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TOPIC: Cults, etc.

Cults, etc. 08 Nov 2015 18:25 #101058

shargrol wrote:
If awakening is acknowledged as being less then 100% perfect awakening, then we can say what Kenneth coined as the axiom of practical dharma "Awakening is possible. I know, because it happened to me. " ...and to do so without pride or grandiosity. (Kenneth, could you correct this quote if I got it somewhat wrong? -- it's from your Buddhist Geeks talk.)

You got the first two parts of it. But there are three parts. I think of this framework as the Three Pillars of Pragmatic Dharma (riffing off of the Three Pillars of Zen). Here it is all together:

1. Awakening is possible.

2. I know, because it happened to me.

3. Here's how...
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Cults, etc. 08 Nov 2015 19:07 #101059

Thanks!!
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Cults, etc. 09 Nov 2015 01:38 #101069

shargrol wrote:
Again if the pattern holds, the next stage is transcendent.

Devil's advocate question: do any of these states and stages model have a stage where states and stages models drop away? :evil:
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Cults, etc. 09 Nov 2015 06:06 #101076

Actually it is a good question. I think the "states and stages models drop away" idea is one of the other extreme ways to individuate the post-awakening stage. Basically arguing that everything is pure void, pure chaos, completely unmapable. Another extreme is to say that there is no control, no intention, no influence. Another extreme is to say that everything is pure good, exactly what is appropriate, no room for improvement. Basically, they are all ways of saying something concrete about experience, beyond that it is.

There are elements of truth to all these extremes, which is why they come to mind and why they can serve in communication, teaching, etc. But when it gets solidified into a solid metaphysical truth... that's when things have the potential to go wonky.

In the same way that different aspects of "being a self" were never problematic until the self was solidified and crudely defended, post-awakening the challenge is to keep from doing that with the nature of mind and the perception of the world.
Last Edit: 09 Nov 2015 06:07 by shargrol.
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Cults, etc. 09 Nov 2015 08:42 #101078

"Devil's advocate question: do any of these states and stages model have a stage where states and stages models drop away? :evil: "

The last panel of some versions of the "Ox-Herding Pictures"-- "returns to the marketplace with helping hands."

The Dzogchen equivalent is "old man basking in the sun."

T.S. Eliot's "returning to the place where we started, and knowing it for the first time."
Last Edit: 09 Nov 2015 08:52 by Kate Gowen. Reason: typo
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 13:07 #101821

A New York Times article about Marc Gafni:

www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/us/marc-gafni...m.html?smid=tw-share

What do you think?
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 15:59 #101824

I read the article, seems like the dude has issues... The definition of integral theory included in the article was a bit weird....

"Integral theory “is based on the understanding that evolution itself is an expression of a spiritual universal force of creation embodied in each one of us as us, as unique selves,” said the futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, who described Mr. Gafni as a leader of the movement."

...so I clicked over to the guy's website.

www.ievolve.org/

Too crazy for words, here's text from one of the sidebars on the site:

"The Pleasure Map
A free, online teaching with Marc Gafni
Ongoing
Marc Gafni’s teachings on accessing Deep Pleasure distinguish the pleasures of the five senses, the pleasure of intimacy and relationships, the pleasure of meaningful work and a sense of purpose…and beyond. Let Marc Gafni walk you into whole new levels of pleasure that you might not have even realized were there!
Sign up for the free videos here!"

Having read the article, I don't think this is a hack.(edit: in other words, I don't think someone hacked the site and added this.) It sounds like what he's offering.
Last Edit: 26 Dec 2015 17:47 by shargrol.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 17:10 #101826

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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 17:46 #101828

Wow. That whole thing is so off-note on so many things, I just can't type it all out. :(

I love this line... in the midst of one of their principles being reported to the police, it's a good time to pitch the product... "By mutual agreement with I-Evolve, Integral Life has assumed full control and responsibility for ISE 3 as of last week. We’ve already established an awesome new event leadership team and will be announcing the new design in coming weeks. (Suffice it to say that everyone on the team is ecstatic that the event will refocus on Ken Wilber’s unique architecture of creativity as a living praxis in our lives.)"

So culty!

When Integral Network started happening in the 90s/2000s, I thought it was really going to go somewhere. I remember lamenting moving away from Colorado and being so far away from it. Then "Integral Naked" quickly became their motto and I was like, oooh this does not bode well for the organization. And now this. Ugh.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 18:23 #101829

Found this article, it pairs well with the previous ones, like white wine and fish...

markmanson.net/ken-wilber
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 18:34 #101830

Hope this is on-topic. Just to play devil's advocate, here's the Three Pillars of Any Belief System

1. The Answer (Secret, Solution, Salvation, Way, ...) is possible to have
2. I know, because I have it
3. Here's how...

It seems then that personal testimony isn't enough to distinguish any particular belief system
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 18:38 #101831

Personality cults, both of them, the kind of thing that happens all the time. I get the impression that Gafni has not really come to terms with his actions, the most serious being his early behavior with underaged girls. He may have been barely an adult himself when those two relationships occurred, but still.

