Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Principles of Enslavement

by Dragan

[The following reflections are excerpted from a comment previously submitted by former Andrew Cohen student Dragan]

How does Andrew do what he does? How is it that no one can tell that the emperor has no clothes?

There are several principles that Andrew has become a master of, the principles that have been known and are still known to the brainwashing rulers of the ages past and present.

First and most essential of all is the principle of having willing victims. Is there a need for enslavement services, so to speak? The need for the enslavement services is created by suppression of self-confidence (removing true independence), and by creation of fear. The willing victims, once they join, are further kept in line by intentionally created opposing forces, by using alternative punishment and reward, criticism and praise, by setting them against each other so much that those that were once brothers and sisters turn against each other. With constant frictions peace is destroyed, and ultimately, seemingly unbreakable dependence and inhuman isolation are created.

The willing victims have to be brought into the New Fold. For this, there is the principle of isolation. Isolation from one’s Old Life, from one’s History, from family and friends (in the community people were kept away from their dying relatives!), isolation from one’s own common sense (you cannot tell black from white, but have to be told what is black, what is white). This is replaced by New Family and New Common Sense that is subjected to new ideology, often based on High Principles, usually running on the lines such as Brotherhood, Equality and Freedom, in Andrew’s case it was Truth and Freedom, that are all good in theory but in practice fail miserably. However for the purpose of the game they never fail, because their function is to enslave – the brighter the principle the darker the blind spots that it creates in its victims.

Then, there is the principle of unquestioned authority and rigid hierarchical top-down structure. The power moves from the top down, only! The person on the top has to be an absolute despot, otherwise there is no real authority and no real obedience, at least according to the rules of this particular game. Each higher level within the structure has to rule the lower ones by the superior commitment and morality. The lower levels have a responsibility to admonish each other or report on each other to the higher levels, ensuring cheap and all-covering policing.

The principle of bottom-up economy says that the wealth has to flow upward! An absolute ruler on the top has to exploit the slaves below him (Andrew’s students not only give thousands of dollars and pounds but they also give their time and energy worth hundreds of thousands of pounds!) For the ruler’s power to thrive, the richer he is, and the poorer the slaves are, the better.

Then there is the principle of secrecy. While information about all of the activities in the structure, accurate or distorted, is programmed to reach the top of the pyramid, nothing of importance should leak downward. Ultimately, the top only knows the real purpose and the final destination. This ensures that power always remains where it should be, at the top.

In this Set-Up, it’s the principle that morality and responsibility are relative values, subject to change according to the whim from the top. The end justifies the means. Trauma is used as a tool to create more obedient subjects, all in the name of better future. Fear (terror if need be) and guilt are applied as cohesive elements. Love and Joy are morsels to be fed to the obedient.

Going hand in hand with the principle of secrecy is the principle of rampant propaganda. The truth is a commodity in the hands of a few – the top of the structure, the absolute despot(s), is the only possessor of the ultimate truth. The despot uses propaganda to invent New Words and New Meanings. Powerful old words, like “freedom”, “love” etc. are given New Meanings and are installed from the top down to rule over actions of the lower layers. The words become the goals. Through the power of propaganda and inverted meanings human values are turned upside down; blatant truths are shouted down as lies and vice versa, or the truth is given just a lip service.

Then there is the ‘I’m god’ principle, or the principle of SUPREME CONFIDENCE. The despot has to absolutely believe in himself. Everyone else has to treat the despot as if he was a god. The fear and unquestioning adulation is the most needed food for the ‘great one’ to carry on with his mission.

What is the ultimate goal of the ‘great one’, Andrew in this case? Could it be true that he is after the evolution of mankind, as he claims? Or, on the larger scale, could it be that our governments only want us to prosper and grow into happy, proud and strong human beings, as they claim? The situation on the ground testifies that this is not so. It’s again precisely opposite, the ones on the top set things up so that they prosper while the others slave away for them, slaves that have sacrificed their precious freedom for the so called Greater Good.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

To supplement Dragan's article, here is additional reading:

The section on 'Bipolar' is especially intriguing.



