Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby hornets » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:57 am

Wow.

Going to seishin's link makes me feel bad for how flippant my previous post comes across. I'll not delete it so you can all bask in one foolish beings ignorance.

I will stick to my main point, however- I really enjoy going to Serene Reflection Meditation and have really liked everyone I've met connected to the OBC so far.

If anyone out there is at all curious about it here is the link to OBC Connect:
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Seishin » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:00 pm

I don't think your post was foolish I think it's a valid experience you've had. :smile:

Gassho,
Seishin.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:06 pm

Many groups/traditions have their controversies, but the most important thing (to me) is: is the teaching true, deep, real, genuine and secondly, is the group real, down to earth and premised on no-harm and kindness.

Obviously when you have a group of very imperfect and WIP humans like all of us here :) there will be matters that come into play, but nothing that you can't work with, as a practitioner. That said, if the teachings are skewed, cultish and there are clear principles of harm and ill will at play, that is another matter.

You of course will have to evaluate for yourself, keep your eyes and ears open, but above all take the Dharma, the practice as your guide and there are still many good people, students, practitioners, around to help you to help us.

Best wishes,
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Christopherxx » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:50 pm

Agreed abu,

Though I think there is some responsibility for knowing how teachings are "put into" practice.

Teachings don't have to be damaging or cult like but the infrastructure and "daily life" certainly can.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby floating_abu » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:38 am

Yes, I agree, it is often in the community and practice model that you can gauge its approach, values, teaching outcomes/fruits, and the like. I sat with the OBC for a weekend retreat at Throssel Abbey many many years ago. It was compulsory before you could sit with any of their wider organisations to learn their own forms and practices. I took a multi hour train ride for this and found the monks/nuns there respectful, disciplined yet still warm. The nun was obviously exhausted afterwards. I planned to join their sitting groups further afterwards but I did not find the appropriate group and connection I guess. I never read too many of Rev Kennet's teachings, and my experience was I would consider short, superficial and elementary, therefore I cannot comment more because of this, although I became mildly aware of its controversies in recent years. I would not be in a position to say now how it is, how it is run, how it is constituted, and whether the people there now offer genuine practice and guidance. So that is why each person also has to evaluate that, but I admit it can be harder for beginners to differentiate sometimes truth or falsity. FWIW.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:56 am

Christopherxx wrote:Why is this group labeled as a cult in so many places?

Would love some insight gals and guys :)


It's not labeled as a cult in so many places.

In my experience, it's labeled as a cult in only one place,
and that's at a website run by disgruntled former members most of which left because they didn't like policy changes, or they didn't like the fact that monks are human beings who get angry and grumpy and irritated like everyone else.

There's a saying in Zen: With the ideal comes the actual.

Most of what I've seen from members of that group is people who had or have ideals of what they thought it should be, and then when confronted with what Buddhist practice actually is, that didn't fit their pre-concieved ideals, they left.

Some of them are quite bitter over that.

I've had discussions with many of them.

With some of them there's simply no reasoning with them, they've flipped from having one extreme which may have been blind idealistic adoration, and then when actuality stepped in to shatter their blindly adoring ideals, they became bitter and resentful and now are sortof the other extreme of blindly hating and being embittered toward the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.

And of course, if and when a monk were to make an actual mistake that meritoriously needed to be adressed, they take that as proof that all their angry theories and embitterment is correct.

Example: a grumpy monk says something that is a jerk-like statement Them: "see? See? we're correct, they have no morals!"

Its not really a reasonable conversation with them.

Most people in the obc simply don't talk to them because everyone who has tried or tried to have a conversation with them or be reasonable, they've been either banned from the forum or shouted down, or simply attacked and treated rudely.

And it's one sided, some of those people were kicked out or left or were asked to leave because of their own poor behavior.
But are now bitter about being the subject of disciplinary action.

In one case, someone was actually involved in aspects of theft.
But that person still talks as though they left because they were taking the "high road" and the obc is so backwards.

While the obc is not perfect, no organization is, and to their credit, they've taken any actual system failure or cultural problems in their organization quite seriously, and quite openly, and with a willingness to talk about them and address them, as one person on this thread pointed out from their own experience.

That's been my experience as well, Rev. Master Haryo, the head of the Order, has been more than upfront and willing to talk with me about even personal issues.

I'd say that's very transparent of them, and he and other senior monks are very approachable and willing to talk and discuss things openly.
He openly publishes his own phone number and is quite reachable and has made it clear that anyone can call him and is warmly welcome. He returns calls and emails promptly.
Regarding openness I'd say that's the norm with the monks there. From my own personal experience.

