Apparently quite a big change is taking place in the EnlightenNext organization, and Cohen appears to be issuing an apology for past abuses.

See here.

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if they are idiotically gullible then it's also cuz they are romanticizing the east and falling for idiotic forms of "esoteric spirituality" like hokey forms of tantra. om mani padme dumb.  hahaha.

Kelamuni,

I agree it is "too easy" to use the "no true Scotsman" approach. Not always invalid... but definitely it very often indicates less of an insight and more of an emotional reaction. It would be premature to locate the problem entirely in the "despotic nature of guru-centric spirituality" (just as it would be perhaps premature to cite despots as entirely problematic -- perhaps they are quite appropriate for certain types and certain contexts) but we see that the "bad apple" explanation is well known as a preservative of deeper systematic difficulties.

To your list of 2 possibilities we could, however, add considerably more:

e.g.

3. That there are a large or small set of "awakenings" of very different emphases.

4. That "awakening" has a moral dimension but its effects are indirect or slow-to-build in certain cases.

5. That "awakening" has a moral force but not necessarily an ethical force... or vice versa.

6. That "awakening" is an altitude which could occur morally just as it could occur on any "line".

7. That "awakened" individuals are easy prey for a host of transpersonal energetic problems, diseases and attacks which the ordinary ego tends to protect us from.

8. That there are grades of "awakening".

9. That certain traditional modes of "awakening" are increasingly incompatible with the emerging advanced social spirit of our world (and as max might add... certain other old modes might already be very aligned with what we hope is emerging).

10. That "awakening" is not a state or status but a degree of intensified velocity along one's path.

11. etc.

It is true though that the naive practitioner must share for some of the blame. Inflated gurus are part of problem, but so too is the practitioner in search of his or her "missing father."

I don't have an issue with "gooroos" per say, though the category does lend itself to abuse and for that reason I see it as problematic. For many in India, guru simply means "teacher." I don't have a problem with this idea or with Trungpa's notion of the guru as "spiritual friend" or guiding teacher. However, with certain traditions, there is the notion of the Sat Guru as the incarnation of God or what have you. It is this idea that I think is inherently problematic.

Sure, and we could perhaps categorize some of these as subvariants on basic themes or issues.

Layman Pascal said:

Kelamuni,

I agree it is "too easy" to use the "no true Scotsman" approach. Not always invalid... but definitely it very often indicates less of an insight and more of an emotional reaction. It would be premature to locate the problem entirely in the "despotic nature of guru-centric spirituality" (just as it would be perhaps premature to cite despots as entirely problematic -- perhaps they are quite appropriate for certain types and certain contexts) but we see that the "bad apple" explanation is well known as a preservative of deeper systematic difficulties.

To your list of 2 possibilities we could, however, add considerably more:

e.g.

3. That there are a large or small set of "awakenings" of very different emphases.

4. That "awakening" has a moral dimension but its effects are indirect or slow-to-build in certain cases.

5. That "awakening" has a moral force but not necessarily an ethical force... or vice versa.

6. That "awakening" is an altitude which could occur morally just as it could occur on any "line".

7. That "awakened" individuals are easy prey for a host of transpersonal energetic problems, diseases and attacks which the ordinary ego tends to protect us from.

8. That there are grades of "awakening".

9. That certain traditional modes of "awakening" are increasingly incompatible with the emerging advanced social spirit of our world (and as max might add... certain other old modes might already be very aligned with what we hope is emerging).

10. That "awakening" is not a state or status but a degree of intensified velocity along one's path.

11. etc.

The "tired riff" I am referring to is this:

Guru gains following.

Guru gets horny and starts banging the clientele.

Practitioners who at one time thought he was "enlightened" now become disillusioned with guru.

In order to "save" the practice of idolizing gurus, practitioners now insist that the fallen guru was "not done cooking yet," that he wasn't a "true" guru after all, but that there's nothing wrong with idolizing "true" gurus, who can do no wrong, cuz "truly" enlightened beings can do no wrong.