As for what has happened since, the Great Spiritual Marketplace attracts many vulnerable people who find irresistible a bit of glamor combined with claims to esoteric wisdom. And of course, it's easy for him to say that he is a "bohemian" or even "polyamorous," except he is so secretive! I know there are people who would say that these women are adults and there was no actual coercion, but it seems that spiritual teachers undo whatever good they think they're doing when their personal behavior is hurtful to others, regardless of the form it takes.

ETA: it gets worse jewishsurvivors.blogspot.com/2006/06/dep...ai-gafnis-third.html
Last Edit: 26 Dec 2015 19:23 by Laurel Carrington.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 19:09 #101832

shargrol wrote:
Found this article, it pairs well with the previous ones, like white wine and fish...

markmanson.net/ken-wilber

Fantastic piece. Thanks for the link.

Here is one of the many gems:

"The point is, if Wilber can succumb to it, any of us can. No one is immune. No matter how brilliant and how 'enlightened' we are, we’re all animals."

And another:

"What Wilber taught me is that no depth of spiritual experience can negate our physical and primal drives for power, lust and validation. As primates, we’re wired to seek someone to look up to as well as to be looked up to by others. And that’s true whether we’re experiencing Godhead or bodhisattva or not. It’s inescapable."
Last Edit: 26 Dec 2015 19:09 by Kenneth Folk.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 21:29 #101835

...assuming that previous to these events one thought that Ken Wilber was a good example of someone as far along the spiritual path as anyone could be - a bold assumption :P
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 21:43 #101836

every3rdthought wrote:
...assuming that previous to these events one thought that Ken Wilber was a good example of someone as far along the spiritual path as anyone could be - a bold assumption :P

Good point. For me, Wilber is a brilliant theorist. On that level, he has been incredibly influential for me. But I've never thought of him as a spiritual teacher or a role model for practice.

ETA: Leaving Wilber aside for a moment, the point that we are human primates, and will continue to be human primates as long as we live, is worth pondering deeply. I might even go so far as to suggest that if one could get that, one would be enlightened.
Last Edit: 26 Dec 2015 21:49 by Kenneth Folk.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 21:54 #101837

Have y'all gotten to this one yet?

This guru apparently claims to be able to transform all living organisms, and to be able to train you to do the same.

Definition of The Trivedi Effect®

The Trivedi Effect® is a natural phenomenon that exists within our universe. It is a Divine, intelligent energy that is harnessed by Mahendra Trivedi (or a Trivedi Master™) and has the ability to transform all living organisms and nonliving materials at the atomic level so as to surpass the ordinary and function at their most potent and unlimited potential for greatness.


www.trivedieffect.com/
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 22:11 #101838

From the Ken Wilbur article shargrol linked us to -- an alarm bell quote for me:

After understanding his model, the rest of the world felt simpler.
Last Edit: 26 Dec 2015 22:11 by Chris Marti.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 22:13 #101839

ETA: Leaving Wilber aside for a moment, the point that we are human primates, and will continue to be human primates as long as we live, is worth pondering deeply. I might even go so far as to suggest that if one could get that, one would be enlightened.

Now dammit, Kenneth, the whole point of all this spirituality stuff it is to transcend being a human primate. Jeez o peez. You should know that by now!

:evil:
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 22:34 #101840

The ievolve.org website by Gafni lists a heckuva lot of leaders:

www.ievolve.org/leadership/

Now that's a who's who of.... something:

Senior Teachers of Unique Self Process

Each of these Senior Teachers is at a different stage in their development in relation to Unique Self. Most of them have studied with Dr. Marc very actively for a period of years. Others are newer to our world but have stepped in with an enormous investment of self. Every single person is committed in significant long term fashion to the unfolding and spreading of the good news of the Evolutionary Unique Self and the emergent Evolutionary We space that is its natural result.

All of us understand at the very cellular level that the teaching of Personal Enlightenment, which is the essence of the Evolutionary Unique Self teaching, is a vital building block in the Evolution of Love. Participating—humbly and audaciously—in the evolution of love by awaking to our Evolutionary Unique Selves—evolution awakening to itself in us, as us, and through us—personally—is a lodestone in the emergent World Spirituality. Naturally, this entire teaching is refracted through the prism of genuine Integral thinking. The awakening to Evolutionary Unique Self needs to include growing up to your highest level of consciousness as well as waking up to your most profound True Self state; it must appear in all four quadrants; it embraces the unique combination of lines of development that form your gifts and that literally means that you awaken to your unique type expression of essence.