And regarding what goes on at the monasteries: yes at Shasta it's the same thing as one poster said here already. Wake up, brush teeth, go to sitting, walking meditation (in circles, lol) morning ceremonies, dharma talks, breakfast, working meditation, lunch, breaks, more working mediation, afternoon seated meditation, dinner mealtime ceremonial, breaks, dharma talks/tea, evening meditation, rest, lights out, etc, etc.

Normal Soto Zen practice. Quite wonderful, honest, and nothing weird or creepy.
I used to live in Mt. Shasta, I was quite poor at the time, and never was pressured to give money, and was always welcomed, warmly and joyfully.
They even gave books away.
It was a welcome retreat(s) from the stress in my life, and an opportunity to deepen and advance my practice when I sorely needed it.
Quite wonderful folks there.

In Gassho
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Megha » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:50 pm

Christopherxx wrote:Why is this group labeled as a cult in so many places?

Would love some insight gals and guys :)



I just removed my answer as there are people better placed than I to give their account of Kennett's "career". Suffice it to say that the mental stability of Peg Kennett has been questioned on numerous occasions.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:34 am

Megha wrote:
Christopherxx wrote:Why is this group labeled as a cult in so many places?

Would love some insight gals and guys :)



It's based on the teachings of an eccentric English lady who traveled to Japan, where she stayed for only 5 years . The Buddhist Society in London had ties with her before she left, however they sent two people to observe her progress, and when they returned they reported back that she had become mentally unbalanced. Her teacher, Koho Chisan, wanted to get Soto Zen established in London as Rinzai had been the big thing up to then, and I think this got the better of his own judgement. He informed Christmas Humphrys she would be his nominated "Bishop" of London upon her return. Humphrys had severe misgivings about this, and informed Koho Chisan as much, and told him that the Society would not accept her. In any case she returned to England and soon decamped for the United States and the lecture circuit. However, her health was not good and she eventually set up a monastery which at first taught Soto Zen along the traditional Sojiji lines. Pretty soon she started raving about visions and becoming autocratic. I believe she thought she was the reincarnation of Bodhidharma at one point. If you believe that, I've got some high quality 2013 traditional Mayan Calendars you can buy.


Wow.

That's a very inaccurate post.

Jiyu-Kennett had her qualifications confirmed and re-checked by some of the most respected Masters in Japan.

5 years is more than enough time to have a kensho, and have follow up training.

Her experience was confirmed by the most respected Soto Master in Japan of the day. (I'll post his name on here if I can dig it up.)

"Visions" (how dramatic), do occur in Buddhism. They're not necessarily an every day occurrence, and are not often discussed, but they are a historic and current fact. I've had them myself, and so has my spouse, and many other Buddhists that I know, including some who have come on this board who are not in any way related to the Order.

Past lives do exist also. This is well documented, and well experienced by many people's empirical experience in practicing Buddhism.

Your post amounts to nothing more than a rant and rave against a well respected Master.

A copy of her account of her own past lives was sent to Japan for scrutiny, they had no problem with it and were pleased with the result.

Indeed, when Koho Zenji was corresponding with Humphry's, he (Koho Zeni) finally broke it off by saying to Humphry's that "Apparently, you think to know more about Buddhism, than a Master of Zen!"

It's a valid point. Humphry's is no Zen Master, or in any way a qualified Buddhist Teacher.
He was just a legal prosecutor of some fame of the day who converted to Buddhism.

I'm sorry friend, but you simply don't know what you are talking about.

In Gassho,

Sara H
Last edited by Sara H on Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby plwk » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:38 am

I wonder if she did complete her Chinese Dharmaguptaka sramanerikahood (from Malaysia back then in it's oldest Unesco heritage temple, the 青云亭 / Qīng Yún Tíng or 'Clear Clouds Pavilion', a place dedicated to the Three Religions of Taoism, Buddhism & Confucianism although it was supposed to be a Ch'an temple) to a full Bhikshuni ordination...

Well Megha, one site puts in that In 1976, worn out, ill and having been told by her doctor that she was near death, Rev. Master Jiyu went into retreat and experienced another kensho, this time a massive spiritual opening accompanied by visions and recollections of past lives. Having been prepared for this by the teachings she had received in Malaysia and Japan, she knew what was taking place—but many of the people around her did not. So this was the thingy about her unstable mental conditions, put into nicer contexts?

