Infinite wrote:I know many ask which Sangha is right for them but that isn't what I am after with this post. My question is are there any kind of warning signs I should be aware of when looking at Sanghas? Like is there some kind of behavior or mentality that should raise red flags about the nature of the group? I've just been curious as I have already been looking over the Sanghas in the northern part of why State for when I finally transfer to see where I would like to visit and get a feel for the place. So I figured I could ask here about anything I should be aware of or questions I should ask.
I would start off with a filter - examine Google on 'cults' and weed out ones which are universally condemned - ToS here don't permit discussion of some groups and can be a guide for you as well.
You may encounter a local group which seems fine but later find out their Guru is dodgy, so I would research the Guru well.
Having said that:
Demands for money which are unreasonable (donations to cover room hire etc. are fine).
Advice never to accept teachings from another Guru, or read any other books excep the 'approved ones'.
Pressure to conform - cults have many methods, some very sublte, which seek to sweep you along on the tide - such as attending a retreat, where pressure will increase as your number of 'friends' increases rapidly.
Advice to abandon your family, job and other responsibilities and live in the group's Centre, working for free.
Advice to give up medical treatment and rely on the Guru to cure you.
Sexual predation - it can and does happen across many Buddhist groups.
Many of the above can be innocent. For example, if they all seem to conform totally in modes of speech, seem detached from anyone outside and want to hug you all the time you may have stumbled into a wonderful group or a dangerous cult. If they mention 'assimilate' then RUN! LOL