Sunday, 16 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dragan. thanks for breaking it down so clearly and so frighteningly. It is scary because any of us who've been "inside" know just how accurate your depiction of the cult of Andrew Cohen is.

Monday, 17 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somone asked earlier whether students were still making escapes in the night from Cohen's cult at Foxhollow. An earlier comment suggested that there were some "runners" even recently. Any information about this?

Monday, 17 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> First and most essential of all
> is the principle of having
> willing victims. Is there a need
> for enslavement services, so to
> speak?

We need to at least question whether the phrase "willing victim" is a contradiction in terms.

When people willingly enter into or remain in a situation, then why call them "victims" or "slaves"? Isn't the most critical distinction whether one is willingly doing something, vs being forced to do so?

There are real "victims" in the world, people whose freedom is restricted by others through violence or threats or outright lies. If we use the word "victim" to describe people willingly doing things we think are stupid, then the word loses its meaning.

There are valid issues to look at in the "Principles of Enslavement" post. They can be presented as "Here are some dynamics that are common in groups and relationships, and we should be aware of them, because if we enter such a relationship we can expect this type of result..."

The best thing is to spread information so that people can freely make better decisions on their own. Encouraging or allowing people who willingly make choices to consider themselves "enslaved" or "victims" takes away from them the conviction that their actions have consequences (as well as being an insult to REAL victims).


Monday, 17 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somone asked earlier whether students were still making escapes in the night from Cohen's cult at Foxhollow. An earlier comment suggested that there were some "runners" even recently. Any information about this?

I heard from an inside source that the What is enlightenment? editor Craig Hamilton ran from Fox Hollow center in the middle of the night. Later, they tried to make it seem like he left friendly. But I heard he ran away like so many others before him. That was pretty recent.

Monday, 17 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weird how in his latest "What Is Enlightenment" magazine editorial Andrew spins Craig Hamilton's leaving to make it seem all nice, like Andrew supported his "leaving the nest", as if it was just a career move or something. I also heard it from an insider at Foxhollow that he snuck away at night. Guess Andrew's trying to do damage control: after saying nothing to the formal students for so long about what happened with Craig, he now gives a public statement which gives a false impression of what really went down. (which was more like he "flew the coop" than "left the nest")

Tuesday, 18 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stuart, in response to your comment…

I wrote the article from the Manipulator's viewpoint, almost as their secret manual of enslavement. The goal was to investigate the mechanics of manipulation and deception in order to become conscious of them. The cult manipulators of the world (including the cult of today’s society at large) are more or less conscious of what they are doing. They go after their victims and they know they have to get their victim’s participation. The slave drivers have no real respect for those they manipulate and enslave, their disdain shows in their abusive actions. So seeing things from the manipulator’s viewpoint the “willing victim” is not a contradiction in terms and should not encroach on the sensibilities of the “victims”.

From the viewpoint of the “victim”, or shall I say the recipient of manipulation, yes, I consider myself responsible for participating in the charade, despite being deceived to believe that the party was a celebration of Greater Good. As someone said so rightly and passionately in one of the previous comments, the choice is always in our hands!

Tuesday, 18 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment again Dragan.

Are you a Logician or what?

You are making far too much sense lately!


Tuesday, 18 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the interesting things that this whole ongoing discussion brings up to me is that I feel that there are important aspects of Andrew's teachings on collectivity which get left behind when people leave the teacher.

There seems to be an emphasis on the blog about continuing one's own personal spiritual journey, trying to find some peace, well being, and truth, especially after being in abusive conditions.

I wonder if some amount of collective clarity and conscience can remain in a public group structure, in the absense of a focal point of authority, that would allow collectivity to exist, but not to the degree where it becomes a conditioned system of human interaction pregnant for political and personal power struggles and abuse.

Wasn't that whole open and spiritually interested environment what we were attracted to in the first place? The Sanga?

I'm just thinking out loud here, but. I'm sure this is possible. It's relevance may be worthy as a subject of some reflection.

