Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Corruption of Power

In December 1998, Andrew is in Amsterdam again for his semi-annual visit. This time I go to the teachings, to check out how it strikes me now. I am surprised that I don’t feel any connections with him, that his teaching sounds like a broken record. His talk about killing the ego in order to find freedom now sounds fundamentalist to me. What was so thrilling about that? During his talk Andrew gives an example of the viciousness of the ego by talking about another student of his that left him a few days before, a rich American woman. He calls her a narcissist and speaks about how she once gave him two million dollars for his Foxhollow center, but was unwilling to give up her ego. I am shocked and upset by his derisive and aggressive tone of voice. He’s throwing a tantrum in public at a student who gave him two million dollars! I find the whole thing unbecoming, to say the least.

As a matter of fact I know the woman in question, and a few days later I manage to speak with her on the phone. She is devastated and outraged by Andrew’s public treatment of her, not only because of the humiliation, but in particular because she had believed and trusted that Andrew would keep the two million dollar donation confidential. Listening to her story, a chilling picture emerges. Andrew had actually solicited the two million dollars from her, which amounted to over 80% of her total assets. She had been deeply upset and confused about what to do because she felt she could no longer continue to be his student if she said no. She loved the community, Andrew, and the spiritual path. Two of Andrew’s students had talked to her repeatedly over several weeks. Finally she had given in and promised to donate the money. She believed it would be serving the world, since the estate of Foxhollow would allow others to have access to Andrew’s teachings. Complicating maters, the money was not immediately available from a family trust. Andrew exerted pressure on her to rush the donation as he had already proceeded with the purchase of the property. The rushed transaction resulted in a loss of a great deal of money and she seriously risked losing her family relationships. In retrospect she described his request as a corruption of power. It’s a story that makes me nauseous.
-Andre Van der Braak, Enlightenment Blues


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ, it is all so ghastly familiar with Cohen; what else he would not do to further his ferocious ambition and power. I really feel for the lady who was blatantly manipulated and bullied here and it begs belief that he dared to speak about her in such dreadful and derogatory terms. Without her he would be nowhere and this is just another all too familiar "thank you" from Cohen to yet another one of his ex students. Just... this one happened to give him $2,000,000!! But hold on dear reader, get the RIGHT VIEW on this before making your bound-to-be-personal conclusion. Looking more impersonally you will clearly see that the "Master" actually went out of his way here to help this narcissistic student to go beyond her self obsession. I mean, wouldn't you let go of your £2,000,000 (if you happened to have it) to be blessed by such an act of godly compassion?

Sunday, 05 December, 2004  

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