The Guru's Trap
File under: The Siddhi of PR
The Guruphiliac Yahoo! group continues to produce. Discussion participant Jody (no, not us) offers up a link to the False Guru Test at EnergyGrid.com. Actually, we've already covered this test here.
But we didn't cover this pretty decent article about gurudom found on the same site:
Throughout history, there have been many fine and upstanding gurus who have taught the path to enlightenment and have demonstrated a great kindness and love for humanity. Usually (but not always), they have been from Eastern cultures which has a culture and a mythology which encourages such development. These cultures are also deep enough to prevent any particular guru from hijacking ancient wisdom and using it to his or her own end, although they have, of course, produced some charlatans — individuals who have feigned enlightenment for individual glory, attention and through expectation. Fortunately, the damage of their masquerade is somewhat limited by a system that pretty much defines a guru's general behaviour, and offers many alternatives teachers.Unforunately, not any more. Sri Sri, the Kracki, the Babaster and others have all hijacked the wisdom for individual glory... and they're running with it.
Author Andrew P continues with the break down:
Problems arose when gurus started moving out of their original cultural context and set up ashrams and spiritual centres in Western societies. Suddenly, he found himself (and it usually was a he) in a situation far different from that which he was used to, one which challenged his "enlightenment" in ways that it had never been challenged before. Most coped with the challenge admirably, seeding Western spirituality with genuine paths to awakening. However, a string of shameful abuses (sex, alcohol, drugs, power and general excess) were perpetrated by a few high profile gurus, despite their brilliance as teachers. Many of their students, who had opened their hearts and minds (and wallets) to these "masters", were used and abused. (Tibetan Buddhism — with the exception of a few brilliant rogues like Trungpa — tends to be the least abusive because the training a monk goes through is institutionalized in universities of spiritual learning and involves many different teachers. This system is therefore far less open to abuse than one operated by a single despotic guru lineage.)Unchallenged enlightenment leads to unchallenged miracle-mongering, and the next thing you know you've got a world-wide pyramid scheme running.
We'll do our best to lead a charge, but y'all have to help. Please send whatever you can in the way of tips and information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.