Tuesday, 18 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciate the "collective clarity" post. Yes, we can come together in the truth if this is about an open, honest investigation but lately it seems quite polarized with a vested interested in villification.

Personally, I acknowledge the littany of wrongdoings documented here and recognize fundamental flaws in Andrew's character and approach. However, I certainly stop at pretending to ultimately know Andrew's intentions are as evil and malicious as the recent characterizations have painted him.

I won't dispute that Andrew's actions have caused unbelievable harm and suffering. I just don't see the leap where someone professes to know what goes on inside Andrew's head.

Tuesday, 18 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information about Cohen's supposed "blessings" to Craig Hamilton "leaving the nest". Having been a follower of Cohen for many years that editorial nod did seem suspect to me . We know all too well that Andrew never lets anyone close to him and in central positions in his organisation just decide to leave. You have to run or go through the sustained hell of the inquisition and guilt machine and sometimes even being confined to a "guarded" room if you voice your thoughts of leaving. So I'm glad Craig got out by whatever means. But the Cohen "spin" is really rediculously transparent because with all his hoopla right now about "victory" and all the fruition of his teaching work, if things are so great why would someone so close want to leave? Why now, at this very "potent" time, when so many students are waxing on and on about how "amazing" things are??? So in particular, someone of prominence leaving now really looks bad. And I suspect that as usual Andrew certainly wouldn't be giving a fond farewell to someone like Craig wanting to split. So what's a guru to do? Try to cover your ass by "spinning" the facts. I guess all this reconfirms what we've known all along -- that just below the super positive smiles at Foxhollow there seems to be trouble in "paradise".

Tuesday, 18 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much appreciation for Dragan's article, which clarifies the building blocks of a brainwashing system.

We don't know and it doesn't really matter what is going on inside Cohen's head. What is important for this discussion however, is to see and understand the visible facts.

Therefore, the recent disclosure of Craig's leaving on the hush is an important addition to clarity, exposing as it does yet another spin by Cohen, as well as raising a big question of whether there really is heaven on earth at Foxhollow.

This defeats the Principle of Secrecy, in which Cohen attempts to control what you find out about the real workings of the organization.

I would also like to add that I am aware of at least one more long time student who recently has left, though it's not known by me whether this person left in the dark.

Wednesday, 19 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dragan said...
> I wrote the article from the
> Manipulator's viewpoint, almost
> as their secret manual of
> enslavement.

Maybe there's value in this style of expression. It's just that your audience isn't one of manipulators, or aspiring manipulators.

> The goal was to investigate the
> mechanics of manipulation and
> deception in order to become
> conscious of them.

It's like... I once fell into this ditch, so after I get out, I want to put a big sign in front of it, so other people will be aware that it's there and can avoid it if they choose to. Also the sign may help ME avoid falling into the ditch on another day.

Maybe, metaphorically, it doesn't matter who dug the ditch or why they did so, whether they intended to trap me or whether it was an accident. What's important is to understand what *I* did that led to me falling into the ditch, and use that understanding to help myself and others avoid falling into other ditches elsewhere.

> The cult manipulators of the
> world (including the cult of
> today’s society at large) are
> more or less conscious of what
> they are doing.

That's the crux. The small point is that I'm not sure that that's true. Maybe some/many/all cult leaders aren't conscious of what they're doing, and are deluded themselves as much as they're deluding anyone else.

The bigger point is... does it matter? If I understand and correct my own mistakes, it'll protect me from intentional manipulators as well as accidental ones.

I mean, let's say I become an expert at spotting people who are consciously trying to manipulate me. OK, that's something, but it doesn't help me avoid ditches that weren't intentionally dug to trap me.

I find it an interesting and important matter to see how people lose their critical, independent thinking and end up following a leader or a group. And I always find it most efficient to concern myself with understanding the mistakes that *I* make, rather than analysing the evil intention of others.


Wednesday, 19 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
> I wonder if some amount of
> collective clarity and
> conscience can remain in a
> public group structure, in the
> absense of a focal point of
> authority

Speaking from my experience with different types of public groups... I think collective clarity is possible whenever people make a commitment to act together in some way, and to share some intention.

