Buddhist cults?

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Buddhist cults?

Postby curious_buddhist » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:48 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, and whether or not my concerns are just the product of an ignorant mind.

Thank you
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:19 am

Left
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Seishin » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:24 am

10,000??? :jawdrop: I believe this is a prime example of a Buddhist Cult. I pray your partner sees the light of day and you can both leave safely. :namaste:

Gassho,
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Seishin » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:29 am

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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:31 am

There are lots of these types of 'teachers' around. Some in Asia and some in the West. What you get from them isn't genuine dharma. What they get from you is money and bought respect from Tibetans. The things you describe make it seem very much like a cult. Sad, sad, sad. This is happening more and more.
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"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:21 pm

That first video is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.

If that is Pathgate's representation of their "Dharma," well.......
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:57 pm

There are also buddhist organizations that charge for pujas to be performed for worldly reasons and also claim that their teacher performs miracles. I guess in someway this thing has been going on for a long time in Tibet. But now with the internet and gullible spiritual seekers it has taken on a new form. The genuine dharma is so precious and actually so simple that you have to be careful of teachers who surround themselves with huge organizations and who try to develop their web presence (for example). When Tilopa was asked about teaching he said there is nothing to teach.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:59 pm

Pure Comedy Gold.
Just watched that vid again....the way those "monks" run away backwards, doing backward rolls, kicking up their legs....it's like a Monty Python sketch, or Benny Hill, or something.....
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:33 pm

CULT

Run.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Jikan » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:57 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:Say no more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJr2BdUTYkU


779,391 views on youtube as of this moment. :oops:
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby curious_buddhist » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:53 am

Thanks again for so many responses. I was hoping deep down to have my concerns nullified and that my suspicions were completely wrong. After all, I've learnt so much from this teacher, but as I look beyond the guru worship facade i'm beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable about what's going on.

I've gone to the Palyul Nyingma international website and there's absolutely no reference to this institute on their authorised centres page. Which is very strange as Rinpoche speaks so much about how close he and HH Penor Rinpoche were and of all the grand work he does / did for him. I've sent the International Association m an email requesting clarification on whether this centre has been directly authorised by HH Penor Rinpoche.

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. 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 and I'm still hoping deep down for someone to refute this with more than a reference to how many hits a ridiculous youtube video has gotten. Regardless of whether this was true (I've been in one of those workshops and it only worked when I so desperately wanted to believe that I jumped and convinced myself it was something else), didn't the Buddha prohibit Bhikkus from displaying iddhi powers in front of ordinary people due to the dangers involved - I'm sure this is in the Vinaya somewhere?
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby catmoon » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:21 am

Conebeckham does not often voice an unequivocal opinion as he has in this case. I think this adds great weight to his opinion.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:56 am

curious_buddhist wrote:didn't the Buddha prohibit Bhikkus from displaying iddhi powers in front of ordinary people due to the dangers involved - I'm sure this is in the Vinaya somewhere?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.11.0.than.html

Basically, magic powers can be faked and thus damage people's faith. So Dharma Instruction is better for monks to do than magic powers since they can't be faked.

Also, Tibetan monks don't teach martial arts.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Sherab » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:09 am

Get the hell out and don't look back.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:48 am

curious_buddhist wrote:I was hoping deep down to have my concerns nullified and that my suspicions were completely wrong. After all, I've learnt so much from this teacher


This is normal. Every cultleader gives you something. If everything he taught was pure rubbish, you never would have fallen for the guy. This is how cultish groups work. Their teachings are to a certain degree similar to the authentic teachings (though I'm not talking bout that video now), and that's why people fall for them. For a beginner it can be difficult to see the differences at first. This is also why these cultish gurus tend to isolate their students from other lineages and teachers.

If you connect with the real Palyul lineage you will never ever want to go back to that fake guy again.
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:08 am

This is the official Palyul Centres around the world.

http://palyul.org/eng_centers-list.htm#eurolist

I just can't find that centre in the list.

This kind of thing has happened in the past. It will also happening again in the future.
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I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Seishin » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:18 am

curious_buddhist wrote:The charge was 495 pounds per week, which equated to about $1000. 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.


It's extortionate! It's no wonder they don't want you to read of Dharma anywhere else. His BuddhaDharma might be good, I wouldn't know, but he's put himself up as a cult leader and made sure people feel guilty about questioning him. This is not good at all.

Look at that video I posted: the "chi masters" students would fly away at the wave of his hand. But when he went up against someone who wasn't his student, he got pummelled.

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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Blargus » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:47 am

Hi,

For what it's worth, I very recently woke up from 5 plus years of attempting to apply myself to the pathgate audio teachings from the website believing that they were from an authentic teacher. Well I did have an "enlightenment", but it was that the teacher and the teachings are not good. They had a bad effect in my life and on me and I think it could have been much worse. All the while I thought I was really on the right track. Maybe if you want a dose of cold water look up "stripping the gurus" and read the chapter on the dalai lama about "Lama?" Dondrup Dorje's guru Penor Rinpoche recognizing Steven Segal as a reincarnated enlightened being supposedly after a large donation. Apparently, this is supposedly a being that is an aware teacher and not just some random reincarnation that doesn't know who it is and consequently makes super violent movies. Also read about the other "Palyul" "lama" "Jetsunma" and her organization which has received a $200k+ donation from Pathgate. And this article lists pathgate as a:
"'maximum' on the Group Psychological Abuse Scale, characterized by absolutely indefensible misbehavior and violation of the common vows of Vajrayana Buddhism"

http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... -amok.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Anyone thinking about getting involved with this organization or taking on board the teachings learn from my hard earned "enlightenment" experience and don't do it.

Mike Swanson
Tucson, AZ
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby PemaYudron » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:54 am

Watched the video. Needed those laughs. Run away run away.
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Re: Buddhist cults?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:15 am

Blue Garuda wrote:Say no more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJr2BdUTYkU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Holy crap.

:rolling:
Peace,
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