But I was amused that the OBC site used the term 'Archbishop of Malacca' with reference to the prominent monastic the Linji Great Master and Abbot, Ven Seck Kim Seng, her Preceptor, perhaps they may be are aware that there are no such titles in the Chinese Mahayana Ch'an Tradition save for the honorific 'Grandmaster' or 'Great Master' with reference to notable Elders or Founders of monastic institutions or lineage masters. Even the Catholics in Malacca only have a Bishop which oversees the diocesans of 2 Malaysian states of Malacca and Johor. The Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur may be wondering who is this 'Archbishop'? LOL
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:55 am

plwk wrote:I wonder if she did complete her Chinese Dharmaguptaka sramanerikahood (from Malaysia back then in it's oldest Unesco heritage temple, the 青云亭 / Qīng Yún Tíng or 'Clear Clouds Pavilion', a place dedicated to the Three Religions of Taoism, Buddhism & Confucianism although it was supposed to be a Ch'an temple) to a full Bhikshuni ordination...

Well Megha, one site puts in that In 1976, worn out, ill and having been told by her doctor that she was near death, Rev. Master Jiyu went into retreat and experienced another kensho, this time a massive spiritual opening accompanied by visions and recollections of past lives. Having been prepared for this by the teachings she had received in Malaysia and Japan, she knew what was taking place—but many of the people around her did not. So this was the thingy about her unstable mental conditions, put into nicer contexts?

But I was amused that the OBC site used the term 'Archbishop of Malacca' with reference to the prominent monastic the Linji Great Master and Abbot, Ven Seck Kim Seng, her Preceptor, perhaps they may be are aware that there are no such titles in the Chinese Mahayana Ch'an Tradition save for 'Grandmaster' or 'Great Master' with reference to notable Elders or Founders of monastic institutions or lineage masters. Even the Catholics in Malacca only have a Bishop which oversees the diocesans of 2 Malaysian states of Malacca and Johor. The Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur may be wondering who is this 'Archbishop'? LOL

Plwk "Grandmaster" or "Great Master" are English words.

The Chinese don't use such terms in Chinese, they use Chinese equivalents.
In the west a "Great Master" of a Church or Religious organization, translates equivalently as "Archbishop".

It's an accurate way to translate it.

Though, if you are the sortof person who is turned-off by religious-type words, then such a choice of words when translating, may not be to your preference.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby plwk » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:07 am

Well Sara, if that were so, then they should stick back to what the original trad meant, as how the Chinese or the Japanese Trads intended it, even when translated into vernacular languages like English. But when the title/term 'Archbishop' is used in contexts of another religion system to mean the head of a religious organisation, the Ven Seck does not represent all of Ch'an nor any other Buddhist Tradition in Malaysia except for his own temple unlike the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop who overseas all Catholic dioceses with their respective Bishops who answer to him in administrative and spiritual matters. Portfolios in both instances are distinct, hence their titles with corresponding meanings must be carefully utilised.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:19 am

plwk wrote:Well Sara, if that were so, then they should stick back to what the original trad meant, as how the Chinese or the Japanese Trads intended it, even when translated into vernacular languages like English. But when the title/term 'Archbishop' is used in contexts of another religion system to mean the head of a religious organisation, the Ven Seck does not represent all of Ch'an nor any other Buddhist Tradition in Malaysia except for his own temple unlike the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop who overseas all Catholic dioceses with their respective Bishops who answer to him in administrative and spiritual matters. Portfolios in both instances are distinct, hence their titles with corresponding meanings must be carefully utilised.


Nor does unsui, the japanese word for Zen Trainee have an exact English Equivalent.

This is the price and cost of translating terms Friend. You have to use English equivilants or "Good Enough" when translating the term.

While you don't like the fact that say an "Archbishop" in caltholicism is not the exact position as it is in say a Buddhist Chinese Organization,

The trade-off of using the term "Archbishop" is that it denotes at a glance that the person is a "Master" and well respected authority in a religious organization.

Again, it comes down to your personal preference. Not everyone likes the use of religious words when translating Chinese or other Buddhist texts, however we do have words that are either equivalents or "close enough" in English that can be used in religious terms, and Buddhism is a religion.

Though such terms might not be to your personal taste.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:39 am

Also, just as an aside, considering they know (or knew if he's now dead) Rev. Seck Kim Seng Personally, and have ongoing relationships with the monks over there, I'm sure they would have asked him or one of the current monks on what they considered an appropriate translation of his title.

The Malaysians do have a say in this as well.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Megha » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:12 am

Hi Sara, well I removed my original post as I felt that it was little more than hearsay and gossip - and it is a serious business when people are discussing cults, as they wreak such damage in people's lives .

I apologise if it was inaccurate. I assure you I have no axe to grind either way.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Jikan » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:42 am

It might be helpful to know how Jiyu Kennett was regarded by her contemporaries in the English-speaking Zen world of her time. Did particular teachers visit her while she was in California? It's not as though there was a shortage of Zen activity in northern California during this time. Information of this sort can give some weight to the claims being debated over Kennett's teaching practices (or even her personal character). Who visited her at Shasta Abbey? Was she invited to teach elsewhere?