Nobody has a special problem about teachers or spiritual friends. Nobody (or hardly anybody) recommends doing away with marriages, romances, elections, economic partnerships, etc. simply because everyday these relationships can spiral into transference, foolishness, abuse and violence. Yet we tend to get a little bit kooky about the idea of Ultimate Beings. We tend to act like the very notion of a Divinely Embodied Person or a person with a peculiar (and possibly unintentional) Spirit-broadcasting function automatically has authoritative super-status in all affairs. We also to tend to feel that other people will almost automatically behave problematically around such a figure. 

But -- just as in all relationships -- there is no special reason why Superlative or Ultimate feelings should cancel out human wisdom, skepticism, personal judgement, social intelligence, etc. Our brains are not terribly good at handling the cognitive dissonance of mixed signals. We struggle to make sense of how Bob could be the Living God... but also be so terribly at finances and ignorant about human emotions. Also he doesn't speak every known language or walk on water! 

The problem which initially seems based upon the mere fact of superlative or ultimate relationships appears, upon closer inspection, to be founded upon the brittle narrowness of how we (and they) hold ultimate feelings, upon the conflation of spiritual function with status and with our general refusal to tolerate the intelligence-provoking sensations of conflicting mixed messages. 

So the ethical concern about Sat Gurus must be diverted into addressing these kinds of topics. The existence of people who are, or believe they are, or claim to be, or are believed to be mysteriously superior spiritual beings is not a special problem. But there IS a huge problem here. 

Both those who wish to save the Guru and those who are disillusioned by the Guru fall into the same broad category of people who mistake function for status... who think that evolutionary accomplished or divine transmission implies an absence of mistakes, sins, regular human stuff.

Kumare is a  MUST MUST MUST Watch documentary that deals directly with all these topics.

Kumare: The True Story of a False Prophet.

You can also watch it immediately on Amazon Instant video as well.

I made a few postings on this movie :

From the Integral Life forum:

The movie is a great illustration of the anima projection (people falling in love with the guru) and what happens when that projection is stripped away. 

Some were able to withdraw their projections and some were not!  Those who were able to withdraw their projections are able to do so, I believe, because they learned to realize that quality in themselves to some extent, and so no longer "required" the guru.  They were then able to see Vikram as he really is and be thankful to him.

The really interesting thing is what happened to Vikram.  By acting as the recipient of all these projections, he began to feel responsible for these people.  It began to change him as well.  Their projections onto him began to actually change his own sense of who he was, making it very very difficult for him to end the charade as he had originally planned.

It's a case of Projective Identification

From a 7/8/12 email to a friend:

Another possible way of thinking about this phenomenon is the possibility that enacting a script in a certain way can itself begin to constellate a complex at the heart of which lies an archetype. In this case the archetype of the wise man or guru.


Call it the placebo effect or a talismanic enactment, but without a doubt Vikram was able to constellate a guru-disciple complex in those folks who followed him. And through this complex most were able to get in touch with the wise teacher within themselves. Of course the final exam in such an enactment is whether or not the individual is able to withdraw their projection and truly realize this generative principle at the core of the complex - the principle of spiritual intuition = the Inner Teacher or Guru within. THAT is the essence of the complex. And THAT is why merely flattening the affect of a complex is not a good thing - it thwarts one's ability to actually contact and assimilate the core essence life principle inside the complex; in this case the essence of inner guidance, inner authority, spiritual intuition, the Inner Teacher, etc..

Andrew's "revealing" was the final exam. 

