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The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

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Divine Right of Kings
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/19

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The theory of divine right was developed by James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), and came to the fore in England under his reign as James I of England (1603–1625). Portrait attributed to John de Critz, c. 1605

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Augustus as Jove, holding scepter and orb (first half of 1st century AD).[1] The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified Roman emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State. The official offer of cultus to a living emperor acknowledged his office and rule as divinely approved and constitutional: his Principate should therefore demonstrate pious respect for traditional Republican deities and mores. Many of the rites, practices and status distinctions that characterized the cult to emperors were perpetuated in the theology and politics of the Christianized Empire.[2]

The divine right of kings, divine right, or God's mandate is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm. It implies that only God can judge an unjust king and that any attempt to depose, dethrone or restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act. It is often expressed in the phrase "by the Grace of God", attached to the titles of a reigning monarch.

Origins

Outside of Christianity, kings were often seen as either ruling with the backing of heavenly powers or perhaps even being divine beings themselves. However, the Christian notion of a divine right of kings is traced to a story found in 1 Samuel, where the prophet Samuel anoints Saul and then David as mashiach or king over Israel. The anointing is to such an effect that the monarch became inviolable, so that even when Saul sought to kill David, David would not raise his hand against him because "he was the Lord's anointed".

Adomnan of Iona is one of the earliest Christian proponents of this concept of kings ruling with divine right. He wrote of the Irish King Diarmait mac Cerbaill's assassination and claimed that divine punishment fell on his assassin for the act of violating the monarch. Adomnan also recorded a story about Saint Columba supposedly being visited by an angel carrying a glass book, who told him to ordain Aedan mac Gabrain as King of Dal Riata. Columba initially refused, and the angel answered by whipping him and demanding that he perform the ordination because God had commanded it. The same angel visited Columba on three successive nights. Columba finally agreed, and Aedan came to receive ordination. At the ordination Columba told Aedan that so long as he obeyed God's laws, then none of his enemies would prevail against him, but the moment he broke them, this protection would end, and the same whip with which Columba had been struck would be turned against the king. Adomnan's writings most likely influenced other Irish writers, who in turn influenced continental ideas as well. Pepin the Short's coronation may have also come from the same influence.[3] The Carolingian dynasty and the Holy Roman Emperors also influenced all subsequent western ideas of kingship.

In the Middle Ages, the idea that God had granted earthly power to the monarch, just as he had given spiritual authority and power to the church, especially to the Pope, was already a well-known concept long before later writers coined the term "divine right of kings" and employed it as a theory in political science. For example, Richard I of England declared at his trial during the diet at Speyer in 1193: "I am born in a rank which recognizes no superior but God, to whom alone I am responsible for my actions", and it was Richard who first used the motto "Dieu et mon droit" ("God and my right") which is still the motto of the Monarch of the United Kingdom.

With the rise of nation-states and the Protestant Reformation in the late 16th century, the theory of divine right justified the king's absolute authority in both political and spiritual matters. Henry VIII of England declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and exerted the power of the throne more than any of his predecessors. As a political theory, it was further developed by James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), and came to the force in England under his reign as James I of England (1603–1625). Louis XIV of France (1643–1715) strongly promoted the theory as well.

Scots texts of James VI of Scotland

The Scots textbooks of the divine right of kings were written in 1597–1598 by James VI of Scotland despite Scotland never having believed in the theory and where the monarch was regarded as the "first among equals" on a par with his people. His Basilikon Doron, a manual on the powers of a king, was written to edify his four-year-old son Henry Frederick that a king "acknowledgeth himself ordained for his people, having received from the God a burden of government, whereof he must be countable". He based his theories in part on his understanding of the Bible, as noted by the following quote from a speech to parliament delivered in 1610 as James I of England:

The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. There be three principal [comparisons] that illustrate the state of monarchy: one taken out of the word of God, and the two other out of the grounds of policy and philosophy. In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the Divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families; for a king is truly parens patriae [parent of the country], the politic father of his people. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man.[4]


James's reference to "God's lieutenants" is apparently a reference to the text in Romans 13 where Paul refers to "God's ministers".

(1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (5) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (6) For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. (7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.[5]


Western conceptions

Main articles: Sacred king and Theocracy

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Louis XIV of France depicted as the Sun King.



The conception of ordination brought with it largely unspoken parallels with the Anglican and Catholic priesthood, but the overriding metaphor in James's handbook was that of a father's relation to his children. "Just as no misconduct on the part of a father can free his children from obedience to the fifth commandment",[6] James also had printed his Defense of the Right of Kings in the face of English theories of inalienable popular and clerical rights. The divine right of kings, or divine-right theory of kingship, is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including (in the view of some, especially in Protestant countries) the church. A weaker or more moderate form of this political theory does hold, however, that the king is subject to the church and the pope, although completely irreproachable in other ways; but according to this doctrine in its strong form, only God can judge an unjust king. The doctrine implies that any attempt to depose the king or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act.

One passage in scripture supporting the idea of divine right of kings was used by Martin Luther, when urging the secular authorities to crush the Peasant Rebellion of 1525 in Germany in his Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, basing his argument on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 13:1–7.

It is related to the ancient Catholic philosophies regarding monarchy, in which the monarch is God's vicegerent upon the earth and therefore subject to no inferior power. However, in Roman Catholic jurisprudence, the monarch is always subject to natural and divine law, which are regarded as superior to the monarch. The possibility of monarchy declining morally, overturning natural law, and degenerating into a tyranny oppressive of the general welfare was answered theologically with the Catholic concept of extra-legal tyrannicide, ideally ratified by the pope. Until the unification of Italy, the Holy See did, from the time Christianity became the Roman state religion, assert on that ground its primacy over secular princes; however this exercise of power never, even at its zenith, amounted to theocracy, even in jurisdictions where the Bishop of Rome was the temporal authority.

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Antichristus,[7] a woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder, of the pope using the temporal power to grant authority to a ruler contributing generously to the Catholic Church

Catholic justified permission

Catholic thought justified submission to the monarchy by reference to the following:

1. The Old Testament, in which God chose kings to rule over Israel, beginning with Saul who was then rejected by God in favor of David, whose dynasty continued (at least in the southern kingdom) until the Babylonian captivity.

2. The New Testament, in which the first pope, St. Peter, commands that all Christians shall honour the Roman Emperor (1 Peter 2:13–20), even though, at that time, he was still a pagan emperor. St. Paul agreed with St. Peter that subjects should be obedient to the powers that be because they are appointed by God, as he wrote in his Epistle to the Romans 13:1–7. Likewise, Jesus Christ proclaims in the Gospel of Matthew that one should "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's"; that is at first, literally, the payment of taxes as binding those who use the imperial currency (See Matthew 22:15–22). Jesus told Pontius Pilate that his authority as Roman governor of Judaea came from heaven according to John 19:10–11.

3. The endorsement by the popes and the church of the line of emperors beginning with the Emperors Constantine and Theodosius, later the Eastern Roman emperors, and finally the Western Roman emperor, Charlemagne and his successors, the Catholic Holy Roman Emperors.

The French Huguenot nobles and clergy, having rejected the pope and the Catholic Church, were left only with the supreme power of the king who, they taught, could not be gainsaid or judged by anyone. Since there was no longer the countervailing power of the papacy and since the Church of England was a creature of the state and had become subservient to it, this meant that there was nothing to regulate the powers of the king, and he became an absolute power. In theory, divine, natural, customary, and constitutional law still held sway over the king, but, absent a superior spiritual power, it was difficult to see how they could be enforced, since the king could not be tried by any of his own courts.

Some of the symbolism within the coronation ceremony for British monarchs, in which they are anointed with holy oils by the Archbishop of Canterbury, thereby ordaining them to monarchy, perpetuates the ancient Roman Catholic monarchical ideas and ceremonial (although few Protestants realize this, the ceremony is nearly entirely based upon that of the Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor).[citation needed] However, in the UK, the symbolism ends there, since the real governing authority of the monarch was all but extinguished by the Whig revolution of 1688–89 (see Glorious Revolution). The king or queen of the United Kingdom is one of the last monarchs still to be crowned in the traditional Christian ceremonial, which in most other countries has been replaced by an inauguration or other declaration.[citation needed]

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Charles I of England, with a divine hand moving his crown

The concept of divine right incorporates, but exaggerates, the ancient Christian concept of "royal God-given rights", which teach that "the right to rule is anointed by God", although this idea is found in many other cultures, including Aryan and Egyptian traditions. In pagan religions, the king was often seen as a kind of god and so was an unchallengeable despot. The ancient Roman Catholic tradition overcame this idea with the doctrine of the "Two Swords" and so achieved, for the very first time, a balanced constitution for states. The advent of Protestantism saw something of a return to the idea of a mere unchallengeable despot.

Thomas Aquinas condoned extra-legal tyrannicide in the worst of circumstances:

When there is no recourse to a superior by whom judgment can be made about an invader, then he who slays a tyrant to liberate his fatherland is [to be] praised and receives a reward.