Is that Integral speak? I don't know. I've never read anything by Wilbur.
Last Edit: 27 Dec 2015 10:01 by Chris Marti.
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Cults, etc. 26 Dec 2015 23:32 #101841

I guess I had some time on my hands; in any case, I've been looking through the lists of people and it's positively mind-boggling. Marc Gafni is everywhere, and it's as if all that history never happened. Everyone has a string of advanced degrees in multiple subjects, books authored in the double-digits, and multiple appointments to multiple arms of this enormous organization. It's overwhelming, like an entire universe. I have no idea what to make of it. Someone somewhere is paying for all of this, that much is obvious.

I read some of Wilber's work about 15 or more years ago. At the time, I was impressed; however, I have a problem with autodidacts. They have a tendency to fall in love with the sound of their own voice. Originality and creativity are wonderful, but there needs to be a wider community to critique and refine one's ideas, or else it becomes a self-perpetuating bubble, like the massive alternative universe of right-wing "institutes" in this country.
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Cults, etc. 27 Dec 2015 08:06 #101842

i'M gOING to create a nEW cULT where the cENTRAL tEXT is based on hAVING CAPS LOCKS ON, just to distinguish it from all the other cults that use the capitalize Key Dogma Terms.
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Cults, etc. 27 Dec 2015 10:02 #101844

I think I'll start a cult about aliens. Oh, wait.....
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Cults, etc. 27 Dec 2015 11:42 #101847

I keep clicking on "Last Post" on this thread to see what new wisdom is being imparted, and this is what I find . . . !
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Cults, etc. 27 Dec 2015 14:34 #101849

You're looking for wisdom on the cult topic?

:evil:
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Cults, etc. 10 Jan 2016 18:14 #102046

hevria.com/chaya/how-to-spot-a-sexual-preditor/

How To Spot A Spiritual Sexual Predator
BY CHAYA KURTZ • JANUARY 4, 2016 • ESSAY

Specifically one who is dressed in the garb of a guru, religious leader, or activist: A guide for Jewish women (and other women too).

The talk of the town last week was about a New York Times profile of an (accused) rapist/serial womanizer/wife-abuser ex-rabbi who essentially got kicked out of the Jewish world and has successfully resurrected himself as a new-age guru. His name is Marc Gafni, and I actually know/know-people-who-know women whom he messed with. I heard about him years ago at a Shabbos table — some people who had left his sphere of influence were discussing his move to Boulder and said, “I don’t know why he keeps trying to work in the Jewish world. He should go to the new age — they don’t care about sexual propriety.” Apparently he had the same idea.

It surprises me not an iota that a sexual predator would become a prominent new-age guru. The guru-student relationship is fertile land for sexual misbehavior to flourish in. There are too many guru sexual predators to list, but I’ll highlight a few who were exposed relatively recently: John Friend of Anusara Yoga, Bikram Choudury of Bikram Yoga, Eido Shimano Roshi of New York Zen Studies Society, Joshu Sasaki Roshi of Rinzai-ji, Swami Shankarananda of Shiva School Of Meditation And Yoga, and Doug Phillips of Vision Forum.

They’re not just gurus. There are also mystics, sensitive new age guys, extremely “spiritual” people who are actually lowlifes, and activists/idealists who are in it for the booty. There are certain things they do; certain men they are. Look out for:

The Spiritual Man Who Thinks You’re Special: You are a light in the darkness to him. He is your teacher, and he sees soooooo much brilliance and potential in you. You are what he needs, and he is what you need — spiritually, of course. Or he wants to personally help you. You, more than anyone, are worth his precious spiritual energy and time.

The Spiritual Man Who Wants To See You Outside Of Class: Why would a charismatic, “enlightened” man want to see you outside of class? Why would he invite you into his home, into his inner-circle, into his family, or to his most exclusive retreats? Because he wants to do something inappropriate and he’s getting you used to being alone with him.

The Man Who Wants To Spiritually Connect With You — Through Your Body: This guy can take any scripture of any spiritual tradition and twist it to convincingly to mean that spiritual connection is best experienced through sexual connection. Selling teenagers into prostitution? Having multiple wives and mistresses? He’s got scripture to back it up.

The Spiritual Man Who Pierces You With His Eyes: His gaze is unbelievably powerful. When he looks at you, you swear he can see right to your soul. Why do they always pierce you with their eyes? It’s a move of control and dominance. I once had a creepy swami try to pierce me with his eyes, and I left his ashram within 10 minutes.

