BootsnAll Travel Network

Is It A Cult? That’s the Question..

I sit here late at night on the computer in one of the kitchens, trying to sort my thoughts and doing a very poor job of it.

I returned from the festival just a few days ago, saw the Guru, heard what he had to say..and managed to return here in one piece. The  experience of going to the event, surrounded by thousands of people whjo only talked about pretty much the Guru, his teachings, and so on was extraordinary. I’ve never been to anything like that in my life.

In spite of the fact that the people in attendence were of every kind and every age, color, and background, they all seemed to have something in common.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, except to say it has left me with a distinctly uncomfortable impression.

There is something a little bit Stepford Wives about it all , and this in spite of the fact that I met some very nice people.

But I suppose Stepford wives would be very nice, wouldn’t they?

This caused me to come home and do some research on exactly where I am and who I am actually learning Buddhism from. What I discovered has not calmed me-in fact, it has me extremely aware that I am in a place that is not exactly what it seems.

Here is what I discovered(well, actually, this is just a taste of it!):

There are 3 large ” New Religious Movements” in Britain at the moment, and all three of them are claiming to be Buddhist. Each of three groups is quite large, with many folowers, owning large amounts of property and recruiting new members. Each group has a charismatic leader who is the authority and only their texts can be read. These groups run from casual to cult like. The leaders of the groups are Westerners, with a Asian Frontman(or frontwoman).

All 3 of the groups are not included on any official Buddhist roster-in fact, all three groups are causing many problems for Buddhists in the world. They each have their own specific brand of Buddhism, and they don’t allow for disagreement. I may be getting some good basic teachings about Buddhism, but after that, it all gets a bit screwed up.

You can look up the types of groups I am talking about by doing a little research on your own, on new Buddhist groups or new religious movements in Britain and Western countries. I would prefer not to mention their name here as I have come to understand they have links to such things and then would discover what I am writing.

The place I am would definitely not like it if they thought I was writing about them-especially anything negative. They have been known to cause a great deal of problems for people who do so.

I am some what ill at ease after talking to some people on line to with who left the particular group of ” Buddhists” I am currently living with. Based on my conversations with them, I have decided to not write the blog.

I will go back to writing the blog after leaving this place-which may be soon, or maybe not.

I will write my journal entries out and post them on the blog when I leave here.

In the meantime, I will make my own observations, and decide myself whether or not I think it is a cult, or whether its just a bunch of idealistic people with a few nuts thrown in.

It is somewhat interesting, to look at a group and need to decide is it a cult? Or is it not a cult? Such things are sometimes based on arbitrary things, sometimes not.

At the moment, I believe that it is. It requires its members to do many things which would lead me to believe that it is a cult, in spite of being made up of perfectly nice people.

I have met many people that I have liked here and I do not want to harm them with my words-I am accutely concious of this responsibility at this time. That is why it is important to think this over carefully and responsibly.

I do not feel as thought I am in any danger or anything like that-mentally there has been some strain, but I have found my own faith to be especially profound here, and of great comfort. I am also somewhat relieved that the Buddhism here is not neccessarily the Buddhism teaching I will find elsewhere, and look forward to learning more about it somewhere else along the trip.

There is much work to be done here, and I am busy from morning to night, and enjoying this aspect of things very much. The work is very rewarding, and I love what I am doing. For example, I did housekeeping for the last two days, and its such a vast place, I got quite  workout!

I have also had the opportunity to befriend several people here, who are not part of the group, but just visiting like me..and I have found that I can practice being of service to them by being a true friend, which has been a real unexpected pleasure.

So in the meantime, perhaps I will just be thinking why does this appeal so much to us Westerners, this organized type of group? What is it about our culture that gets us all wrapped up in Gurus and so on?

I wil be checking in from time to time, at least once weekly, so no worries, I will keep you all posted.

(I am sorry about the blog, though, as I’ve been missing it alot-I just can’t see writing entries about what I ate for dinner or funny little stories when I’ve got this larger story looming in the background. it just wouldn’t be right or make much sense.)

Until then, take care, as I will be thinking of you all.




10 responses to “Is It A Cult? That’s the Question..”

  1. michele whitnack says:

    If you got my personal email, you know my feelings…
    Isolation from the outside world, constant work, sleep and food deprivation are regular tactics to wear down members of cult or cult like organizations. They are also tactics used in torture.
    I look forward to hearing from you in another, safer place.

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