— Commentary on the Magister Sententiarum[8]


On the other hand, Aquinas forbade the overthrow of any morally, Christianly and spiritually legitimate king by his subjects. The only human power capable of deposing the king was the pope. The reasoning was that if a subject may overthrow his superior for some bad law, who was to be the judge of whether the law was bad? If the subject could so judge his own superior, then all lawful superior authority could lawfully be overthrown by the arbitrary judgement of an inferior, and thus all law was under constant threat. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, many philosophers, such as Nicholas of Cusa and Francisco Suarez, propounded similar theories. The Church was the final guarantor that Christian kings would follow the laws and constitutional traditions of their ancestors and the laws of God and of justice. Similarly, the Chinese concept of Mandate of Heaven required that the emperor properly carry out the proper rituals and consult his ministers; however, this concept made it extremely difficult to undo any acts carried out by an ancestor.

The French prelate Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet made a classic statement of the doctrine of divine right in a sermon preached before King Louis XIV:[9]

Les rois règnent par moi, dit la Sagesse éternelle: 'Per me reges regnant'; et de là nous devons conclure non seulement que les droits de la royauté sont établis par ses lois, mais que le choix des personnes est un effet de sa providence.

Kings reign by Me, says Eternal Wisdom: 'Per me reges regnant' [in Latin]; and from that we must conclude not only that the rights of royalty are established by its laws, but also that the choice of persons [to occupy the throne] is an effect of its providence.


Zoroastrianism

Main article: Khvarenah

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Ahura Mazda gives divine kingship to Ardashir.

Khvarenah (Avestan: 'xᵛarənah;' Persian: far) is a Zoroastrian concept, which literally means glory, about divine right of the kings. In Zoroastrian view, kings would never rule, unless Khvarenah is with them, and they will never fall unless Khvarenah leaves them. For example, according to the Kar-namag of Ardashir, when Ardashir I of Persia and Artabanus V of Parthia fought for the throne of Iran, on the road Artabanus and his contingent are overtaken by an enormous ram, which is also following Ardashir. Artabanus's religious advisors explain to him that the ram is the manifestation of the khwarrah of the ancient Iranian kings, which is leaving Artabanus to join Ardashir.[10]

Divine right and Protestantism

Before the Reformation the anointed king was, within his realm, the accredited vicar of God for secular purposes (see the Investiture Controversy); after the Reformation he (or she if queen regnant) became this in Protestant states for religious purposes also.[11]

In England it is not without significance that the sacerdotal vestments, generally discarded by the clergy – dalmatic, alb and stole – continued to be among the insignia of the sovereign (see Coronation of the British monarch). Moreover, this sacrosanct character he acquired not by virtue of his "sacring", but by hereditary right; the coronation, anointing and vesting were but the outward and visible symbol of a divine grace adherent in the sovereign by virtue of his title. Even Roman Catholic monarchs, like Louis XIV, would never have admitted that their coronation by the archbishop constituted any part of their title to reign; it was no more than the consecration of their title.[12]

In England the doctrine of the divine right of kings was developed to its most extreme logical conclusions during the political controversies of the 17th century; its most famous exponent was Sir Robert Filmer. It was the main issue to be decided by the English Civil War, the Royalists holding that "all Christian kings, princes and governors" derive their authority direct from God, the Parliamentarians that this authority is the outcome of a contract, actual or implied, between sovereign and people.[12]

In one case the king's power would be unlimited, according to Louis XIV's famous saying: "L' état, c'est moi!",[12] or limited only by his own free act; in the other his actions would be governed by the advice and consent of the people, to whom he would be ultimately responsible. The victory of this latter principle was proclaimed to all the world by the execution of Charles I. The doctrine of divine right, indeed, for a while drew nourishment from the blood of the royal "martyr";[12] it was the guiding principle of the Anglican Church of the Restoration; but it suffered a rude blow when James II of England made it impossible for the clergy to obey both their conscience and their king. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 made an end of it as a great political force. This has led to the constitutional development of the Crown in Britain, as held by descent modified and modifiable by parliamentary action.[12]

Divine right in Asia

In early Mesopotamian culture, kings were often regarded as deities after their death. Shulgi of Ur was among the first Mesopotamian rulers to declare himself to be divine. This was the direct precursor to the concept of "Divine Right of kings", as well as in the Egyptian and Roman religions.

Mandate of Heaven

Main articles: Mandate of Heaven and Son of Heaven

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The Emperor of Japan rules as a divine descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu

In China and East Asia, rulers justified their rule with the philosophy of the Mandate of Heaven, which, although similar to the European concept, bore several key differences. While the divine right of kings granted unconditional legitimacy, the Mandate of Heaven was dependent on the behaviour of the ruler, the Son of Heaven. Heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, but it could be displeased with a despotic ruler and thus withdraw its mandate, transferring it to a more suitable and righteous person. This withdrawal of mandate also afforded the possibility of revolution as a means to remove the errant ruler; revolt was never legitimate under the European framework of divine right.

In China, the right of rebellion against an unjust ruler had been a part of the political philosophy ever since the Zhou dynasty, whose rulers had used this philosophy to justify their overthrow of the previous Shang dynasty. Chinese historians interpreted a successful revolt as evidence that the Mandate of Heaven had passed on to the usurper.

In Japan, the Son of Heaven title was less conditional than its Chinese equivalent. There was no divine mandate that punished the emperor for failing to rule justly. The right to rule of the Japanese emperor, descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu, was absolute.[13] The Japanese emperors traditionally wielded little secular power; generally, it was the duty of the sitting emperor to perform rituals and make public appearances, while true power was held by regents, high-ranking ministers, a commander-in-chief of the emperor's military known as the shōgun, or even retired emperors depending on the time period.

Sultans in Southeast Asia

In the Malay Annals, the rajas and sultans of the Malay States (today Malaysia, Brunei and Philippines) as well as their predecessors, such as the Indonesian kingdom of Majapahit, also claimed divine right to rule. The sultan is mandated by God and thus is expected to lead his country and people in religious matters, ceremonies as well as prayers. This divine right is called Daulat (which means 'state' in Arabic), and although the notion of divine right is somewhat obsolete, it is still found in the phrase Daulat Tuanku that is used to publicly acclaim the reigning Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the other sultans of Malaysia. The exclamation is similar to the European "Long live the King", and often accompanies pictures of the reigning monarch and his consort on banners during royal occasions. In Indonesia, especially on the island of Java, the sultan's divine right is more commonly known as the way, or 'revelation', but it is not hereditary and can be passed on to distant relatives.

South Asian kings

In Dravidian culture, before Brahmanism and especially during the Sangam period, emperors were known as இறையர் (Iraiyer), or "those who spill", and kings were called கோ (Ko) or கோன் (Kon). During this time, the distinction between kingship and godhood had not yet occurred, as the caste system had not yet been introduced. Even in Modern Tamil, the word for temple is 'கோயில்', meaning "king's house".[14] Kings were understood to be the "agents of God", as they protected the world like God did.[15] This may well have been continued post-Brahminism in Tamilakam, as the famous Thiruvalangadu inscription states:

"Having noticed by the marks (on his body) that Arulmozhi was the very Vishnu" in reference to the Emperor Raja Raja Chola I.


Rights

Historically, many notions of rights were authoritarian and hierarchical, with different people granted different rights, and some having more rights than others. For instance, the right of a father to respect from his son did not indicate a right for the son to receive a return from that respect; and the divine right of kings, which permitted absolute power over subjects, did not leave a lot of room for many rights for the subjects themselves.[16]

In contrast, modern conceptions of rights often emphasize liberty and equality as among the most important aspects of rights, for example in the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

Opposition

Further information: All men are created equal

In the sixteenth century, both Catholic and Protestant political thinkers began to question the idea of a monarch's "divine right".

The Spanish Catholic historian Juan de Mariana put forward the argument in his book De rege et regis institutione (1598) that since society was formed by a "pact" among all its members, "there can be no doubt that they are able to call a king to account".[17][18] Mariana thus challenged divine right theories by stating in certain circumstances, tyrannicide could be justified. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine also "did not believe that the institute of monarchy had any divine sanction" and shared Mariana's belief that there were times where Catholics could lawfully remove a monarch.[18]

Among groups of English Protestant exiles fleeing from Queen Mary I, some of the earliest anti-monarchist publications emerged. "Weaned off uncritical royalism by the actions of Queen Mary ... The political thinking of men like Ponet, Knox, Goodman and Hales."[19]

In 1553, Mary I, a Roman Catholic, succeeded her Protestant half-brother, Edward VI, to the English throne. Mary set about trying to restore Roman Catholicism by making sure that: Edward's religious laws were abolished in the Statute of Repeal Act (1553); the Protestant religious laws passed in the time of Henry VIII were repealed; and the Revival of the Heresy Acts were passed in 1554. The Marian Persecutions began soon afterwards. In January 1555, the first of nearly 300 Protestants were burnt at the stake under "Bloody Mary". When Thomas Wyatt the Younger instigated what became known as Wyatt's rebellion, John Ponet, the highest-ranking ecclesiastic among the exiles,[20] allegedly participated in the uprising.[21] He escaped to Strasbourg after the Rebellion's defeat and, the following year, he published A Shorte Treatise of Politike Power, in which he put forward a theory of justified opposition to secular rulers.

"Ponet's treatise comes first in a new wave of anti-monarchical writings ... It has never been assessed at its true importance, for it antedates by several years those more brilliantly expressed but less radical Huguenot writings which have usually been taken to represent the Tyrannicide-theories of the Reformation."[20]

Ponet's pamphlet was republished on the eve of King Charles I's execution.

