Buddhist cults?

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Buddhist cults?

Postby curious_buddhist » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:40 am

Hi everyone

I'm new to this forum, but don't know where else I can turn to regarding this issue I want to raise. Does anybody here have experience of the Pathgate Institute of Buddhist Studies in Newcastle, UK?

I ask because I took refuge with the teacher there, Lama Dondrup Dorje, several years ago, and only recently have begun coming across many suggestions and reports that the Institute is not genuine, that Rinpoche hasn't been ordained, that students are brainwashed, even that our root guru Penor Rinpoche of the Nyingma tradition had once labelled Lama Dondrup as a liar. Saying these things come quite difficult to me as I've been taught to show utmost respect and faith in my teacher, and to not show disrespect to my tradition, but as Buddha taught to investigate fully our experience and especially the qualifications of our Dhamma teachers, I feel I need to raise this and see from others with more experience in practicing Dhamma whether my concerns are valid. Certain things I've experienced have left me feeling unsettled about the whole deal and seem to contradict my understanding of Buddhism, which have included:

- being verbally abused and told that we know absolutely nothing in comparison to the teacher (in the exact words, you know 0.00000000001% of what I know) - it seems all the students believe being yelled at and put down is good for them, it cuts away their egos
- everything we've ever done in life is wrong
- that we shouldn't read any books on Dhamma because whoever wrote them doesn't know what they're talking about, and that even when we listen to his verbal teachings we have no clue what he is talking about
- that we should be compassionate toward but avoid any meaningful relationship with anyone who hasn't taken refuge, including our friends and family
- I've even been out drinking with Lama Dondrup, which I thought was to relax my 'fixation' on abstaining from alcohol
- I've been made to feel guilty and ashamed to tell my partner my feelings toward them because that's 'attachment' and that my love isn't real

My biggest concern in all of this is my partner. She has paid over $10,000 to go to a two month summer retreat there. In the time she's gotten more and more involved, I've seen her gradually cut off all her old friends, she's begun to treat her family very badly and distance herself from them, believes she doesn't have to work anymore and that the universe will provide all she needs, and that she has to give up everything she once loved because, to begin with, all her goals and wishes were 'wrong in the first place'.

So please, any feedback or advice on what I've raised will be really appreciated.

Thank you
Lord Buddha: Sariputta, do you believe this teaching
Sariputta: No, I don't yet believe it
Lord Buddha: Good, good, Sariputta. A wise person doesn't readily believe, he should consider first before believing
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:44 am

Since this is supposed to be a Vajrayana (Tibetan) lineage, you'd find many more knowledgeable people over at dharmawheel.net

Good luck!!!
_/|\_
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:47 am

Hi curious_buddhist
You may wish to ask this question on a site dedicated to the Mahayana & Vajrayana
Try our sister site http://www.dharmawheel.net/

I do not know of any organisations in your area you can turn to for information but you may want to speak to another group or a larger group this teacher is associated with.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby curious_buddhist » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:49 am

Thank you. I've just posted it at dharmawheel...
Lord Buddha: Sariputta, do you believe this teaching
Sariputta: No, I don't yet believe it
Lord Buddha: Good, good, Sariputta. A wise person doesn't readily believe, he should consider first before believing
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:01 am

Good luck with all of that.
If what you say is true, it appears to be classic cultist behaviour.
Best to take Dan and Cittasanto's advice and seek advice and support from the wider Vajrayana community.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:11 am

A retreat in the UK was paid for in dollars?
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:16 am

Retreat costs shouldn't be more than about £30 a day, so for a two month retreat (60 days), a donation of £1,800 should be adequate. I don't know the exchange rate, but that's surely less than $3,000, so £10,000 is extortionate.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Alobha » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:38 am

Oh. It's this Dondrup Dorje? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJr2BdUTYkU

Your concerns are very, very valid.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:28 pm

I would highly, highly recommend that you avoid any teacher who acts in the way described, or charges more than the bare minimum (or better, not at all) for retreats. Please inquire more deeply in the sister forum, but as for a simple common-sense approach, I would absolutely say that this is not healthy or venerable behavior.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:40 pm

Alobha wrote:Oh. It's this Dondrup Dorje? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJr2BdUTYkU

Your concerns are very, very valid.