I personally don't like completely democratic groups; they too often lead to endless meetings. I prefer having a leader and a hierarchy. I feel that it's only necessary to draw the line at believing the leader is someone perfect or superior (rather than someone taking on a necessary job).

I also feel it's necessary that the collective intention involves acting together, but doesn't require thinking or believing the same way.

Wednesday, 19 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expanding on the article above and in search of greater clarity…

While it is important to isolate in order to influence, it is also of utmost importance to inspire people. The principle of motivation and inspiration is implemented by way of deception. The motivation is created by:

1) Hammering the famous Promise of Perfection, the promise of peace, security, abundance and happiness. It was the promise of enlightenment (that comprised all possible promises) in Andrew’s community.

2) Providing for people’s spiritual and other needs, such as need to belong and to socialise, need for intimacy, need for a family and home, for bliss, protection, love… at the same time conformity and fear of being different are encouraged. The price is pledge of obedience, loss of privacy and autonomy or the individual expression and ability to stand alone (another irony in Andrew’s community, where standing alone was given all the lip service in the world).

3) Fostering and installing of a powerful belief that the group is special and unique. Each person is encouraged to see themselves as a torch bearer, as a saviour of humanity. The result is a tremendous arrogance of the “insiders”. Note: Humility was one of the most praised virtues in Andrew’s community.

4) If the previous motivational tools fail to do their work the threat of hell (hell being any other alternative to a cult* life) and an accompanying character assassination are thrown into the formula. In some extreme cult cases, the threat of death is considered necessary.

Finally the principle of ruthlessness states that in order to make the manipulation work all other mentioned principles have to be implemented ruthlessly, without agonising about their morality.

I’d like also to mention, slightly at the tangent, the principle of spreading of ignorance, distraction and destruction that is widely practised in the cult that is our society at large. The principle’s belief is that people’s spiritual dimension is the greatest obstacle to a totalitarian control and it has to be annihilated. This is done by keeping the masses confused and ignorant of their true nature, by bombarding them with all types of distractions (popular culture, trivia, greed, fear, useless education, drugs, pornography, war…) and by destroying everything that is of life-enhancing value using any means possible, genocide included.

* Note: A cult is understood as a group of people adhering to a specific and commonly accepted belief system.

Wednesday, 19 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question I would like to ask the members of Andrew's community is, "What have all your efforts contributed to humanity?" The bottom line appears to be recruiting others to join in. Other than this, what good does all this passionate activity produce? There is much talk but no benefit to others that I can detect. No humanitarian service, no compassion to those in need, no healing of relationships, no increase in Consciousness resulting in dissolution of ignorance and the suffering it causes.
What is the point?

Wednesday, 19 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the interests of my friends still resident in the cult I contribute this poem. Surely some of you will read it.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
What you had to do, and began
Though the voices around you kept shouting
Their bad advice-
Though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles
Mend my life each voice cried
But you didn’t stop
You knew what you had to do.
Though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
At the very foundations,
Though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late
Enough and a wild night,
And the road full of fallen branches and stones
But little by little
As you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
Through the sheets of clouds
And there was a new voice which you slowly
recognized as your own,
and kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

Thursday, 20 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem Mary! You have captured the essence of the night-flight into LIFE, the willingness to walk alone into the Unknown, listening to the Inner Guidance that is with you always. You are so right about the one life that you can save...the one given to you to save.
Bravo! And thank you.

Thursday, 20 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to comment on those who talk about the vilification of Andrew and how we can't possibly know what's going on in his head.

He taught us all for years to years that what is going on in your head is not what is important, not at all. Your actions in the world are what are important, how you effect other people. I think it's clear that there is a mess in many peoples lives as a result of many of his own actions.

I just wanted to point that out.

Many of his own words in his early teachings speak directly against his own current actions.

There was an early article from Andrew on the relationship with your spiritual teacher that I can't find, if anyone knows what I'm talking about and has a link to it please post it, I'll do the same if I find it.