According to U.S. President John Adams, Ponet's work contained "all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated on by Sidney and Locke", including the idea of a three-branched government.[22]

In due course, opposition to the divine right of kings came from a number of sources, including poet John Milton in his pamphlet The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, and Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense. Probably the two most famous declarations of a right to revolution against tyranny in the English language are John Locke's Essay concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government and Thomas Jefferson's formulation in the United States Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal".

See also

• Absolute monarchy
• Ancien Régime
• Arahitogami
• Caliphate
• Church and state in medieval Europe
• Concordat of Worms
• Constitutions of Melfi
• Cuius regio, eius religio
• Exclusive right
• First Council of the Lateran
• Legitimacy (political)
• Prerogative
• Robert Bellarmine
• Robert Filmer
• Royal touch
• Sovereignty
• The True Law of Free Monarchies
• Vindiciae contra tyrannos

References

1. The imperial cult in Roman Britain-Google docs
2. Allen Brent, The Imperial Cult and the Development of Church Order: Concepts and Images of Authority in Paganism and Early Christianity before the Age of Cyprian (Brill, 1999)
3. Adomnan of Iona. Life of St Columba. Penguin Books, 1995
4. A speech to parliament (1610).
5. Romans 13:1-7
6. that is, the commandment: "Honor your father ..." etc., which is the fifth in the reckoning usual among Jewish, Orthodox, and Protestant denominations, but to be according to the law, yet is he not bound thereto but of his good will ..."
7. Passional Christi und Antichristi Full view on Google Books
8. McDonald, Hugh. "Some Brief Remarks on what Thomas has to say on Rebellion and Regicide". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
9. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet. Sermons choisis de Bossuet. Sur le devoir des rois. p. 219, Image
10. Kar namag i Ardashir 4.11.16 and 4.11.22-23.
11. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Phillip, Walter Alison (1911). "King § Divine Right of Kings". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 806.
12. Phillip 1911, p. 806.
13. Beasley, William (1999). "The Making of a Monarchy". The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan. University of California Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-520-22560-2.
14. Ramanujan, A.K. (2011). Poems of Love and War: From the Eight Anthologies and the Ten Long Poems of Classical Tamil. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-15735-3.
15. N. Subramanian (1966). Śaṅgam polity: the administration and social life of the Śaṅgam Tamils. Asia Pub. House.
16. "Divine Right of Kings". BBC. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2009-12-21. [...] the idea that a king was sacred, appointed by God and above the judgment of earthly powers [...] was called the Divine Right of Kings and it entered so powerfully into British culture during the 17th century that it shaped the pomp and circumstance of the Stuart monarchs, imbued the writing of Shakespeare and provoked the political thinking of Milton and Locke. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
17. Baer, Robert V. Power & Freedom: Political Thought and Constitutional Politics in the United States and Argentina ProQuest, 2008 ISBN 0549745106 (pp. 70–71)
18. Blumenau, Ralph. Philosophy and Living Imprint Academic, 2002 ISBN 0907845339 (pp. 198–199)
19. Dickens, A. G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 399.
20. Dickens, A. G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 391.
21. Dickens, A.G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 358.
22. Adams, C. F. (1850–56). The Works of John Adams, with Life. 6. Boston. p. 4.

Further reading

• Burgess, Glenn (October 1992). "The Divine Right of Kings Reconsidered". The English Historical Review. 107 (425): 837–861. doi:10.1093/ehr/cvii.ccccxxv.837.

External links

• The Divine Right of Kings on In Our Time at the BBC
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:35 am

Natural Hierarchy

 A person does not need a philosophical background to believe in the existence of a natural hierarchy, wherein gods are superior to men and men to animals, or to observe that humans speak while animals do not. Moreover, humans are prone to mistaking what is normal for what is natural, a tendency that could easily lead to the use of nature as a normative standard for human behavior. The same tendency could also prompt a person to suppose that it is natural for animals to serve humans, and that they are naturally suited to doing so, since they normally fulfill that function. Neither view depends on any particular theory of nature or creation. The more sophisticated doctrines developed by the philosophers – and teleology should probably be counted among them – elaborate on and combine these habits of thought, and were probably made plausible by the conventional notions which gave rise to them. No other explanation, I think, could account for the readiness with which writers draw upon teleological ideas, and assume the understanding and acceptance of the audience. ....

I pointed out in a previous section that the Romans considered human society and social relationships to be part of nature. Thus, it would take only a short leap of logic to arrive at the conclusion that the human social order is or should be an extension of the natural order. By that reckoning, the natural hierarchy would be a paradigm for and justification of the social hierarchy. More than that, however, it would mean that the social hierarchy is part of the natural hierarchy, and that legal status distinctions do or should coincide with the natural distinctions of the scala naturae. To put it another way, legal status distinctions do or should coincide with distinctions in both purpose and type. If human society is teleological by nature, then the lower orders have been created for the purpose of serving the higher orders. Because they have been designed for this lower purpose, they possess a less perfect type. Therefore, the lower orders of humanity are innately inferior to the higher. According to this reasoning, social inequality is not merely formal, but reflects or should reflect the natural inequalities that exist between intrinsically different kinds of human. This view would provide a possible explanation for class specific man-animal comparisons. If some classes of people are less fully, perfectly human than others, then they are closer to animals. Moreover, if a certain class of human and a certain class of animal fulfill a similar purpose, than they should theoretically possess a similar nature....

It is easy to see how these ideas about human status could have interacted with ideas about animals and the scala naturae, to give rise to the notion that the scales of human and animal, social and natural status are one and the same. If the Romans were accustomed to think that there is a natural hierarchy of animals, ranked by their usefulness to human society, and if they traditionally recognized a hierarchy of humans, ranked by their usefulness to society, then the common measure of worth, usefulness, might well have prompted an analogy between the two hierarchies, or even an outright conflation of the two. The assumption that humans, like animals, are naturally supposed to serve society would have practically ensured such a conflation; to people who habitually assessed human worth in terms of utility, it would have suggested that utility is a natural standard of value for humans, as it is for animals. By this reasoning, the animal and human hierarchies are both natural, with the same natural criterion of value and standing. This view lends itself to the assumption that the two hierarchies actually comprise one, continuous scale of worth for animal and human, just as the scala naturae is one, continuous scale of inter-species worth.

Varro’s assimilation of slave and herd animal displays this pattern of thought. As I noted in the previous section, the idea of a natural hierarchy wherein all animals are subordinate to humans, and individual types are ranked by their usefulness to humans, is very much in evidence. Social status also plays a part in the text, in that Varro talks about slaves and “slave” is a human social status. Animals’ utility determines their worth to the human community, and so their standing, and the same is true for people. Varro defines servitude as an economic role, and this role or function dictates how he discusses and valuates slaves. Thus, Varro assesses man and animal by the same standard, which leads him to assign the same status to each. Because they fulfill a similar productive function, herd animals are a kind of slave, and slaves are a form of herd animal. This constitutes a conflation of natural and social status, since the social category “slave” is assimilated to the natural category “herd animal”, and the natural category “herd animal” is assimilated to the social category “slave”.

Varro also reveals one last assumption which may have contributed to the tendency to regard natural and social status as equivalent: herd animals are, in a limited way, members of the human community. I have observed that he treats domestic animals as natural slaves, as creatures destined by nature to serve man. That much we have seen elsewhere. However, he makes a point of recognizing their absolute necessity to man, as well. According to the Res Rustica, therefore, domestic animals are essential participants in the human community. They might even be considered partners, albeit unequal ones, since they engage in an exchange of vital services with their human masters. Only through cooperation between the two species can both survive. This circumstance might suggest that domestic animals are actually part of human society. If they are part of human society, then the natural category “herd animal” is a social category, too. Thus, the lowest member of the natural hierarchy, as a member of human society, is also the lowest member of the social hierarchy. Since “herd animal” is a social category, humans can belong to it, as well, if they meet the definitive criterion.Conversely, animals can belong to an ostensibly human social category, if they meet the definitive criterion. Because, as I have argued, the definitive criterion for both “herd animal” and “slave” is the same – to be useful in a certain manner – a legal slave is automatically a type of herd animal, and a herd animal a type of slave. In this way, man and animal occupy the same position in society, with the result that the status “herd animal” and the status “slave” can be used interchangeably to denote one natural social position.

The equation of slave with herd animal – and, more broadly, the equation of the social and natural hierarchies – is reflected in the language used to describe animal and human status. I have pointed out that the ancients regarded herd animals as slaves; accordingly, they were often associated with the vocabulary of subservience, the same vocabulary which was applied to servile humans. I have also discussed the long tradition of likening slaves to herd animals. Aristotle’s theory of natural slavery, as I showed in the previous chapter, makes use of both conventions. We have now seen that Varro, too, draws upon both tendencies in the Res Rustica. The fact that the Romans defined slave and herd animal in terms of each other, and classified one as a form of the other, shows that they did not differentiate between the natural and the social as we do. They could not conceptualize either state without reference to the other. As a result, the language used to talk about the natural status of animals, and that employed for human social standing, are hopelessly entangled. In chapter 1, I examined the most famous republican example of this phenomenon: the prologue of the Bellum Catilinae. There, Sallust utilizes the imagery of domestic animals and of slavery in close conjunction, in order to comment on what is naturally appropriate and inappropriate for humans of free standing.

