Let me try a better approach repeating your words exactly:
gregkavarnos wrote:I (not "shel") gave the Jim Jones example to show that just because a couple of members may appear "calm, balanced, level headed and open" it is NOT evidence of a "bright" side.
Let us suppose that various groups of members who appear "calm, balanced, level headed and open" report a positive experience with, respectively, (1) Treeleaf Sangha, (2) Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang Rinpoche (3) the Peace Corp (4) Jim Jones People's Temple. I would say that, yes, in fact the testimony of those individuals of each being "their cup of tea" and reporting a positive atmosphere would tend to be evidence of a "bright side" and positive atmosphere at (1) (2) and (3), but not at (4) because contradicted by piles of dead bodies. Absent some evidence of a negative, the positive evidence is evidence of a positive. In Greece we say: it's the slow, gently flowing rivers that you should be afraid of.
I would say that there is likely little to be afraid of about that quiet river if, looking at many years of reports and statistics, there is no report of any particular danger and many reports of positive experience.
We have a saying: The absence of evidence is not evidence.
In other words, the lack of evidence that, for example, Barack Obama was born in Nigeria is not evidence that he was born in Nigeria while proof has been cleverly hidden (absent evidence of that hiding). In fact, while the possibility remains that he was born in Nigeria, the likelihood is small because of the absence of evidence, coupled with many people doing their hardest to "dig up some dirt" but failing to find much more than goose eggs.
If you would like additional people who have had experiences at Treeleaf to come here and tell there tale, I am sure it will be arranged. 50 people would be more evidence than 10. However, I assure you it will be not necessary, because almost all the reports will be equally positive about the atmosphere and quality of teachings there. That will include many people like myself with long years of experience in Buddhism. Of course, I say "almost all", because it is nearly impossible to please everyone, whether with a restaurant, movie or religious group. However, the overwhelming majority of reports will be positive. Furthermore, even if there are some unhappy passengers, what you will find is a total
absence of negative reports involving truly harmful activities. What you will find is an overwhelming majority of people reporting that they have found Treeleaf and its Teachers rewarding to their Buddhist Practice, including a few old Buddhist hands like myself who find the place very great.
If you would like, I am sure that such a survey or vote can be arranged. I am happy to talk to someone about setting it up for you any way you would wish to structure the survey. Absent negative evidence to contradict the results, yes, it is evidence of a "bright side" and makes the absence of a "bright side" increasingly less likely.
I repeat ...THE INABILITY TO FIND THAT TERRIBLE DIRT DESPITE SEVERAL PEOPLES' DILIGENT EFFORTS OVER MANY DAYS HERE IS THE BEST TESTIMONY FOR THE PLACE.
I hope I did not misstate your point.