TAT Foundation & Self-Inquiry Group
Posted by: sputnik25 ()
Date: March 31, 2006 12:16AM

I would like some outside opinions on how these groups are perceived.
#1. www.tatfoundation.org
#2. www.selfdiscoveryportal.com

I have been attending meetings with the Self-Inquiry Group which is inquiry that Ramana Maharshi used. Some close friends and family of mine think that I am involved in a cult. Do these groups show any major cult like qualities? Please expand on your answer so that I may understand. This is not going to be a post in which I defend my actions or mental biases but I do want honest and sincere viewpoints expressed on these groups.
I have read the report on Rickross.com about the TAT foundation a few times. The method of confrontation using questioning of ones beliefs is still used by the group. The aim is not to replace the belief of the individual with some other belief but to have them question it for themself. The group has stayed very true to that idea. Augie Turak is not looked down upon by thoughs who have met him but he is also not reviered.

Thank you for your time and feel welcome to instant message me on AOL under "SyphenQ3A".

PS. For what it's worth here are my perceptions of the group:

Encouraged reading of the group:
Works by modern spiritual gurus, IE: Richard Rose, Jiddu Kristnamurti, Douglas Harding (Still alive), Franklin Merrell-Wolff
The Perrenial Philosphy - Aldous Huxley
The Conquest of Illusion - JJ Vanderlu
Robert S Deropp - The Master Game
Nisargadatta Maharaj
Bernadette Roberts
Hubert Benoit
Zen and Chan masters

There is no membership to the group nor fee involved in attending.

There is no encouraged activity of the group. Although most that attend meetings partake in meditation (not transicendental). Celibacy is also important with the men.

Dogma and forcing of beliefs upon another is not tolerated.

Richard Rose is not taken to be the end all be all for answers to spiritual issues by the group. His connection is that he was the guru to Art Ticknor who runs the meetins in Pittsburgh. Rose is mentioned on occation and his books are sold for about ten bucks to thoughs who are interested. I've never seen someone say "Buy this book!".

A very interesting note on the whole group is that Richard Rose outlined a way to decide if a group is a cult or not. It's faily in depth and contains much of what everyone else has to say on cults.

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TAT Foundation & Self-Inquiry Group
Posted by: Gulab Jamon ()
Date: March 31, 2006 11:16PM

This sounds very similar to the Advaita spiritual path that I was on. It also uses self-inquiry as the main technique. Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti and Nisargadatta Maharaj are names that often come up in Advaita circles.

While I don't think the teachings themselves are bad, I think that people do tend to fall into the trap of worshipping the teachers like gurus, because many people come to Advaita via a guru path and are former devotees of gurus who required abject devotion.

I think the self-inquiry technique can be very helpful. However, I also think there is a danger of people with mental and emotional problems using this technique on themselves instead of conventional psychotherapy, rather than as a complement to it. To rely only upon this technique can do more harm than good, IMO.

(edited for spelling)

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Re: TAT Foundation & Self-Inquiry Group
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: October 15, 2010 11:20PM

Just because there aren't any extensive messages about this group on this forum doesn't mean that it isn't a cult.
The answer is in your heart. I think the ultimate question is: Are you giving away your own personal power to someone else? Are your actions your own or are you being influenced by someone else? If you are then this is never a good sign.

This list is always an excellent checklist to use if you look at it honestly:

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader:

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

9. The group/leader is always right.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

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Re: TAT Foundation & Self-Inquiry Group
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 15, 2010 11:40PM


The method of confrontation using questioning of ones beliefs is still used by the group. The aim is not to replace the belief of the individual with some other belief but to have them question it for themself.

This can leave people feeling shaken up. And there is a power imbalance between the person doing the questioning and the person responding to the questions. If used improperly, this can destablize people and make them feel dependent upon the questioner.

"Celibacy is also important with the men'

Is celibacy a source of status? Are the fellows expacted to go without in the hope that someday it will all be worthwhile? Thats a recipe for oppression, IMO

Two, who sets the guidelines/expectations about celibacy?

It is interesting that you state that 'celibacy is also important with the men'. Is there a different set of sexual guidelines for women? Who set those guidelines?

If the fellows are encouraged to put a premium on celibacy, what happens to their partners if the partner doesnt like being celibate?

One person who was in a totally different group said that it can be a real source of trouble if the men are expected to be celibate, the women are not, and the leader (male) is allowed to be the only sexual alpha male in the group. This can cause the celibate men to become passive. Jealousy and frustration can be easily turned upon oneself rather than, more productively, asking 'Who is benefitting from telling ME
that celibacy confers more benefits than being sexually active with a consenting partner."

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