Varro also offers examples of this linguistic and conceptual entanglement. I have talked at length about the fact that he describes field hands and shepherds, who both occupied a very low socio-economic station, by comparing them to herd animals. The conflation works in the opposite direction, as well: just as nature and animals inform the status of humans, so humans and society inform the ranking of animals. This occurs most clearly in the sections about pigs and oxen, whom Varro specifically locates within the hierarchy of herd animals. Pigs, he claims – quoting the old joke – were given by nature for feasting on; and so they were granted life instead of salt, to preserve the meat (2.4.10). As I explained before, the point here is that pigs provide humans with just one commodity, meat. Nature, then, created them for that one reason, in order to be killed and eaten. Until a pig can fulfill this destiny, the entire purpose of its life is to keep the meat fresh. Although the words “useless” and “worthless” never appear in the text, the joke assumes that a living pig is useless and therefore worthless. Cicero is more explicit: he actually applies the word “worthless” to swine. The proverbial uselessness of pigs no doubt prompted his characterization of Verres as a nequam verres, “worthless boar” (Verrines 2.1.121). Obviously a pig is neither useless nor worthless to itself. The designation “worthless pig” only makes sense if the pig is judged and ranked within the context of human society, according to its utility to humans. Its humble position is a kind of social status, in that it reflects the pig’s value to human society, as measured by the standards of that society. The pig is also inferior in relation to other herd animals, since utility determines the value and standing of them all. Furthermore, because the joke invokes natura, it attributes the pig’s lowliness to a natural order and plan. Thus, a brief witticism about pigs illustrates how men and animals, society and nature, are all subsumed into a single ranking system: to be worthless among herd animals, worthless to man, and worthless by nature, are all one and the same thing.

The equation of natural and social status is even more obvious in the passage about oxen, where Varro uses human social labels to indicate the value and standing of animals. He asserts that the ox is the socius hominum (2.5.3). Anything that can be a socius occupies, by definition, a social category. He also calls the ox a Cereris minister (2.5.3). Minister normally refers to a human job and its attendant, servile status. Here, then, is an example of the language of human servitude, linked to an animal. Moreover, and more surprisingly, he attributes to cattle the maxima auctoritas among herd animals (2.5.3), as well as maiestas (2.5.4). He tags a bull nobilis (2.5.3). These are words usually associated with the aristocracy. To express the prestige of the most important animals, Varro has borrowed from the language of the Roman elite, who were the most important humans. The text therefore demonstrates the conceptual and verbal overlap between man and animal, social and natural. In this case words from the sphere of human social relations have been applied to an animal, as a way to emphasize the value of its natural function.....


Macer compares plebs to herd animals:

Therefore all have now yielded to the mastery of a few... in the meantime you, in the manner of herd animals, offer yourselves, a multitude, to individuals for use and enjoyment, after having been stripped of everything which your ancestors left you…


According to this passage, the supposed servitude of the plebs, and their likeness to herd animals, consist of two elements: economic exploitation, and their willingness to be so exploited. Even though Macer does not explicitly mention herd animals again, these two concepts are both fundamental to the rest of the speech. The idea of the domestic animal – the perfect, natural slave – therefore shapes his portrayal of the plebs’ slavery and its opposite state, their freedom.....

A few powerful men ... have seized these goods. Thus the plebs can be said to offer themselves “for the use and enjoyment” of such men: the plebs’ ... labor, voluntarily undertaken, is enriching these individuals rather than the plebs themselves. Here, as we have seen elsewhere, ideological servitude and mastery exist where there is a relationship of economic exploitation: one who works for the profit of another man is a slave, one who keeps the profit from another man’s work is a master. If they were really free men, as opposed to slaves and herd animals, the plebs would be enjoying the fruits of their own labor.

Economic exploitation is one aspect that the plebs have in common with herd animals, who are also slaves. The other similarity is the plebs’ apparent acceptance of their exploitation, signaled by Macer’s accusatory use of the word praebetis. The plebs actually yield themselves up for servitude ... passively letting other men take the profits. The comparison turns on the belief that herd animals are slaves by nature. They always accept their lot with passivity and willingly labor for the benefit of human masters, because they have no alternative; they serve and obey in accordance with inescapable, natural impulses. This idea appears prominently elsewhere in Sallust. As I explained in the first chapter, it plays a part in the prologue of the Bellum Catilinae. There, herd animals are employed as a negative model, an extreme to avoid, precisely because they have no choice but to behave slavishly.


In keeping with the pattern outlined above, Macer’s speech does not posit that the plebs are naturally slavish or subhuman; in fact, it asserts the opposite. The oration draws its persuasive and emotive power from the tension between the servile role forced upon the plebs, and their naturally free and human character. Precisely because they are not slaves or animals by nature, they can choose not to submit to treatment which is unsuitable for human beings; they can choose to reclaim a truly human living situation by rising up and taking what is rightfully theirs. Therefore the reference to herd animals is in fact a clarion call to action. The plebs’ noble masters have imposed upon them a condition of economic servitude, a condition equivalent to that of slavish herd animals. They will continue to be treated like animals, and resemble them in character, if they do not correctly utilize their human faculty of choice and exercise their will to act. We see now why Macer claims that the struggle for liberty, even a losing one, befits a brave man, and why he later urges the plebs to remember and recreate the manly deeds, virilia illa, of their ancestors (15). The choice to resist, the will to freedom, the struggle itself is naturally appropriate to a man, utterly denied to a herd animal.

Although Macer only mentions herd animals once, the themes established in that one sentence continue throughout the speech. The negative example of the herd animal therefore remains very much in the foreground. Sections 14-16 dwell on the idea that the plebs are willingly submitting to their servitude, by supporting the designs of their self-appointed masters (like herd animals).
Macer accuses his audience of having a weak spirit, animus ignavus, since they are not mindful of their liberty outside of the assembly. All the power is actually in their hands, he claims, because they can choose to carry out or not to carry out the very commands which are imposing their slavery. The plebs are putting such orders into effect by executing them, and are thus rushing to enact their own servitude (like herd animals). Since their slavery depends on their connivance, they could win their freedom simply by refusing to cooperate.....

To labor endlessly for the benefit of others, without protest, is the naturally appointed lot of herd beasts. Unless the plebs want to share that fate, they must exert themselves....


Even Cicero utilizes the idea of plebeian economic exploitation when it suits him, which indicates that it was indeed a trope, and one with rhetorical currency. During his consulship, Cicero spoke against an agrarian law put forward by Publius Servilius Rullus, tribune of the plebs. The second of his speeches on the subject, De Lege Agraria 2, was delivered before the popular assembly. In this oration, Cicero had to convince the bill’s ostensible beneficiaries, the Roman people, that the proposal was actually contrary to their interests.... He portrays the promise of land distribution as a ruse, one which will enable a few powerful men to enrich themselves at the expense of the plebs.

The main thrust of Cicero’s argument is introduced in section 15, where he reveals the “true” aims of the bill’s promulgators. These men, he claims, will be established as kings and masters of the treasury, the revenues, all the provinces, the entire republic, the kings, the free peoples, and, finally, the whole world. ... He asserts that, in the proposed law, nothing is given to the citizens, but all things are gifted to certain men, that lands are held out before the Roman people while even their liberty is snatched from them, that the money of private individuals is augmented and public money drained, and that kings are set up in the state..... If, after hearing his speech, the citizens believe that a plot has been laid against their liberty, they should not hesitate to defend their freedom, obtained and handed down to them by the sweat and blood of their ancestors. Like Sallust’s tribunes, Cicero urges the plebs to action, emphasizing the need for will and struggle with his reference to blood and sweat....

The bill apparently called for ten land commissioners, decemvirs, to raise funds by selling public property; once the funds had been raised, they were to purchase land in Italy on which to settle colonies of Roman citizens.
Cicero devotes much of his oration to insisting that the decemvirs will pocket the proceeds from the sale of public property (35-62), neglecting to purchase the necessary land or to establish proper colonies (63-71). After making his case, Cicero concludes by posing the question, quid pecuniae fiet? What will become of the money? His final answer: “The decemvirs will hold all the money, not a field will be bought for you; after your revenues have been alienated from you, your allies harassed, and the kings and all the nations emptied, those men will have the money, you will not have fields”.


-- The Measure of All Things: Natural Hierarchy in Roman Republican Thought, by Erika Lawren Nickerson, 2015


Pan-Germans embraced the belief that the Aryans had stood at the top in the natural hierarchy of races and that the distinction of being the least polluted survivor of the Aryans belonged to the Germanic (or Nordic) race, of which the Germans made up the principal part.

-- We Men Who Feel Most German: A Cultural Study of the Pan-German League 1886-1914, by Roger Chickering


The Führerprinzip (German for "leader principle") prescribed the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich. This principle can be most succinctly understood to mean that "the Führer's word is above all written law" and that governmental policies, decisions, and offices ought to work toward the realization of this end. In actual political usage, it refers mainly to the practice of dictatorship within the ranks of a political party itself, and as such, it has become an earmark of political fascism.

The Führerprinzip was not invented by the Nazis. Hermann von Keyserling, an ethnically German philosopher from Estonia, was the first to use the term. One of Keyserling's central claims was that certain "gifted individuals" were "born to rule" on the basis of Social Darwinism.

The ideology of the Führerprinzip sees each organization as a hierarchy of leaders, where every leader (Führer, in German) has absolute responsibility in his own area, demands absolute obedience from those below him and answers only to his superiors. This required obedience and loyalty even over concerns of right and wrong. The supreme leader, Adolf Hitler, answered to God and the German people. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has argued that Hitler saw himself as an incarnation of auctoritas, and as the living law or highest law itself, effectively combining in his persona executive power, judicial power and legislative power. After the campaign against the alleged Röhm Putsch, Hitler declared: "in this hour, I was responsible for the fate of the German nation and was therefore the supreme judge of the German people!"


