense meditation. The meditation again used the Zazen music but this time recruits would keep their eyes open and focus on Lenz. People were generally in a highly suggestible state by this point and would report things like seeing Lenz surrounded by golden light or turning into various other forms that Lenz was quick to describe as his past lives. The idea was to reinforce, under what amounted to heavy hypnosis, the idea that Lenz was something more than an ordinary human being--that he was a rare form of enlightened being with unique powers to help the potential recruits (or, it was also often added, to hurt them if they got on his bad side).

This basic monthly cycle--of public introductory sessions followed by much more intense seminars with Lenz himself--continued from early 1992 through mid 1993. Many people decided he was a charlatan and quit attending, but increasing numbers in each city found themselves regular attendees at the monthly seminars with Lenz. This was generally the honeymoon phase of the initiation process. Lenz generally (but not always) presented himself as being in a good mood at these monthly events, and pleased with his new students. After a certain period it was no longer free, but fees were kept quite modest. I also believe (but being male have no way of being 100% sure) that Lenz exercised more self discipline than usual during this period when it came to initiating sexual relationships with new female recruits. He had received considerable bad publicity in this area in the past, and I believe was smart enough to exercise enough self control to avoid any new bad publicity in this area until the recruiting drive was successfully concluded. However some of the recruiters--both male and female--did engage in sexual relations with their recruits. But I think Lenz himself was more self disciplined than usual in this area of his life during that period.

There were other signs that, despite the generally positive, euphoric mood there were some problems going on. At two separate events, police had to be called resulting in some people leaving the events in handcuffs. Lenz made light of these arrests, saying that life was wonderful but every so often you had to put the velociraptors back in their cage (this was just after the release of the original Jurassic Park).

Around mid 1993 a significant change to the pattern was introduced by Lenz. He announced that he was phasing out these monthly meetings in all cities (except New York) and if people wanted to continue to meet with him they would need to move to New York. The older students (the ones who'd been disciples from before 1992) would need to move to Chicago. By this point a lot of the recruits were hooked on Lenz. They'd been attending these monthly seminars for some time where all kinds of hypnotic suggestions were made suggesting that their future in this life and all future lives depended on Lenz. And they didn't want to give that up; plus Lenz had instilled the idea by this point that to lose contact with him would have terrible consequences.

So a lot of the new people did move to New York, although some others did drift away rather than making the New York move. Of course part of the purpose in getting people to New York was so that Lenz could distance them from their existing support networks. He had already taught us to be "inaccessible" (to hide behind voice mail and PO box numbers so no one could contact us directly) and the move to New York was the next step in all of this. By late 1993, most people who were going to make the move were in New York. The mood remained mostly positive during the early part of 1994.

However as 1994 progressed some changes were evident. For one thing the dollar cost of "tuition" for the newer students were starting to rise. We still weren't paying anything close to what the really long term members were paying, but costs were rising. Around this time Lenz, who had always pushed his students into computer programming careers, started focusing less and less on meditation and more and more on making big bucks through various software startups that he was trying to found.

The mood in the group became less innocent and more troubling around this time too. There is one factor that I believe was in play but I cannot prove. I believe around this time Lenz started sleeping more frequently with the newer female recruits, and this caused a lot of damage on various levels in the social structures within the group. Although I cannot prove this, it makes sense to me that this would have happened. The newer female recruits were now in a new city, removed from their original social support networks and now more dependent on the social support provided by the Lenz group. With these women now in a more vulnerable position, it makes sense to me--given what I know about Lenz--that he might have chosen that point to take advantage of their situation.

In any event, around this time (1994-1995) Lenz was trying to start a variety of software ventures. I got involved or tried to get involved with a number of such efforts. However none of these efforts were very successful. Lenz would often start stuff and then shut it down a few months later without giving it a chance to succeed. There was always a certain amount of money surrounding anything Lenz did, because he continued to receive large sums of "tuition" from his students and so could throw a certain amount of money at any project he wanted to generate a bit of buzz. But Lenz seemed to be limited to generating buzz, not success, for his projects. Around this time I personally began to lose interest in the whole thing. It was hard to be committed to a guy who didn't seem very committed to his own projects, and who was costing me ever increasing amounts of money. And with the reduction in focus on meditation (and the increase in focus on money) the hypnotic hold that Lenz held, at least for me personally, started to wane. So I personally took some time off from the group with my reduction in interest.

Although I was not involved directly, I am aware that a lot of focus during the 1995-1996 time frame was in trying to sell another of Lenz' software products, CS/10,000 by Client Server Connection. Lenz was starting to ramp up this sales effort just before I left. And a Lenz student made considerable efforts (unsuccessful) to sell this product to my company during this period. Sales of this CS/10,000 product were intended to make everyone in the group rich and facilitate their move to a Caribbean island to live in luxury. Instead, Lenz ended up interviewed in 1996 on NBC Dateline. The interview was an embarrassment. Lenz' students have often been accused of using fake resumes to move their careers forward. In the Dateline interview, Lenz' own resume was exposed as a fake. He claimed numerous clients among Fortune 500 companies and to have sales in the millions of dollars, but couldn't name a single client. When really pressed, he eventually mentioned Bank of America and the military as clients. When contacted, Bank of America, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force all denied having done business with Lenz. The Marines acknowledged a small purchase of $8,000--a very very modest start that was a far cry from the millions in revenue Lenz was claiming and that would be required to facilitate the move to the Caribbean that he was promising his students. Again--the interview was a big embarrassment.

It seems to me that shortly thereafter Lenz started winding down his life. Around the same time, Lenz' favorite dog Vayu died and Lenz seemed to also have trouble recovering from that. I came back to the group for some but not all of his events in 1997. By this point I'd noticed that a lot of his key people--his closest long term students--had left, whether by being kicked out or having left in disgust, I do not know. Some of his events in 1997 included trips to the Caribbean and what he called a Kalachakra empowerment, but he seemed to have lost the willpower to undertake really big projects. He recommended that his students start web based businesses, but the only effort I saw arising from that was a porn site run by some of his female students.

In Feb 1998 I saw Lenz for the last time. I recently took note of the fact that this was right during the first ever Winter Olympics to include snowboarding as a sport--another of Lenz' efforts during the 1994-1997 period were a couple of books which focused on snowboarding as a path to enlightenment. He announced in Feb 1998 that he was taking a long break from teaching--although was continuing to accept tuition payments. About seven weeks later he was dead in what was officially ruled a suicide.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2018 06:24AM by DharmaLion2003.

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Re: 'Free Meditation'..might be a front for Frederick Lenz Rama Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 28, 2018 08:54PM

One theme that comes up with Lenz related stuff is the claim that Lenz (Rama) was surrounded by "golden light".

A Lenz front group may present with a facade of Vajrayana Tantric Buddhism, martial arts, professional development and female empowerment.

And always, recruitment of persons who already have high incomes and or excellent social and professional ties in technology, engineering, finance and science.

Next step, keep you busy, provide you with a complete social life tied to the group, and slowly alienate you from your family and friends by getting you scared of losing the bliss you experience via the meditations and engineered group experiences.

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