I think no one would dispute that she suffered with acute illness physically. She was diabetic and, sadly, morbidly obese.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:05 pm

Jikan wrote:It might be helpful to know how Jiyu Kennett was regarded by her contemporaries in the English-speaking Zen world of her time. Did particular teachers visit her while she was in California? It's not as though there was a shortage of Zen activity in northern California during this time. Information of this sort can give some weight to the claims being debated over Kennett's teaching practices (or even her personal character). Who visited her at Shasta Abbey? Was she invited to teach elsewhere?

I think no one would dispute that she suffered with acute illness physically. She was diabetic and, sadly, morbidly obese.


I am bumping this thread in the hope that someone well-informed might be available to address these questions and bring some balance to the discussion of this group.

any takers?
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:36 pm

Before one can objectively assess if the OBC is a cult (or not) one requires a (agreed to by all) definition of what a cult is.

One persons cult is anothers religious organisation.

Not all cults try to pressure you for sex, teach you how to make and use sarin gas and ask you for your money. When they do try to "take over your mind" they will not announce it so...

A couple of definitions:
cult (klt) n.
1. a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
b. The followers of such a religion or sect.
2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
3. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
5.
a. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
b. The object of such devotion.
6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.
[Latin cultus, worship, from past participle of colere, to cultivate; see kwel-1 in Indo-European roots.]
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cult

cult noun, often attributive \ˈkəlt\

Definition of CULT

1
: formal religious veneration : worship
2
: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3
: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
4
: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>
5
a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
b : the object of such devotion
c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cult

cult
Pronunciation: /kʌlt/


Definition of cult
noun
1a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object:
the cult of St Olaf
a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members:
a network of Satan-worshipping cults
a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing:
the cult of the pursuit of money as an end in itself
2a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society:
the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK
[as modifier]:
a cult film
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/cult

and wiki (of course)

Cult

The word cult in current popular usage is a pejorative term for a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre by the larger society.
Usage of the word has been controversial. One reason is that the word "cult" (as used in the pejorative sense) is considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with simply differing doctrines or practices, and without a clear or consistent definition.
The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The word was first used in the early 17th century denoting homage paid to a divinity and borrowed via the French culte from Latin cultus "worship", from the adjective cultus "inhabited, cultivated, worshipped", derived from the verb colere "care, cultivate."
In the 1930s cults became the object of sociological study in the context of the study of religious behavior. They have been criticized by mainstream Christians for their unorthodox beliefs. In the 1970s the anticult movement arose, partly motivated by acts of violence and other crimes committed by members of some cults. Some of the claims of the anti-cult movement have been disputed by other scholars, leading to further controversies.
Discrimination against cult members has been an ongoing issue in some nations, as well as concerns about doomsday cults and destructive cults. Governments have undertaken various policies towards cults, ranging from tolerance to hostility, and this has also been a source of controversy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:05 pm

I haven't read much of the OBC Connect site, but I did read some of this thread:
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t134-my-experience-and-leaving-mark-daiji-strathern
and it didn't inspire a lot of confidence in Kennett's "mastery".
Strathern introduces himself here:
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t119-mark-daiji-strathern
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Simon E. » Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:42 pm

Jikan wrote:
Jikan wrote:It might be helpful to know how Jiyu Kennett was regarded by her contemporaries in the English-speaking Zen world of her time. Did particular teachers visit her while she was in California? It's not as though there was a shortage of Zen activity in northern California during this time. Information of this sort can give some weight to the claims being debated over Kennett's teaching practices (or even her personal character). Who visited her at Shasta Abbey? Was she invited to teach elsewhere?

I think no one would dispute that she suffered with acute illness physically. She was diabetic and, sadly, morbidly obese.


I am bumping this thread in the hope that someone well-informed might be available to address these questions and bring some balance to the discussion of this group.

any takers?

I know nothing of her history after she left London...which would have been around 1970 ( ? ).
I attended several events at which she was present.
I was not drawn to her at all.
This might be explainable by the fact that she was a very typical English woman of her ( posh ) class and time. Loud, opinionated, and with the kind of self belief one later saw in Baroness Thatcher or even more closely to the Brit TV cook Fanny Craddock.
But clearly she had her devotees.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby shaunc » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:20 pm

A very basic understanding that I have in the difference between a cult & a religion is, a religion tries to teach you how to lead a good & productive life in society & a cult will try to teach you to renounce society.
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