-- Fuhrerprincip [Fuehrer Principle], by Wikipedia


In his presentation of the Shambhala teachings, Rinpoche said that law and order have to do with the natural hierarchy that exists in the world. He used the four seasons as a good example of this nonvertical sense of order and predictability in life. Rinpoche felt that society should have a similar sense of orderly flow.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


Natural Hierarchy

By the same token, I have always encouraged both older and newer students to take initiative where they see fit, to jump in if it is truly beneficial, not to wait for the perfect conditions to come about, or for me to formally direct them or invite them to participate. It is not necessary for everyone to have specific instruction from me personally. When it rains, you don’t ask the clouds how to grow vegetables. You take the water and you grow vegetables. This is the notion of society. The role of the Sakyong is to provide space, to protect the space, so that the flowers can blossom. The sun does not pull the flowers up to the sky; the flowers grow, reaching toward heaven. If heaven is too close, the flowers will not exert themselves. Therefore the organization is necessary as the extension of the Sakyong’s ability to provide and protect the space.

The Sakyong is the centre of the Shambhala mandala. The centre of the mandala manifests as the Kalapa Court, the seat of the Sakyong and the heart of his government. The energy generated within the Court radiates outwards through the teachings, culture, and structure of the mandala. The energy that is generated toward the Kalapa Court is harnessed by the organization. It is not the role of the organization to dampen or suffocate. If it becomes too thick, its members tend to become complacent and irritated. When it can extend the energy of the Court as the basis of inspiration, the members of the community look in and around themselves for solutions, realizing their responsibility to motivate themselves and to communicate with others. This process is not simply one of administration, but also of education, since the curriculum must also reflect an understanding of the individual.

This is the primary teaching within the literature on natural hierarchy. Specifically, it means that yourself, as well as the rest of the leadership of the mandala, need to facilitate this dissemination of energy from the Kalapa Court. You must organize the mandala and extend communication in the most effective way. All the members of our community have strong virtues and diverse qualities. They need not base their situation upon whether they are participating as a member of these administrative groups. Those who are members should be functional, practical, and energetic individuals who have chosen to fully participate in and organize our community. But we need to wean ourselves away from thinking that if we are not in one of these groups, we have no real function in our organization. The more clearly we understand this, the more smooth the transition will be for the individuals leaving or entering administrative roles. Thus the society becomes healthy.

The nature of phenomena is change and fluctuation. When a rider has truly taken his seat, from a distance he seems steadfast in the saddle. However, to maintain this equilibrium, both horse and rider are balanced in a state of constant fluctuation. The relationship between the administration, the organization, and the society will likewise fluctuate.

Rather than specifying how we initiate these societal endeavours and inspirations, I leave it to you to disseminate this understanding and view, letting others know the importance and uniqueness of what we are doing—building a society. It is important that we all recognize that being involved at this point and engaging in socially enriching activities is part of the process. Rather than being handed the entire basket and its contents, we are learning how to pick fruits and vegetables and place them in our container of social initiative.

-- Treatise on Society and Organization, A communication from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to Richard Reoch, President of Shambhala,17 March 2003


Functions and structure of the court

These relationships within the court revolve around the Sage King, who is the centre of the court. He has people on his left and right sides, everyone at his or her appropriate position and distance: ministers, governors, generals, advisors, etc. When a king receives his subjects - the relationships are clear, visible and therefore natural hierarchy can arise. In this context the order of Heaven <-> Earth <-> Man can be equated with King <-> Ministers <-> Subjects. This is also clear from the description provided in 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'In Kalapa, the capital, the dharma king of Shambhala first executed the primordial Ashe. On his right sat ministers on tiger-skin seats; on his left, queens on leopard-skin seats; before him, dapons on bear-skin seats; surrounding his domain, the Rigden dralas (..,)'. When a king receives his subjects - the relationships are clear, visible and therefore natural hierarchy can arise.

In the context of a Shambhala Centre this notion of a King, his advisers and subjects can be translated into the order of Heaven <-> Humanity <-> Earth. This means that people (humanity) are appointed to a certain post within the centre and they are responsible for translating the view of the teachings (heaven) into the actual workings of the centre (earth). There is a large responsibility that comes with such a post. The right people should be appointed to the right post, for mismatches can cause harm
.. In 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'If the horse has no saddle, there is no dignity in riding. If the sun had no rays, the people would be blind. If the warrior has no sword, the blessings of the dralas cannot be gathered (...)'.

In a Shambhala Centre it also means that people should have a proper seat, not only on a board or as a title, but also a real physical seat. This means that a number of people - especially the director and the Rusung - should have a desk in an office from which to work. The function pertains to the role and position and duties individuals hold within the court: who does what.

A Shambhala Court should be viewed as a mandala, another expression of the word 'container.' In a mandala different levels exist all of them connected through a bright and clear path. In the table below, the various levels of the mandala are indicated according to the various traditions as well as the functions and activities of those levels.

-- Kanyu, Fengshui and Court Energetics, Based on the teachings of Eva Wong, edited by Peter C. van der Molen


Letter to Vajradhatu Board of Directors
by Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
November 28, 1989

VAJRADHATU
An Association of Buddhist Meditation Centers
28 November 1989

Dear Vajradhatu Sangha Member:

It was in January that I last addressed all of you. At that time, I informed you of my plans for retreat and requested everybody to continue with the practice and study of the dharma as given to us by the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. It has been a turbulent year. In some sense, the turbulence has expressed the naked and raw quality of our emotions, and at the same time has, in my mind, provided deeper access to understanding fully our own commitment. Some of this has been extremely embarrassing. However, as we have been taught, shedding the fortification of ego is not only embarrassing but painful.

Now it appears to me that it is time for all of us to take some definite steps to go forward, personally and as a sangha. It is time for us to re-examine as thoroughly as we can our practice and our place in this life.We all have a particular seat. We all have our innate worth. However, only the dharma can bring about that kind of equanimity and understanding.

Fortunately, the Vidyadhara was ruthless in working with his own students in this respect: he did not hand people solutions, did not provide baby food to grownups, and was constantly warning all of us of the dangers of spiritual materialism, self-made gurus, and spiritual trips. In this way he created Vajradhatu to carry on the authentic dharma which is not based on ego and the deceptions of mara. He let every one of us live out our karma in the context of a larger vision and a larger world. For that we should be eternally grateful.

How shall we now proceed to fulfill the Vidyadhara’s wishes and to fulfill our own lives? First of all, I feel that it is necessary for all of us to abandon ill will and negativity toward each other. Sometimes thoughts become so vivid that they stick in the mind like real entities. And as we might have experienced in our practice, no matter what we do, it is hard to dissolve them. Even if we practice all the different techniques, sometimes we still cling to negative feelings and emotions. Therefore, I feel we must practice as Milarepa did when encountering the demons in his cave. After trying all the techniques he could think of, he finally embraced the demons and said, “All rights, let’s play together.”

Please understand that I am not advocating some kind of love and light approach to the strong or bitter feelings we might have. I am not advocating lip service as practice. We must do this – for our own happiness and for the teachings to continue. There is no other way. If we carry with us even the slightest suspicion which could produce hatred, then we will find ourselves living in the hell realm, when our intention is to practice the dharma.

As for myself, I hold no grudges toward anyone, nor do I wish to see anyone suffer because of anything I may do or have done. At the same time, it is supremely important that all of us understand clearly the reality of cause and effect, so that we can impartially contemplate how situations such as this occur, and how they can be boycotted, as Rinpoche used to say. Panic brings about fear, fear brings about frozen space. Frozen space brings about the appearance of ego. It was my feeling a year ago and it is my feeling now that if we would not have panicked, but actually stuck together as a family, as a sangha, we could have boycotted the tremendous upheaval that occurred, and at the same time made great progress in our understanding. Since this process of ego is continually going on, we undoubtedly will have a chance to work on this again. However, we might as well start fresh right now.

I have been working on my health, with the help of the guru’s blessing and the blessings of the late Very Venerable Kalu, Rinpoche and of course His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse, Rinpoche, and also Trogawa, Rinpoche. Sometimes I feel great, sometimes not so good. Even so, I feel it is time once again for me to take up active leadership of Vajradhatu and the Nalanda Foundation, and depending on my health, give the various teachings that are necessary for people to progress along the path. Therefore, I would like to announce my intention to grant the Vajrayogini Abisheka in late May at Karme Choling, and to preside over the 1990 Vajradhatu Seminary at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. Everyone will be kept informed with regard to the technicalities such as application forms, etc. Those are the teaching commitments that I would like to make at this time. I will stay on retreat until then.

Finally, I would like to make it completely clear as to my understanding of lineage and especially what was given to me as sacred trust by the Vidyadhara. As I have said, all of us have a place in this mandala, and none is higher or worth more or lower or worth less than any other. Nevertheless, in order for karma to ripen, in order for the dharma to bear fruit, there must be one lineage holder in whom resides the spiritual and temporal authority to say “Yes” or “No”. That karma has fallen to me. The samaya of my relationship to my own duty for me is beyond good and bad, success and failure. And having been warned over and over again by the Vidyadhara about the dangers of democracy, I must reiterate the nature of this command. At the same time, everyone is invited into the boiling pot of chaos which is our world. Everybody is appreciated for who they are. So the real middle way is neither authoritarian nor democratic, but simple the natural hierarchy based on the blessings of the Buddha and the Victorious Lineage.