He is asked, how do you know if your guru is corrupt? And to paraphrase his answer, he says something to the effect of, 'it doesn't take a genius. There's a simple ethical code of conduct between humans that is obvious through common sense.'

Reading that article today in it's entirety is astounding.

And now a direct quote:

"As I said before, people are weak, weak-minded, and if someone is truly enlightened, they will have a very powerful mind and be very charismatic. People are easily overwhelmed by that. Because their heart has been awakened, because they have been deeply touched by something, they often don't care about anything else. And in order to protect that experience, they will often tolerate just about anything. This is dangerous. This is a corrupt condition that a great deal of the spiritual world is in these days. If the guru is corrupt and you're intimately involved with the guru, you can't help but be corrupt yourself. It's unavoidable. By association it's an automatic result. It's a very delicate business." ~ Andrew Cohen

Thursday, 20 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to respond to the person who asked what good Cohen has done in the world.

You mentioned several things and the one I wanted to respond to is this:

"no increase in Consciousness resulting in dissolution of ignorance and the suffering it causes."

Ken Wilber pointed out in this audio link:

that Andrew excels at a certain ability to abide in non-dual awareness, but that all evolutionary lines do not evolve at the same speed or level. He is very frank about the fact that this is Andrew's genius, but that at other levels of development, such as the interpersonal level, he is "lower", he says with a small laugh. He also mentions that he and Cohen have talked about this, so he's not going behind his back by mentioning this.

If the link doesn't work, go here:

and search for "Don't take it too seriously & evolutionary enlightenment".

Many people, including myself, have had remarkable and profound spiritual experiences in the presence of Andrew Cohen, and very few people deny that he has radically shifted his consciousness.

I guess now it's more of a question of, does that really outweigh where his students end up after being through his teaching process?

Andrew has said himself that he believes that many corrupt spiritual teachers have done more harm than good, despite being radically enlightened and being able to transmit spiritual experiences from self to self.

So, on the one hand, I believe many would agree that he has raised peoples consciousness in ways that do alleviate some ignorance and suffering. The question is, has that been outwheighed by the suffering caused by the cultish conditions at the various compouonds?

Something to consider.

Thursday, 20 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the comment about Andrew Cohen’s “genius” vs. his “underdeveloped lines” of “interpersonal” evolutionary maturity, my feeling is that those of us who have been close longtime students know that Andrew doesn’t really believe he is “underdeveloped” in any way that would significantly affect his ability as a spiritual teacher. And however much he respects Ken Wilber, Andrew doesn’t really buy Wilber’s assessment of himself that you mentioned. He simply doesn’t think that way. (see my article, “Either I’m crazy or...”) Cohen sees his enlightenment as a total revolution wherein his ego is no longer skewing his perception or significantly influencing his actions and decisions about anything, including how to treat students. Whatever flaws he thinks he may have, he believes they are so insignificant as to be relegated to mere personality preferences, mild neuroses (that he sees as endearing) or perhaps an easily rectifiable lack of expertise or education in certain areas. This stance that never acknowledges the possibility of any blind spot is a dangerous one for any spiritual authority and mentor with responsibilities for the lives of others.

In an almost ironic way, Andrew’s awakening came under the guidance of a teacher -- Poonjaji (Papaji) -- who both led him to his transcendent awakening experience, and simultaneously seemed to reinforce in him the notion that he was “finished”, or perfected. Poonjaji later tried to dispel that notion once reports of Andrew’s abuse on students reached him. But Andrew made it clear that it was everyone else who had the problem. He felt his teaching methods only perfectly revealed how much people didn’t want to “face the truth” about themselves. Poonjaji said nothing directly to Andrew, but just let the man do what he was determined to do. He did, however try to help the situation by sending another newly “awakened” disciple, Gangaji, out to teach. Initially she was sent specifically to try to heal those students who had been harmed by Andrew. Because his teacher’s statements and actions put Andrew’s fairy tale story of being the perfected and “chosen one” in jeopardy, Andrew disavowed his guru, saying that he had surpassed him. Andrew’s dangerous and well-honed ability to turn a deaf ear to any criticism (and even scorn the critics themselves) was in place from the very beginning of his teaching work. And so it seems to me that despite Andrew’s gift of being able to impart to people a real experience of non-dual awareness, this narcissistic self-blindness defines his immaturity on an “interpersonal” level --- a level which might otherwise be informed by a compassionate wisdom. The end result of this disastrous mixture can be seen here in the many accounts of inept and abusive treatment at the hands of our trusted teacher, who we naively believed was in all ways the real deal.

