But you know, even the longest established Buddhist sects in Japan practice somewhat similar things, paying a lot of money to venerate and perhaps placate ancestors. The other day I was walking through a cemetery with a Japanese friend and she explained how the kanji (chinese ideograms) on the central stone in a kind of family plot contained a posthumous name that is paid for, the longer the name, the more money involved, and the higher destination after death. All Buddhist sects, as far as I know, involve performing memorial ceremonies for people who have died, after 49 days, a year, 3 years, 7 years and so on, don't know the detail, where again huge amounts of money are paid to get monks to chant sutras for the posthumous wellbeing of the person. They don't use fear of haunting (well, maybe they do indirectly or directly) but it is still such a long way from the Buddha's teaching. I'm sure there are very corrupt practices in Theravadan countries as well, I've heard of the sale of magical amulets in Thailand, I'm sure there are memorial ceremonies paid for as well, and we know how people buy merit. Anyways, this particular sect can be called a cult on the basis of having a charismatic founder who rakes it in personally, but the fact that he is able to do so is an indication that he is able to build on the corruption already present in Buddhism in Japan and elsewhere, I guess.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)