In conclusion, I would like to wish everybody excellent health, wonderful dharma experiences, and worldly success of all kinds. Keep smiling.

With Blessings,
Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin


The Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God. The chain starts with God and progresses downward to angels, demons (fallen/renegade angels), stars, moon, kings, princes, nobles, commoners, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals and other minerals.

The Great Chain of Being (Latin: scala naturae, "Ladder of Being") is a concept derived from Plato, Aristotle (in his Historia Animalium), Plotinus and Proclus. Further developed during the Middle Ages, it reached full expression in early modern Neoplatonism....

God sits at the top of the chain, and beneath him sit the angels, both existing wholly in spirit form. Earthly flesh is fallible and ever-changing, mutable. Spirit, however, is unchanging and permanent....

Each link succeeding upward contains the positive attributes of the previous link and adds at least one other. Rocks possess only existence; the next link up is plants which possess life and existence. Animals add motion and appetite as well....

The king is at the top, succeeded by the aristocratic lords and the clergy, and then the peasants below them....father is head of the household; below him, his wife; below her, their children....

At the top of the animals are wild beasts (such as lions), which were seen as superior as they defied training and domestication. Below them are domestic animals, further sub-divided so that useful animals (such as dogs and horses) are higher than docile creatures (such as sheep). Birds are also sub-divided, with eagles above pigeons, for example. Fish come below birds and are subdivided between actual fish and other sea creatures. Below them come insects, with useful insects such as spiders and bees and attractive creatures such as ladybirds and dragonflies at the top, and unpleasant insects such as flies and beetles at the bottom. At the very bottom of the animal sector are snakes, which are relegated to this position as punishment for the serpent's actions in the Garden of Eden....

Trees are at the top, with useful trees such as oaks at the top, and the traditionally demonic yew tree at the bottom. Food-producing plants such as cereals and vegetables are further subdivided.

At the very bottom of the chain are minerals. At the top of this section are metals (further sub-divided, with gold at the top and lead at the bottom), followed by rocks (with granite and marble at the top), soil (subdivided between nutrient-rich soil and low-quality types), sand, grit, dust, and dirt at the very bottom of the entire great chain....

Each rank has greater power and responsibility than the entities below them....

avian creatures, linked to the element of air, are considered superior to aquatic creatures linked to the element of water. Air naturally tends to rise and soar above the surface of water, and analogously, aerial creatures are placed higher in the chain....

The higher up the chart one went, the more noble, mobile, strong, and intelligent the creature....

The basic idea of a ranking of the world's organisms goes back to Aristotle's biology. In his History of Animals, where he ranked animals over plants based on their ability to move and sense, and graded the animals by their reproductive mode and possession of blood (he ranked all invertebrates as "bloodless")....

Ken Wilber uses a concept called the "Great Nest of Being" which is similar to the Great Chain of Being....

E. F. Schumacher wrote that fundamental gaps exist between the existence of minerals, plants, animals and humans, where each of the four classes of existence is marked by a level of existence not shared by that below. Clearly influenced by the great chain of being, but lacking the angels and God, he called his hierarchy the "levels of being".

-- Great chain of being, by Wikipedia
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:30 am

Shambhala threw out my Care and Conduct report
by Kathy Southard MSW, LCSW
r/ShambhalaBuddhism
10/5/19

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Kathy Southard MSW, LCSW

So I didn't really want to do this. And this is the reason why people don't go the Care and Conduct route when leadership abuses their power because we know it falls on deaf ears. This is the aspect of Shambhala culture that needs to change, this power hierarchy. After a year of people telling me I should make a Care and Conduct complaint, I finally did. And you know, it did go the way I thought it would go, that they threw it out because I couldn't sign an agreement they asked me to before they investigated. I couldn't sign because the only people this agreement would protect was the organization and Debbie Coats, so I could not sign it. It would not protect me, it would only empower further harm is how I saw that agreement. Then in a letter to me, they solidified this view with some twisted views about me. It was typical that I am made out to be the one with the problem. So there's not much to do except let you read my report and my side. That one could read this and not take any action, but to otherwise malign themselves against me as someone who has experienced sexual harassment, sexual harm and rape, and what I've reported speaks volumes about the path Shambhala is taking. It speaks to their continued denials. It is very disappointing that Shambhala is just unable to walk the walk of what was previously preached. Here is my care and conduct report that Shambhala threw out and are not doing much about.

It's just my story. It's not the most important story either. Also I know there have been far worse abuses of power that have occured. But it's just what happened to me and it's indicative of the culture that empowers this to happen within Shambhala culture. Here we go. May it be of benefit.

Here's the report:

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Debbie Coats

August 1, 2019

Dear Care and Conduct Committee,

I am writing because I would like to make a formal grievance against former Desung Head Commander Debbie Coats, who banned me from Shambhala without ever speaking to me or investigating what were false statements and rumors about me. That a person in a position of power would abuse that power to protect her personal friends and those in higher positions of power is a violation of her position that must be addressed.

My experiences were shaped by the culture of Shambhala, namely that women who express uncomfortable emotions are deemed “crazy” and “difficult” which is why they get expelled and that men who’ve engaged in sexual assault and harm are protected. This is a repeated pattern in Shambhala that the Desung Head Commander had enabled and propagated.

Experiences of Harassment, Sexual Assault and Rape

There were 3 separate events of harassment, sexual assault, and rape that I experienced while living in London and France between 2005 and 2012. I am not bringing forward a complaint about the actions of the people who harmed me, but I can detail them here as background information. Please be aware these were the experiences that led me to have emotional outbursts that Debbie Coats used as evidence of why I ought to be banned. I did not ask Debbie Coats to get involved. I never came to her about my experiences of harm nor ask her to investigate a rape.

I complained to Shambhala center executive members about one of my harassers since 2005, other women complained about him as well, and nothing was ever done about it, instead he kept being empowered. What has harmed me the most in all of this are Debbie Coats actions which she undertook without ever speaking to me. She made incorrect assumptions about my mental state and my competence based on what men, the men who had harmed me said about me, and then Debbie Coats had me banned.

I am most angry about the dynamics of power and the rape culture so prevalent in Shambhala, that allowed all these events to culminate in my being ejected and banned from the sangha. This is the reason I am most angry at Debbie Coats. She enforced the wishes of the men who harmed me, excluding me from my spiritual path and causing me even more harm.

It is my strong opinion as someone who has experienced harm resulting from sexual assault, rape, and harassment that Debbie Coats can never be trusted to support anyone coming forward.

For evidence, there are a series of emails that former Shastri Jane Hope can provide to you about the “alert” that Debbie Coats sent out about me. She can also back up my statements and events as she was involved at this time.

Debbie Coats has publicly stated she’s never banned me. However, this is a false statement. There are rumors going on about that I was unhappy with Debbie Coats and so I am making up lies. I have never asked Debbie Coats nor has she ever been involved in investigating a rape. There are ugly rumors being spread about me by Tony McAdam, one of my harassers, that I am just looking for attention and I have made false accusations of abuse in the past, which he states he has proof of. If he has proof, I’d like to see it. I bet it’s more twisted and untrue stories from some emails I wrote in 2005 which he continuously uses to threaten me with, still to this day in 2019.

I am most upset about and would like to show that Debbie Coats has enabled a culture in which women are victim-blamed, made out to be crazy, and then banned by men in power. As the Desung Head Commander she inherited this culture of making women out to be disbelieved and of protecting men, especially men in power. And this is the main problematic dynamic in Shambhala at this time.

It is a long and involved series of events that started in 2005, when I was 30 years old, and had just moved to London. At that time, I experienced sexual harassment by a sangha member, Tony McAdam, that made it difficult for me to come to the Shambhala center. I know he made other women feel this way also. Because I rejected his advances, he spread terrible rumors about me that Debbie Coats believed. He was close to her, had been the babysitter for her son, Ollie. Therefore his slander of my character was believed before I ever met Debbie Coats. The specifics of this harassment are below.

The Harassment by Tony McAdam

In 2005, a London sangha member Tony McAdam started harassing me. I often felt very uncomfortable around him. When I first showed up in London in the spring of 2005 Tony very often sat too close to me, followed me around, and when I wasn't looking he'd put his hands on me, i.e. to offer me a massage, which felt incredibly unpleasant and I tried my best to stay away from him. That I would seek to stay away from him seemed to incense him, making him increasingly angry with me.

He managed to show up to a private party where I was, knowing I was there, crashing it, and the proceeded to act in a foolish and creepy manner that got him thrown out by the host. He decided I was to blame about his getting ejected from the party and became more obsessed about me. I know this based on conversations with his girlfriend at the time. This led him to obsessively question her about me. She and I had been exchanging emails. When she couldn't take his obsessive, relentless questioning anymore she gave in, forwarding him all the emails I ever wrote to her. These were private emails never intended for anyone to read.

Tony read a lot of my personal information then made up a twisted story about me from these emails, then fed to Debbie Coats a very twisted and untrue story about me which she believed.