Friday, 21 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely the only indicator of the attainment of a teacher is the success of his students in reaching the desired goal. There has not been one successful student proclaimed by Andrew after 20 years of non-stop teaching. The goal is stated as being committed to an enlightened "future". If this isn't the carrot dangling in front of the nose, what is it? As long as the desired result is ahead, somewhere in the future, there is no accountability and the fault can be laid to rest at the feet of the students who never seem to "get there".
So what is this "International organization committed to an enlightened future" doing NOW? How are their actions going to bring about enlightenment when those who sit at the feet of the "Master" and dedicate their entire lives to the cause can't get it themselves? How will this ineffectual process help humanity to wake up, especially when the adherents take themselves out of relationships with their family and humanity as a whole. When we were involved, I thought that we were causing less suffering because we were gaining an impersonal perspective. Obviously, reading the entries on this blog, there is plenty of suffering going on right in community, as well as the suffering caused to families and children abandoned by the students.
There are no results from this teacher.

Friday, 21 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
> [according to Ken Wilber} Andrew
> excels at a certain ability to
> abide in non-dual awareness, but
> that all evolutionary lines do
> not evolve at the same speed or
> level.

I keep on coming across a style of teaching that uses the word "non-dual" in the service of profoundly dualistic views. For instance, Andrew supposedly abides in non-dual awareness. Such awareness makes no distinctions, so why this talk about "evolution"? Evolutions towards *what*? How could one be concerned with different "levels" and "speeds" of getting to them, if everything already is the same substance?

It's amazing to me that Wilber gets away with such complete self-contradiction. First talking about the non-dual (no distinction), and in the same breath creating 10,000 distinct levels and evolutionary paths yada yada.

> Andrew has said himself that he
> believes that many corrupt
> spiritual teachers have done
> more harm than good, despite
> being radically enlightened and
> being able to transmit spiritual
> experiences from self to self.

Sometimes, "enlightenment" can be a useful teaching word. I won't contest that. But if one makes it into something more, if one holds a belief that enlightenment is some "thing" that you can and should "get"... what's the point of that? Who cares about the name; if this idea of "enlightenment" brings more harm than good, why do that?

Likewise, no one can contest that some people have the skill to induce special experiences in others. (For instance, Bruce Springsteen can induce euphoria in stadiumsful of people; the examples are endless.) But if ultimately the experience doesn't do any good, why call it "spiritual"??

Like "enlightenment", "spiritual" may be OK as a teaching word, but why to cling to it as if it were something special and inherently worthwhile? Isn't the unexamined clinging to these words/concepts exactly what gives rise to all the problems?

> So, on the one hand, I believe
> many would agree that he has
> raised peoples consciousness in
> ways that do alleviate some
> ignorance and suffering. The
> question is, has that been
> outwheighed by the suffering
> caused by the cultish conditions
> at the various compouonds?

Any person, any organization, has mixed good and bad effects. Take any religion. It can help people let go of selfish attitudes by replacing them with devotion to the group or ideal. And it hurts people because they're now clinging to the group or ideal itself, creating "us/them" and "holy/unholy" conflicts plaguing the world.

It's like a medicine that cures one disease while causing another. Andrew's teaching has helped people get beyond egotistical attachment to their individual ideas and desires. And it's replaced them with the group's (or the leader's) ideas and desires.

Each of us has to see for himself the traps of attachment, so we can avoid the traps at the individual and at the group level, and use any type of group or situation in service of keeping clear and compassionate.

