Over zealous protection of the NKT’s reputation and possible bullying?

Below is a letter sent to us by a concerned witness of an uncomfortable forum wrangle with people claiming to be members of the NKT…

(Omission of name requested)
 
Dear friends and servants of Manjushri, you are invited to read a discussion thread on Rick Ross’s cult
education message board.
 
Rick already had some information about NKT in the website archives and no one had, to my knowledge, complained about that. But the moment a new correspondant showed up and asked a question on RR.coms message board, NKT was suspiciously quick to send in its troops. Its enough to make one wonder if they monitor cyberspace discussions.
 
On October 4th, a newly registered member named Judy posted a request for assistance on RR.com message
board. She had begun to meditate at an NKT center and had started feeling some concern, did some online
searches and, feeling yet more perturbed, asked assistance in making sense of the jungle of information.
 
You can read what ensued on the discussion thread.
 
http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,61584,page=1
 
It is noteworthy that within about 24 hours, 3 different pro-NKT loyalists showed up, trying hard to invalidate those who have sought to disseminate information about the ways NKT has deviated from the Buddhist precepts.
 
Fortunately some other RR.com members intervened and provided information, and Mr Ross as moderator, took a very strong stance.
 
But this indicates that persons trying to do research may find themselves in a schoolyard bully situation if
they do not conduct inquiries in a cybervenue that has a vigilent and effective anti-bullying policy.

In another email sent us, this worried party went on to say…

A good test from any group, or family, whether Buddhist or not, is to ask what their attitude is
toward the three great matters of old age, illness and death.
 
Exploitative groups and families follow a policy of use-and-dispose—as long as someone is healthy productive, makes the group look good, they’re good as gold.
 
As soon as someone is ill or becomes old enough to require reciprocal care from the group after all their years of service…they’re discarded.
 
I see two recurring themes again and again:
 
A characteristic feature of a cult (or a dreadful private relationship) is the charismatic leader or group elicits, even demands loyalty and devoted service from its members, but is unable to reciprocate that loyalty in return. It is all one sided.
 
A double standard of compassion. There is infinite compassion for the leader, or for the public reputation
of the group. But for underlings, there is only contempt. Only the powerful and wealthy are worthy of compassion.
 
In a true sangha, if there is a power hierarchy it is to create a practice environment that is justand supports the practice of all, regardless of their rank and station in life. No preferential treatment is given to the rich, the powerful and the beautiful, at the expense of those who are older, poorer or ill.
 
(And of course the Dharma teachings are perverted to state that any attempt to point this out as unjust is evidence that one is ego driven, prisoner of afflictive emotion. Emptiness actually means interconnectedness–it does not mean a moral void where powerholders are free to run riot with no consquences for their actions.)
 
Many bows. To repeat, I consider that it is Right Speech to identify patterns of harm that are already being done, and to provide accurate information about potential pitfalls so that those new to practice can avoid these if they are able to heed the warnings.
 
We have no idea how much time we have left to live. This by itself is reason enough to offer people truthful information so they can, if they wish, avoid being side tracked  if they choose to explore the Buddhadharma.
 
I think it noteworthy that the place where, outside of temples and dharma centers, I have seen I have seen genuine Buddhist monks the most often, whether Tibetan, Chinese, or Theravedan, has been at our local vegetable markets and in the halls of the City College campus. And, none go about doing formal outreach.

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