In late summer 2005, I received a telephone call from Debbie Coats. This was the first time I even knew of her, my first time speaking with her. She called me and spoke to me as if I had committed some horrible atrocity. In this conversation she accused me of attempting to destroy the London sangha and sangha members' relationships and marriages. She specifically told me I was trying to break up Linus Bewley and Pieracarla Katsaros's marriage. My reaction was that she was absolutely out of line to have called me out of the blue at work and accuse me of things I did not do. When my response was "No, these things did not happen." she responded with the sentence that I still remember: "Don't you know who I am?" in a manner that said to me that because of who she is, I couldn’t question her. When she asked that I come meet with her to discuss this matter, she said I could bring someone. I mentioned Keith Ryan who had been tutoring me weekly studying the Sutrayana manuscripts for Sutrayana seminary. She seemed to be taken aback by that and the phone call ended abruptly. There was never a chance to speak with her further about this. I didn't know at the time, but Keith Ryan was an ex-partner of hers. There was never any follow-up.

The weeks that followed, I'd gotten word from other sangha members I'd done something terribly wrong. There were whispers behind my back and meetings in which I felt harmed by what people were saying about me. I tried to just ignore everything actually and tried my best to stay far from Tony. If I knew he would be there, I would stay away. If he was there for some reason I'd leave. Despite this, I managed to get very involved in the London sangha through the help of Orhun Cercel, a friend at the time. This was long before Orhun became a Shastri and then Acharya. But because of him I became the programs head in London.

Still whenever Tony showed up, it was super uncomfortable from 2005 until I left London. Tony was made the coordinator for a Sakyong visit. As a student of the Sakyong, I wanted nothing else but to be involved, but when Tony was coordinator, he made my life hell. I couldn't be involved and I almost didn't show up to London for the Sakyong's visit. I managed to get there, but Tony harassed me so much I left in tears. Despite repeated complaints about Tony McAdam, not just by me but other women, nothing was ever done. I was repeatedly made to look like I had the problem.

Tony McAdam was close to Debbie Coats as he had been her son's babysitter and caretaker for years. So he was automatically believed and trusted over me. In these years from 2005 to2012, Tony would repeatedly threaten me with exposing my secrets from these emails he kept about me. He's still threatening me to this day. More recently he's been posting about me on Facebook, stating the following:

● That I am a pedophile,
● That I have made repeated false accusations of abuse and rape in the past,
● That I am angry at Debbie Coats for investigating reports of harm and finding my accusations unfounded, and
● These emails show that I falsely accused my parents of sexual abuse and then admitted I'd made it all up for attention.

ALL OF THIS IS FALSE and he's going around posting it repeatedly around Facebook and in Reddit posts I am told. I have never been sexually abused as a child, nor ever made up any false allegations of rape, sexual abuse or physical abuse from my parents or by anyone else for that matter.

It is also well known that Tony McAdam suffers from alcoholism and mental illness, has never been able to hold a steady job, and lives in public housing and off long-term disabled benefits provided to him by the state because he’s disabled by his conditions. Debbie Coats for whatever reason, still quite clearly looks to protect Tony and empower him in Shambhala while she paints me as being more disturbed than Tony points to her poor judgement of character and poor decision-making abilities to have ever been the International Desung Head Commander.

Relationship with XXXXXXX XXXXX

From 2008-09, I had a relationship with a senior member, teacher, and practitioner in Shambhala, former Director of the Paris Shambhala Center, European Secretary to the Sakyong, and currently the French head of the Kalapa Leadership Academy, XXXXX XXXXX. It became the most emotionally abusive relationship of my life. There were times he used sex to harm and hurt me, to make me feel degraded. He knew what he was doing because afterwards he would apologize and say he did not know why he wanted to do those things to me.

It ended very badly of course. And I am aware that he made statements to Debbie Coats and others about how difficult and "degraded" I am. I mention this because later Debbie Coats let me know that was one reason why she felt I ought to be banned. Because of who he is, I was made to look like an unstable and "degraded" (this was the word I heard used to describe me) human, hence, another reason for having me banned.

Rape by XXXXXXXXXX

In 2010, XXXX XXXXXXXX, who at the time was recently retired from being a traveling kusung to the Sakyong, raped me. We had been very good friends. After the rape, I did not acknowledge what it was until years later, because it is so very difficult to accept that a good friend and a vajra brother whom I had trusted could do that. Instead I tried to repair it by trying to have a relationship with him, that led him to continue to violate my boundaries repeatedly, culminating in further conflict between us. Although I did try my best to repair that, too, including vouching for him in the UK court system, that he'd never physically assaulted me. I wrote a letter of support in 2017 for this court case. His ex-partner, mother of his child, was accusing him of domestic violence and had requested the courts in England to ban him from visitation rights with his son.

During this conflict with XXXX XXXXX, Debbie Coats got involved. XXXX had gone to her, expressing how difficult I was. I think after being raped, being difficult with your rapist, is rather normal. After someone uses sex to harm you, being difficult with him is also normal. And after someone sexually harasses you, to want boundaries and the wish to not engage with him is normal as well.

Debbie Coats Banned Me From Shambhala

As Debbie Coats was the International Head Commander of the Desung at the time, she used all these incidents as reasons to have me banned from Shambhala, banned from serving as a volunteer at any land center in North America in 2012. She had sent out a memo or an alert to all desung and HR staff across the sangha at Karme Choling, Shambhala Mountain Center, and Dorje Denma Ling, that if I were to apply to come there, I should be denied because I am an unstable and difficult person. This will also be her argument to you because she thinks I have emotional problems she was trying to “protect” me. I wish to let you know that I have no psychiatric history as an adult other than seeking psychotherapy which is usual for a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. In environments where I am respected and treated well, I excel and am seen as a leader. I hold a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University. For approximately 5 out of my 17 years as a clinical social worker, I was a member of the psychiatry department of Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching hospital. In April 2017, I was invited as a member of Harvard Medical School faculty to give remarks at a yearly conference “Psychotherapy and Meditation”. For the summer of 2017 I went to SMC, invited by Acharya Dan Hessey as the Staff Path Coordinator, my job was to support staff with their meditation path. After the summer he asked that I might consider staying on, requested that I apply for the Director of Practice and Education, which ultimately I felt would not be a good fit for me. I am also a Scorpion Seal V practitioner. I know I am not so emotionally unstable, difficulty, or incompetent that I should be banned from all Shambhala meditation centers. I am far from that.

While Debbie may argue that she only prevented me from any leadership position in Shambhala, that is not true. She made it so that I could not come to a center to cook or even wash dishes. I was banned outright. At the time I was a SSA2 practitioner and honestly it was so painful, to feel rejected.

Additionally I am aware that Debbie Coats violated confidentiality by sending a personal email I’d written to her to Jane Hope in Debbie’s attempt to prove I am emotionally unstable to Jane.

Also on June 30, 2019, Debbie Coats also posted a public Facebook post about me, painting me as a disturbed liar, in an attempt to clear her name. This is another example of her poor decision-making and conflict resolution skills. She dismisses outright that she has ever done anything untoward and is focused on retaining her power and name.

I Was Banned Without Any Opportunity to Tell My Side Of the Story

This is how I learned what was being said behind my back and about the alert with which Debbie Coats had me banned: In late winter/early spring 2012, I was leaving my job in London. In seeking other opportunities I was very limited due to my work visa and being a non-EU, American citizen in London. I knew returning to North America would be better for me. At first, I thought I’d like to immigrate to Canada. As a Shambhalian, Scorpion Seal Practitioner, I thought the best place to end up could be Halifax. I could spend 2 years at Dorje Denma Ling and then maybe look to move to Halifax afterwards, be in the center of Shambhala, which is all I really wanted back then. I made contact with Dorje Denma Ling, told them a bit about my background and they encouraged me to apply for the Director of Practice and Education. So I applied. A few months later I didn’t get the job.

They told me they went with someone else who practiced Vajrayogini. I thought fair enough. But perhaps there was another job available? I asked about working in marketing as that was a job being advertised as being opened. The response to that request was that I didn’t fit the background of who they were looking for. Ok. So I asked perhaps I could come and work in the kitchen as an assistant cook. I never heard back after asking that question. I’d gotten ghosted. I didn’t think too much of this at the time.

Then I thought I’d go to SMC for the summer in 2012. They always need summer volunteers. I could spend the whole summer there and then figure out where to move to in the US from there. Because I was applying to be on staff as a Scorpion Seal II practitioner, the response was please come and I could decide which department I wanted to work in, it was my choice, anywhere I wanted. I said I’d be quite happy to be a program coordinator for the summer. It was pretty much all set that would be the plan.

Very shortly thereafter the next thing in my email inbox was an invitation to staff a dathun as a Meditation Instructor/ Assistant Director at Karme Choling. KCL was holding a dathun for the month of May 2012. I think it was April, at the time, and they were in need of MIs. It worked for my schedule that I could spend May at Karme Choling staffing a dathun. Then in June I’d go to SMC where I would spend the rest of the summer as a program coordinator. I applied to MI/AD this dathun, and you needed an MI/Shambhala mentor recommendation. I asked for this from my MI, Shastri Jane Hope in London. She agreed and then spoke to someone at KCL by phone to give her this recommendation. However, when Jane was on the phone with someone at KCL, she was asked about my emotional well-being and if I were under a lot of stress. She told me (and you can confirm/check with Jane) that she still recommended me as an MI despite what KCL had learned about me from someone else in London. However, no matter what Jane said, someone had said things to KCL slandering my name and my emotional wellbeing so that I was not accepted as an MI. (In 2014, I later staffed a dathun as an AD/MI). Jane asked me who could possibly be saying something behind my back that others would believe and I responded the only person who would do such a thing and who would be believed is Debbie Coats.