Joe

the word guru means teacher. but of course this has many connotations and we would do well to separate

different traditions like hindoos and buddhist and in the buddhist sutra and tantric levels because they all use the guru in different forms , these are different methods.

now kelamuni , it is clear that you refer to the hindu use where since we have a god realization concept the abuse potential is the greatest especially in combination with naive westerners who lived for 2000 years in spiritual culture where god realization was per se forbidden : only jesus had that privileg.everybodyelse could only achieve sainthoos as maximum potential , and thinking was only allowed if it run in circles around the bible........as a backup of belief , so the spiritual dimensions of india is a whole lot different to this in many respects.

so what would be better then just the usual guru bashing , would be to have a good look at the east - west dynamic involved here. anybody knows by now (at least i sincerly hope so) that IF one starts to work with any psychological relationship like therapy we have transference processes which are the main ingredients in some psychologies . BUT just because some therapists abuse most people do  not condem therapists per se !

now if we talk buddhists tantra then working with the guru principle is indispensable : no guru = no tantra

but we have to understand that also that relationship is  changing according to which level of tantra one works and in buddhist tantra there is no GOD as such.

what we need is more differentiation thats what is really necessary here.

i do not know too much about hinduism but i know enought to know that there are quite a few different kinds of guru functions in that context like for example the different sadhu sects , or the sannyasin groups whether it is a vaishnavite or a shaivite , then there are the mantra gurus, the family line gurus, the closed lineage gurus, the satgurus , the maverik gurus , etc.

of course as long as kenny teaches and we belief him that whether we talk

satguru , roshi, lama, priest minister rabbi scheikh ...... its all the same

we will never get to any clarity at all.in this respect

Kumare!

Alternatives to:

I pretend to be a guru, activate the complex, if they assimilate the complex their Inner Teacher replaces me naturally...

1. I pretend to be a guru... which allows the guru-disciple complex to come forward from the archaic reservoir of organic spirituality in individuals. Their natural spiritual development function is now active, endlessly, as long as they keep engaging devotionally EVEN if they move away or I die. 

2. I pretend to be a guru... which allows people to pretend that they have activated a guru-disciple complex. This continues or is withdrawn.

3. I pretend to be a guru... because I actually am or partly have the make-up to perform a special transmission... but my psyche is too skeptical, advanced or ignorant to permit it straight up.

4. I am actually performing a "guru function" but not giving people the symbolic appearance which encourages projections... therefore I attract only people who are subtly tuned in at a different level.

5. I am performing a guru function AND providing the form which enables projection AND I don't want people to stop projecting... because my function is not the same as the "awakening" or "development" which overcomes my egoic needs.

6. I am performing a guru function AND providing the form which enables projection AND I do want people to stop projecting, assimilate the complex, and then have a more functional spiritual relationship with my actual gurup-ness. 

7. I am pretending to be a guru, enabling a psychological function in others, which they are either processing towards assimilation in the Inner Teacher or not -- but in so doing they project a literal energy into me... causing me to begin to function at a slightly different order of being... which then continues whether they imagine they have "gotten over it" or not.

8. Enough for now!



Layman Pascal said:

Nobody has a special problem about teachers or spiritual friends. Nobody (or hardly anybody) recommends doing away with marriages, romances, elections, economic partnerships, etc. simply because everyday these relationships can spiral into transference, foolishness, abuse and violence. Yet we tend to get a little bit kooky about the idea of Ultimate Beings. We tend to act like the very notion of a Divinely Embodied Person or a person with a peculiar (and possibly unintentional) Spirit-broadcasting function automatically has authoritative super-status in all affairs. We also to tend to feel that other people will almost automatically behave problematically around such a figure. 

But -- just as in all relationships -- there is no special reason why Superlative or Ultimate feelings should cancel out human wisdom, skepticism, personal judgement, social intelligence, etc. Our brains are not terribly good at handling the cognitive dissonance of mixed signals. We struggle to make sense of how Bob could be the Living God... but also be so terribly at finances and ignorant about human emotions. Also he doesn't speak every known language or walk on water! 

The problem which initially seems based upon the mere fact of superlative or ultimate relationships appears, upon closer inspection, to be founded upon the brittle narrowness of how we (and they) hold ultimate feelings, upon the conflation of spiritual function with status and with our general refusal to tolerate the intelligence-provoking sensations of conflicting mixed messages. 

