Re: Mooji a cult?
Date: March 20, 2019 09:19AM
Rick Archer presents the "few bad apples" theory.
I'd like to offer an alternative point of view: that the entire endeavor of gurus and satsangs and neoadvaita and the like is flawed from the very outset.
If you view your moral principles simply as temporary formations within awareness, then you end up ignoring them.
All that's left is the acting out of the damaged id -- the traumatized infant constantly trying to fulfill its unmet needs, no matter what the consequences for those around it.
1 day ago
MukposDD, thanks for sharing. I can relate to your post very much so. Sometimes I feel so hopelessly left alone, while stepping out sham was ofcourse totally my own decision. I’m not a young person, have met enough difficulties in my life, but the feelings of leaving sham are unknown to me and overwhelming. Therefor I had one long session with a highly professional counselar with knowledge on what she calls “manipulative systems”. It was very helpfull and I will share some of her advice.
She gave a lot of insight about the dynamics of manipulative systems. One thing that was very helpfull for me is that she talks about your first and second self. Your First Self is you when you entered the community. Your Second Self is the manipulated person (‘the better you’ but in fact not the real you) you became inside the system.
About leaving she said this: be aware of the magnatizing force. There is a strong pull to go back into the system (or to find a replacement). To go back into this second self. Every time you are in contact with the system by reading about it or meeting people, this force will pull to you. It is almost unconscious and an automatic response to the system you know so well.
She adviced to avoid contact with the system as much a possible. And she also adviced to go back to the time before you were in sham. What did you like, what did you do, what were your hobbys, habits, way of life, character flaws. Look at pictures of this time. Write down memories. Do the things you liked then. Remember yourself as you were before shambhala. Take a minute or five every day to deliberately go back in time.
I broke with all my shambhala friends. Because they especially contacted me in their moments of doubt, but still staying in. It throw me in a kind of depression and feelings of exhaustion every time afterwards. But here I am, on reddit. Bringing myself in contact with shambhala again. Everyday I say to myself, today I will not go there, live one day completey without shambhala. No reddit today. And sometimes this is going well. Especially when I work. But then the weekends come or holidays. And in those days I sometimes miss shambhala, my friends, the feeling of community, the lessons. And I feel the force pulling on me, a longing on the edge of graving. It is like a rehab. And it is like Droney says: there are good days and bad days. But I also feel I’m becoming my first self more and more. That’s in the end a good thing. It is a process. Difficult, painfull and confronting.
Good luck MukposDD! And all the other readers who are in this difficult process. You are brave. You had the courage to say ‘no’ to a system that went against your (first self) sincere and authentic moral values. Keep your head up, look at the world. It is all still there!
18 hours ago
I wrote this and posted yesterday in a different thread, but I figure I'll share it here too since it pertains, and your post makes me feel less alone:
Oh yeah definitely. I mean, hundreds of people will probably stick it out for him regardless of whether or not they credit the accusers- some doing mental gymnastics supported by vajrayana dharma about gurus and goodness and the valor of forgiveness, and some just discrediting the people who have come forward. The latter make half-baked claims about the “era of metoo” going too far etc etc. I know plenty of these people. I’ve said this elsewhere: they have too much life, money, and time invested to feel like they can leave. Their identities, credentials, and families are too deeply invested in the community’s survival. I’d like to think they’re all cowards, but in truth I see many of them are just like overpowered by cognitive dissonance. They might not know anything else! Some grew up in shambhala.
But then I also think about the people for whom that was also true—life work invested, family generations involved—but who got raped or molested or abused by the guru and now find themselves bereft and abandoned. I imagine there are people who meet that description who are even STILL involved in the community and don’t know how to escape. They might lose their family, their means of survival, and all bearings in reality. The teachings schedule your daily lives, after all! The shambhala calendar scripts your year and cultural touchstones—how you mark the passage of time! If you never lived on a land center or weren’t raised in a sangha family or didn’t get through SSA, it might be hard to believe that this is how deep these things go. The teachings are meant to be the rhythm of your life. It can seem beautiful at best. I thought I would live out my life in this world, raise my kid in it, and would be cremated and scattered in the four directions of a parade ground one day. I felt so fortunate, as I was told to feel. The ole turtle in the ocean parable yadda yadda.