The Spiritual Man Who Wants To Touch You: Eyes on you turns into hands on you. He’s so spiritual that he wants to heal you hands-on. Or he invites you in for a private session only to reach up your shirt. Since he thinks he’s G-d, he feels entitled to your body. Question what he’s doing and he’ll back it up with scripture, or explain to you that it’s part of the teacher-student relationship.

The Spiritual Man Whose Love And Non-Attachment Are Superior To Everyone Else’s: He challenges you to be strong enough to handle his love. He’s not sure if you have what it takes to be loved by him, and he wants you to prove it. And/or he is a master of non-attachment. He wants to prove how good he is at not getting attached by getting intimate with you and not giving a crap. He convinces you that you are weak because you have human feelings, and he is strong and enlightened because he is a master of non-attachment. He’s not a womanizer — he’s just really good at not getting attached!

The Humble Man Who Talks About Himself — A Lot: I’ve met way too many of these guys. All conversations lead back to him. He is so humble that he doesn’t even have his own possessions or home — instead, he’s going to mooch off of you and other women. Counter something he says, and he’s going to throw the humble card at you: If you don’t agree with him (or you don’t flatter him), you’re arrogant. Since he is so humble, you are assaulting him by disagreeing with him.

The Very, Very Sensitive New Age Guy: This man has feelings. His feelings are very strong. You must never hurt his feelings, though he is free to hurt yours. He is a master of using psycho-babble and “non-violent communication”. You make him feel a certain way — he is never responsible for controlling his own feelings.

The Religious Man To Whom The Rules Don’t Apply: He sure knows all the rules. He can recite them backward and forward, in multiple languages (Sanskrit! Hebrew! Hindi!). He is fastidious in tiny details that inconvenience other people (his special way of washing his hands! his special diet!), but when it comes to, you know, like, not raping people, the rules don’t apply to him. His spiritual position entitles him to exploit you however he wants to!

The Crusader For Justice Who Makes You Feel Dumb: This man knows everything about justice. He knows the key to world peace. He quotes Marx, Mandela, and Maimonides in the same sentence. He knows Angela Davis personally. If there was a big protest, he was not only there but he was on the front lines fighting the cops and he has a scar on his inner thigh that he wants to show you to prove it. This man is committed to The Cause above all. So lofty is his goal that he doesn’t need to be nice to regular people like you. He can be nasty, denigrating, rude — all in the name of The Cause. Call him out on it and you’re siding with the oppressor.

The Married Man Who Tells His Marital Problems To You: This spiritual master has a spiritual advisor — a very famous guru — but even that guru can’t empathize with his marital problems. Thank the goddess that you can, though. It turns out that in every way that his wife lacks, you are just brimming over. Why can’t his wife be more like you, he asks you.

The Enlightened Man Who Tells You All About How Men & Women Are Supposed To Relate To Each Other/How Women Should Be: This guy is an expert on gender. He knows every religious or spiritual reason why women should be subservient to men. He presents his “knowledge” as absolute truth. If you don’t relate to him on his terms, he’ll educate you on how to be a better woman. He’s on a special mission to teach very young women (even girls) how to be women.

The Clergy Man/Guru Who Wants Your Money: He can convince almost anyone (and especially women) to financially support his “mission”. If it’s not by promising salvation if you give him money, it’s by inviting you to very, very expensive retreats. Want private healing sessions or lessons in spiritual practice? One way or another, you’ll pay for them.

Anybody Who Ideologically Justifies Polyamory: If he’s really “progressive”, this man can quote The Ethical Slut. And since his predecessors in his spiritual lineage had multiple wives, certainly he should have them. While he is free to enjoy his spiritually-sanctioned dalliances, you’re in big trouble if he even thinks you’re cheating on him. After all, it’s Tantra! Or it’s Christianity! Or Abraham had more than one wife! He has so much spiritual mojo that he is simply gifting it to all the women he’s intimate with. How dare you refuse his gift!?

The Healer Who Has A Special Treatment Just For You: This man has identified that something is wrong with you. There is something wrong with you that only he has identified because he is so enlightened. It is critical that he, and only he, heal you. What? Having sex with him is part of the treatment? How surprising!

A final word: These creepy guys are out there in droves, and almost everyone who is involved in religion and/or spirituality will meet one at some point. Nobody who is on a high spiritual level will pressure you for sex. Period. People who are genuine spiritual teachers or activists will speak to you respectfully. Full stop. There is a big difference between being wowed by the intelligent way a man speaks and being treated respectfully by that man. Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable, get out.
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