Friday, 21 April, 2006  
Blogger Hal said...

An anonymous commenter asked about, and then quoted from, an old article by Andrew Cohen that seems to accurately describe what went wrong with Andrew's community and Andrew himself:

There was an early article from Andrew on the relationship with your spiritual teacher that I can't find, if anyone knows what I'm talking about and has a link to it please post it, I'll do the same if I find it.

The article is "Spiritual Slavery and Prostitution of the Soul." It can be found at Sarlo's guru rating site:

It is worth reading (or re-reading) because it is amazing how in it Andrew seems to accurately describe what, since the article was written, has happened to him and what has become the dilemma of his own students. It is uncanny how Andrew seems to have become what he most criticized, as if what he was most afraid of became his reality, despite himself.

Saturday, 22 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday I came across another blog that I think is real good:

What caught my attention in particular is the April 21 entry, which includes discussion of "The Abuse of Power in Zen," which connects very clearly with the issues dealt with here at "WHAT enlightenment??!"


Tuesday, 25 April, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Principles of Enslavement are an interesting exercise, but it's debatable whether they truly explain the dynamics and intentions behind the community's evolution.

Was anybody else struck dumb and blind by this nonsense of soul development ? It's pretty frightening to imagine a teacher suddenly telling me that I've got this individual thing that is pivotal to my enlightenment that he forgot to tell me about before and oh yeah, I've got to look to him to guide me in developing this individual thing because liberation isn't possible otherwise. Pardon my French, but wtf? Impersonal enlightenment meets the Celestine Prophecy? Maybe this ties in with the folk-pop Reincarnation angle of the last journal. Seems like a major corruption (destruction?) of a previously pure teaching.

Thursday, 04 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the last comment about the new "soul" teachings...

Yes, it bothers me a bit. But the teachings must "evolve", thus there must always be new lingo. It's not the "community", it's.... "the Revolution!"

The thing that distresses me the most about all of this as time rolls out is that I begin to see a common line in all of the "teaching" language, a line that leads to one thing. Control. It leads me increasingly to lose faith in even the written/spoken word.

As long as Andrew posses "the way", and the way is to give everything, and to trust your "best intentions", ie Andrews intentions, you must surrender everything.

The teachings start to sound more and more as a rally cry to his mission. But to what end?

A better planet? Or bleeding your money, conscience, and sanity at his feet, so he can laugh and feel that this world is evolving?

Forgive me for being a bit lost here. It's just that it's all starting to appear clearly manipulative to me, and for little reason. Far from what attracted me to his presence initially. And at first I thought maybe just the teacher was askewed, but now it appears to be blasting through the teaching. How could it not I suppose.

Thursday, 04 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew is due to appear with Lama Surya Das who is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars.

He has spent nearly thirty years studying Zen, vipassana, yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism with the great old masters of Asia. I am certain that the Lama would not appear with Andrew if he understood Andrews true nature and attitudes toward Buddhism

Please take the time to send a personal note to the Lama at the email address below.

Thursday, 04 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
> The teachings start to sound
> more and more as a rally cry to
> his mission. But to what end?

This is something that has struck me about similar groups. People are constantly talking about and extolling "the teachings." But if I ask them, "What exactly are the teachings," they get a blank stare, as if they haven't examined that question in a long time.

I recently visited a Center that claimed to be carrying forth the teachings of Ramana Maharishi. There were pictures of him all around, sacred ash from his ashram in India, and on and on.

If you read Ramana's talks, you can see that every talk he ever gave centered on the importance of asking "Who am I?" So the leader of this Center meets me, and asks, "Have you been following Ramana's teachings?" I say, "Well, I always keep the great question." And she looks at me puzzled and says, "What question is that?"


Friday, 05 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew is talking about the soul but just a quick read shows that he defines "soul" as a capacity for x. Therefore he is not talking about anything different than what he was talking. I don't see how he is introducing a new "individual thing".

Friday, 05 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrew is the advita shuffle embodied!