So the ethical concern about Sat Gurus must be diverted into addressing these kinds of topics. The existence of people who are, or believe they are, or claim to be, or are believed to be mysteriously superior spiritual beings is not a special problem. But there IS a huge problem here. 

Both those who wish to save the Guru and those who are disillusioned by the Guru fall into the same broad category of people who mistake function for status... who think that evolutionary accomplished or divine transmission implies an absence of mistakes, sins, regular human stuff.

my wish here is only to point out that the guru problem comes mostly from a misunderstanding

of the term , its function and the many different connotations this has in the context of a spiritual culture or better at least 2 (related but) different cultures BOTH if which are totally alien to the western monotheistic culture and its off spring modernities.

so BEFORE  one thinks one understood it all one should have a closer look.

like how do gurus of all colour work in their host cultures , and what could their possible function be and IF we do such an indepth look we should be able to see that there is a great deal of variation between the hindu and the buddhist culture AND< also inside both cultures there is a great deal of various gurus whose function is also different and then we shouls also see that the work these figures do partially relies a on cultural subtext , a text that is completly missed if one is not born ! and raised into this culture for example. there is a reason why traditionally one cannot become a hindu by conversion but only by birth ! many levels of guru dispensions no western will ever be privy to ! just look at the kumbamelas for example : there many of indias gurus are visible and then disappear again.

this is not the case with buddhism but there is a opt of difference between the sutra yanas and the tantra or mantrayana in the terms of how the guru is seen.

IMO a few indian rascals have (ab)used this  principle , be that out of compassion , be that because they wanted to play , or because they could not help themselves ,..what ever and then a few very westerners got caught in that train as well ,  be that because they had some kind of awakening or more likely some delusions of awakening etc

but in the long history of guru doms : this is like flyshit on a windowpane , it will work itself out in the end because mankind is learning, so even the dumb west will get the hang of guru´s function in the end , may be not all of them,  but some for sure , especially the higher versions

once the initial mistakes have been clarified.this is like that silly western habit to translate all sort of specific eastern terms with just one word : enlightenment. it means nothing this way.worse it misleads everybody into thinking :uhhu  yeah i understand he means enloightenment ,hm, oh ,  yeah yeah

thats just dumb as dumb as falling  for rascal idiots posturing as gurus

but it is getting better as we speak.....andrew is down now , and that´s good news. he probably even had an important function:  to show HOW  it is not done !

same for all the others out there still. learning by doing its called, i belief

anyway i tell you now a secret : the satgurus message is only that everything is divine

thats includes you and me and him . but if you cannot grasp that, if you resist this,  then..you might get caught in your own ignorance trap but the thats were you already were anyway.

andrew and his ilk mix this message with the jewish/christian work ethic :

you must work to deserve to go to heaven or you go to hell.

one could say IF you belief such nonsense , then it serves you right , but then there are wiser more compassionate ways how to grow out of your diapers , an abuse father figure is not necessary, but many westerners have still that abusive jahve dude tattoed directly under the skin , so guys like andrew are actually to be expected .......

and thats why i said we better have a good look at where we are coming from, instead of pretending as ken does, that it is all sort of the same : it is n´t when the shit hits the fan and if you actually go down  the road and hit the dirt.

andrew was /is nothing but a symptom of the western pathology and the indian guru spirit has taken the usual direct road to show america one of its deepest pathology, in action.

if you are prepared to gibe all to suffer to sactifice then at the end there will be the ...

american pie : )

its a mirror , dude.

poonja´s message was : you are already free ........it doesnt matter what you  do or not do

or did or not did. you can´t earn yourself : )))

so why should you bother to serve a creep like andrew ? : ))))

Interesting article recently published:

My Dinner with Andrew 6/22/13

The author's latest posting on http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.nl/ also has a list of abuses.

"without having the context of that experience, you can't possibly understand what I'm talking about.”

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