So to understand the degree to which the leadership has committed absolute treason against hopeful, willing, vulnerable people, you have to imagine that they cultivated this community all the while knowing—at least some of them—how rotten it was at its core. Even those who didn’t know of all the sexual abuse knew, to some extent, that they were keeping the curtain closed around the wizard of Oz, to draw upon an apt analogy. Or to use another one: they knew that the emperor wore no clothes. And they actively helped to preserve that illusion.
I acknowledge how hard it is to wake up from this illusion or dream, to admit what you suspected all along: that it’s too good to be true. As more offenses come to light, it becomes that much easier to find an excuse to pull out, but it also becomes that much more tempting for those who just don’t wanna let go to grasp at the murky sophistications of dharmic sounding language, to say “oh this is where you lean in, this is the warriorship, this is the real test of your faith in basic goodness, oh this is the mishap lineage, oh these are the purifications,” and “I mean do you even know what Tilopa/Naropa/Marpa/Milarepa did?” And watch the vacant, racist, orientalist cliches about Tibetans start to pile up to boot. It’s so predictable bc it’s so cliche.
It’s a dangerous time because (I suspect) there are more victims who haven’t come forward-likely some young ones who’ve got parents too deeply enmeshed to support them. I mean, you should HEAR the absolutely fucked up stuff that has happened even recently at Sun Camps. Levy throwing benches sounds downright quaint and lovely in comparison to what has been covered up there. And then there are the low-paid employees- all of whom are likely to lose their livelihoods. There are resentful hardliners retraumatizing people in their shambhala network posts and stupid articles and Facebook rants.
So yeah- there are enough people around that will keep this Sakyong worship going on for at least a while. The people responsible—the Greenleafs housing the royal family up in Vermont, the Hoaglands, and the other aristocratics whoever they are in Europe and CO—they are UNLIKELY to suddenly see the light at this point. We should extend support in whatever way now to the brave people who have actually lost a lot in order to shed light on what we didn’t really want to see. And we should make it hard for the aristocracy, the leaders, and the diehards to feel comfortable with their stances.
There’s no way Cutting Through gets published on Trungpa’s steam alone. So let’s think about this in relation to his published output of dozens of books, and the fact that his alcohol and drug use only increased over time, which means that his daily hours of lucidity dwindled, even as his fame and the free labour available to him increased.
Not comparing myself here, but without drinking and with no secretarial or research support, it takes me three years of almost full-time labour to finish a non-fiction book, and I’m not exactly slow. It takes Michael Ondaatje about seven years to complete a good novel.
So how did Trungpa publish? From the very beginning, he had a small army doing most of the work, which involved the careful sense-making of his students. Their job was to take the entranced group experience and make it work on the page, because it was through the page that they would attract more recruits to the group experience.
While the group looked to Trungpa for sense, the group itself made Trungpa make sense.
The notion that Trungpa carried an untouched root of medieval Tibetan Buddhism into the postmodern world is not the whole story. The notion that he was a lonely gardener of that same root is not the whole story. What’s closer to the truth — in terms of his published output — is that he was the charismatic focal point of a collaborative movement that was quickly monetizing itself.
But it goes deeper.
The manufacturing and editing process of charismatic literature is inseparable from the manufacturing and editing process of the leader’s image and the group’s self-narrative. Baker and Casper hunker down with the leader to co-produce a book that attracts people to the group. Their focus is on the message, the message, the message — but not what he’s saying so much as what they can understand, come to an agreement about, concerning what they need, or want. They edit out the nonsense, and focus on what the finished page will look like.
Meanwhile, a larger circle is telling a story about the leader and his inner circle — including people like Baker and Casper. That ring is faithful, they’re tuned in, they’re recording the messages coming from the inside with perfect fidelity. What gets left out is the alcohol, the cocaine, the sex with countless students.