Cut from the same cloth:

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:35 pm

Alobha wrote:Oh. It's this Dondrup Dorje? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJr2BdUTYkU

Your concerns are very, very valid.

wasn't there a similarly silly video a while ago?
one of the men in that video is jumping and looking like one in that one
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Durt_Dawg » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:44 pm

In the Dharma Ending Age, fake and and evil teachers will be as numerous as sands in the Ganges River! :cry:
Lets b fwendssss!!!!
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby santa100 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:56 pm

More videos about this Dr. Yeung (he definitely wasn't a Lama back in 1992 as in one of the videos)..

http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2011/07/ ... strations/
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby curious_buddhist » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:36 am

Thanks again for so many responses. I've gone to the Palyul Nyingma international website and there's absolutely no reference to this institute on their authorised centres page. I've sent them an email requesting clarification on whether this centre has been directly authorised by HH Penor Rinpoche, the deceased head of the Nyingma tradition.

It's funny but the Pathhgate website says that it is a member of the Palyul International Sangha, yet all the links on their website to the international sangha and regional centres go to sites that have been setup by Pathgate themselves, not to the Palyul Nyingma sites operated by HH Penor Rinpoche's foundation and his authorised teachers.

The charge was 495 pounds per week, which equated to about $1000. I've been told this is for about 4 hours of teaching a day. This is in stark contrast to the authorised Palyul Centre UK's charges (suggested donation) of 5 - 10 pounds for their hour and a half long dhamma talks. The 495 pounds does not include accommodation.

http://www.pathgate.org/pi_Summer_Retreat2012_03.html

I don't know, the more I read objectively into this the more my concerns grow.
Lord Buddha: Sariputta, do you believe this teaching
Sariputta: No, I don't yet believe it
Lord Buddha: Good, good, Sariputta. A wise person doesn't readily believe, he should consider first before believing
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:49 am

curious_buddhist wrote:Thanks again for so many responses. I've gone to the Palyul Nyingma international website and there's absolutely no reference to this institute on their authorised centres page. I've sent them an email requesting clarification on whether this centre has been directly authorised by HH Penor Rinpoche, the deceased head of the Nyingma tradition.

It's funny but the Pathhgate website says that it is a member of the Palyul International Sangha, yet all the links on their website to the international sangha and regional centres go to sites that have been setup by Pathgate themselves, not to the Palyul Nyingma sites operated by HH Penor Rinpoche's foundation and his authorised teachers.

The charge was 495 pounds per week, which equated to about $1000. I've been told this is for about 4 hours of teaching a day. This is in stark contrast to the authorised Palyul Centre UK's charges (suggested donation) of 5 - 10 pounds for their hour and a half long dhamma talks. The 495 pounds does not include accommodation.

http://www.pathgate.org/pi_Summer_Retreat2012_03.html

I don't know, the more I read objectively into this the more my concerns grow.

You're right to be concerned. Although I have deep respect for the Tibetan tradition, the guru/student relationship that it emphasizes can oftentimes lead to abuse amongst those who do not critically examine their teachers. Please do not involve yourself with such activities and, if you worry about your partner, do your best to convince her of the wrongdoing you see.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:04 am

Cults and cult gurus are not completely bad and if you've learned some good things from this teacher, you can feel gratitude and continue using these teachings. Prime example is Osho who "borrowed" many great teachings. But their prime motive is power, so even the great teachings are often tainted. Best to leave and join perhaps a less charismatic but more sincere and upright teacher.
_/|\_
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:Cut from the same cloth:



I thought it was "Benny Hill" when I first looked. :jumping:
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:42 am

curious_buddhist wrote:The charge was 495 pounds per week, which equated to about $1000. I've been told this is for about 4 hours of teaching a day. The 495 pounds does not include accommodation.


For a UK retreat I'd expect to pay around £250 a week, including accomodation and food. So this kind of charge sounds like a complete rip-off to me.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby reflection » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:13 am

Being told to distance yourself from friends, relying more on a teacher than yourself and pay big amounts of money is in my eyes classical cultish behavior. Judging on your words, I wouldn't want to be involved with that organisation. But it doesn't matter if it's 'officially' a cult or not, if you don't feel happy with it, that should say enough already.

Now about your partner, perhaps some words by the Buddha himself can help shed some light. I don't know how I could help otherwise.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability,or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.


"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of cause & effect].'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without disparaging myself or others.'



With metta,
Reflection
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:07 pm

:goodpost:
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