Sunday, 07 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When trolling for fish, the smart fisherman will frequently change the bait, especially if the old one isn't getting a big enough catch.

Monday, 08 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew got caught, because he Andrew tried to start something new. There are no new truths. Truth is so pure that you can't touch it. It has to touch you.

He didn't believe in anyone being special, and yet he wanted to come up with something that had never been touched on, so he could be the one bringing in the new way of being. Big flop....

Monday, 08 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> When trolling for fish, the
> smart fisherman will frequently
> change the bait, especially if
> the old one isn't getting a big
> enough catch.

I used to deal in casinos, and they'd change the interior decoration, the carpet and such, very frequently. Turns out that lots of change, even if it's trival, *does* attract attention and customers.

There seems to be a similar dynamic with Andrew introducing "latest teachings." I believe he's even calling his earlier teachings "classic," just as Coke did when "new" Coke was introduced.

Adi Da does the same thing by frequently changing his name.

In Andrew's new teaching, best I can tell, improving the "soul" simply means trying to adopt different types of thinking or behavior. The new stuff will be deemed "improved" if it approaches an arbitrary standard of the way you "should" be.

In the case of Andrew, the guru provides this arbitrary standard. In the case of a Sunday School, it's the Bible. Otherwise, isn't this soul improvement already well covered by traditional Judeo-Christian morality?

I'm not denying that Andrew may have set up his own, different standards for people to strive for. I'm just saying that the structure -- telling people they're OK only if they think and act in this particular way -- is really bland old hat.

Honestly, if I'm missing something, I'd like someone to explain to me what's attractive about the new teaching.


***** I've updated the 'Spiritual' page of my website; see *****

Friday, 12 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Stuart for your thoughts on 'what is the great
answer and does Andrew Cohen have it' You are obviously right that there is no it to get, but we can only know that when all the questions stop or we can see them for what they are; thoughts and ideas. Andrews teachings have a way of making me question everything I ever thought I knew including who he is and what is his place as a teacher. This goes for any teacher, any situation. Ultimately if I/you/anyone has fear of him/teacher/situation then we have fear...Fear is fear, so what. If we go to Iraq we are likely to have much more fear and perhaps justly so. I say 'so what' but I don't mean to be flippant. Fear comes from so many places but what is it? This is a question for all of humanity, obviously.
Despite this being an Andrew critical site, I do feel I must remain as objective as possible and will not engage in any backbiting or hatred of any kind. If we hate or do down others we are really bringing these things upon ourselves never mind what they or anyone has done to us.

On a lighter note has anyone listened to The Advaita
Show? Look it up on the internet, “Sailor Bob Adamson”, now there's some profound but light relief from all the intensity. Love and good luck,

Sunday, 14 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not much going on here at the moment. What is the latest news?

Friday, 19 May, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that in this examination of the relationship between teachers and followers, you are growing the culture. In a different thread I read 'Andrew Cohen is no Tilopa', but as one who has suffered at the hands of the Tibetans, I say, think again. Maybe Tilopa was no Tilopa! Maybe events will create a myth around Andrew Cohen after we are all long gone.
The thing about culture, though, is that the people around Tilopa had some context for making sense of him, and I think that's what we need. As things like shakti, kundalini, crazy wisdom etc. become better known, maybe people will not be such lost little lambs as we were.
Maybe people could be willing participants without being victims, in some pretty unusual situations which might even look like slavery. It all depends upon the psychology.
This is where I see our way forward - a better understanding of psychology. Already we know that psychodynamics have nothing to do with intelligence or virtue. It was not stupid or bad for me to be a slave to Trungpa, just vulnerable and uninformed.
Yes, pop psychology can descend into obfuscating buzzwords, but progress is being made. Linking an understanding of poor ego boundaries with spiritual insights about ego, for example, can be very powerful medicine.
We need a very calm and clear atmosphere to work on this stuff, and the tight control over content published here is a great start.
And it doesn't all have to be about Andrew Cohen.

Friday, 20 October, 2006  

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