Later that day after being rejected from being considered an MI at KCL, because of untrue rumors put out by Debbie Coats, I got an email message from SMC. It was short and sweet. It said they’d gotten the “alert” and that I was no longer invited to staff there that summer. Honestly it was a mighty powerful blow on the same day I was told I wasn’t good enough to staff a dathun as an MI. I couldn’t stop crying for a few days. It has made me doubt myself, and it took a number of years to recover.

I am quite confident and willing to bring Debbie Coats to task for slandering my name without ever speaking to me, with siding with the men who have harmed me and raped me, and for not having any skill in working with conflict resolution or supporting survivors of sexual harm in the community. As the Desung Head Commander she ought to be held to a much higher standard. As the Desung Head Commander she ought to know how to support and care for the community, if that is her role, not just ban those she sees as “crazy”, while she protects men in positions of power or men who are in close proximity and in relationships with her.

I am also aware it is not just me. I am just speaking my story, but there are other women who have been in my position. If you cross another man in a position of power in Shambhala, it is the woman who is dismissed and not believed. I’ve seen it a number of times. It is indicative of the culture.

What I Am Asking

My wishes include:

That Debbie Coats is never in a position of power or authority over me or any other victim of sexual assault or harassment so that she could never have power over anyone who has experienced harm, especially sexual harm by men in positions of authority, and that she never be allowed to judge the outcomes of these situations again.

That she be stripped of any Kasung/Desung title or rank because she is responsible and helped to empower the culture that allowed abuses of power and sexual harm to go on unbated.

That the culture of Shambhala change, so that these dynamics of power aren't so prevalent, so that those harmed because of racism, sexism, sexual assault & harassment, and unfair power dynamics are not ignored and dismissed as being "crazy" and then further excluded from the sangha.

That sexual harm and male entitlement is no longer just part of Shambhala culture as it has been for a long time.

I am not a difficult person, especially when I am treated with respect and consideration. Since being banned in 2012, I did return to living in North America where my history was unknown. So I could blend in like nothing happened. However, since the ban, I’ve felt like there has been black mark on me, I've felt insecure as someone who is a meditation instructor and Scorpion Seal V practitioner, that people are talking about me behind my back, telling outrageous lies about me, that others believe without coming to me about them and that my worst fear could happen again, that I could just get banned because in a conflict born from sexual assault and harm, that I could easily be deemed crazy and difficult again, and would again get excluded and excommunicated from the sangha. This ongoing underlying fear has always been there especially since the day I learned I was banned from Shambhala.

Thank you for listening to my story. I would like to make it known that I am telling the full truth and nothing but the truth. I have not made any false statements.

Sincerely,

Kathy Southard MSW, LCSW
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:39 am

Taking Samaya with Sakyong Mipham and some side thoughts
by mukposdingdong
r/ShambhalaBuddhism
10/4/19

Something reminded me of the vows we took with Mipham recently.

The part I want to share is that when we were being groomed to submit to his command, what was made very clear by the acharyas coaching us and the little piece of paper cheat sheet we were given at Vajrayana seminary, was that we weren’t taking a vow about committing to creating enlightened society but a vow committing to MIPHAM’s vision of creating enlightened society. The difference was reiterated several times. And I guess that’s the basic point of taking a Vajrayana teacher on — you commit to their expertise or method. Literally, his world.

But in the last couple years, I’ve heard so many Shambhalians say things to the effect of, the women he sexually ab/used had the wrong view (they could have said no, or you’re not literally meant to do what the teacher asks, or, he’s just human — you don’t actually view him as the Buddha, or, well actually it’s the guru within, not the external guru that’s important). I’ve also heard non-Mipham students affiliated with Shambhala (mostly Trungpa followers) say things like, what you were doing under mipham is not what is meant by enlightened society, etc — here’s the correct view... (and then they proceed to offer some interpretation, their own conceptualization/variant on the true meaning or intent of “the teachings” or explain vajrayana by importing instructions from another teacher). But the fact is, the samaya vows we as Mipham’s students took, were of and TO HIS vision. We were to defer to HIS discernment about reality, what to do with our minds, how to behave, follow his instructions, INCLUDING the sexual ones. It wasn’t enlightened society general, it was Mipham’s view of enlightened society. And the better you followed, the better student you were considered, rewarded and valuable to have around and near.

I guess I’m sharing this thought because I’ve watched so many sangha members dismiss Mipham in the last couple of years. And in so doing they are side stepping the abuse that all of his students endured BECAUSE they were his students committed to his view. A type of betrayal that those who weren’t his students cannot know because they didn’t commit to him or put their faith in him in the same way if at all. It makes me think that people who weren’t Mipham’s students, who didn’t take that vow with him cannot possibly understand the same betrayal or advise his students because they weren’t viewing him or their paths in the same way. And it seems a lot of the “schisms” I have witnessed — schisming between old Trungpa students (some now with other teachers) or don’t-need-a-guru/king-to-do-Shambhala types and Mipham’s Vajrayana students ride on this difference.

Maybe others feel differently, but part of the betrayal I’ve been feeling from community members (or ex members) is definitely from those trampling over and bypassing the particular betrayal many of Mipham’s Vajrayana students (even if they are no longer his students) have been experiencing. Some old Trungpa students are even doing happy dances he’s been outed but don’t care about his students’ suffering. A lot of, I told you so mentality. But the fact is, we were groomed to take a vow to Mipham’s vision of enlightened society — not yours. It’s no wonder some of us don’t want anything to do with Buddhism anymore — our teacher who we took the highest vows with to do as he said betrayed our trust and the sangha celebrated his misconduct being outed by throwing him under the bus and trying to keep the ship afloat without really relating to what the tradition has done to our lives. Basically, traumatized us by eroding the deepest trust and ab/using our vulnerabilities, showed us the hollowness of all we committed to in this so called tradition, that community doesn’t care about the individuals within it to the point they make it impossible to stay, that friends and family will choose religion or keeping “cool” jargon and unconventional identities or romantic memories of childhood from their upbringings over having each others’ backs.

In a forum elsewhere someone recently said something to the effect of, clergy sexual misconduct is a very bad thing and I take it very seriously and am so sorry, but please don’t take it out on the dharma or Buddhism — I want to keep my own goodies going because the thing that hurt you only hurt you, not me. If that’s really the Buddhist approach or view of relating to ones own and others’ suffering, then why would anyone abused and taken advantage of by mipham and the Shambhala community ever want to hear Buddhist words ever again? Sometimes it’s hard to tolerate your tolerance for Shambhala and your complete inability to see what it’s done to people let alone care. Your comments that you believe are more to the point than Mipham’s because you know best or it works for you, that you have the true or right version, know the point of everyone’s life, suffering and Buddhism are completely a turn off. The arrogance and self-centeredness of people wanting Shambhala to continue sans Mipham (especially those who haven’t even admitted to and related to his betrayal of his students) continues to appall me. If you are taking on the ship, you’re responsible for the harm it caused — doesn’t matter if mipham is king or not.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:01 am

“No Secrets in the Village”: An Open Letter on Abuse in Dharma Ocean
by Andrew Merz, MDiv; Masha Mikulinsky, MA, LPC; Natan Cohen; Florence Gray; Diana Goetsch; Sean McNamara; Kara Deyle; A.B.
October 7, 2019

To whom it may concern,

This open letter discloses longstanding patterns of emotional and spiritual abuse within Dharma Ocean, the Buddhist community led by Reggie Ray. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Board of Directors of the Dharma Ocean Foundation.

The signers of this letter are former senior students, meditation instructors, dharma teachers, and key staff members within the Dharma Ocean organization. Many of us were involved with Dharma Ocean for at least a decade. The roles we held within Dharma Ocean gave us a great deal of direct and often near-daily access to Reggie Ray as well as to the inner workings of Dharma Ocean. Over the span of several years, most of us interacted with Reggie directly through formal staff roles during numerous intensive retreats up to a month in length. Some of us worked for months or years as paid Dharma Ocean staff members, participating in the operational functions of the organization. Most of us uprooted our lives to more closely support the vision of Buddhist practice and community that Reggie Ray presented. All of us have experienced and witnessed dynamics of emotional and spiritual abuse first-hand, and have left Dharma Ocean as a result.

This letter, while long contemplated, was finally written thanks to several courageous examples:

The letter by former Rigpa students, exposing the many abuses of Sogyal Lakar;
Buddhist Project Sunshine, which brought to light a long history of sexual misconduct, assault, and abuse of power in Shambhala International;
The open letter by a group of senior Shambhala students (also known as the Kusung Letter) that shared first-hand accounts of grave misconduct and abuse.

The patterns of abuse exposed in the latter two of these letters closely mirrors the abuse outlined in this document; Reggie Ray created Dharma Ocean in 2005 directly after leaving the Shambhala organization, where he had been a senior teacher for many years. We write in solidarity with these survivors of abuse and we thank them for their courage, determination, and selflessness in coming forward.

We want to make clear that the dynamics described here have persisted over the course of Dharma Ocean’s existence, and have continued regardless and despite the good intentions of the specific individuals holding senior leadership positions at any given time. Some of us, in our staff roles, were knowingly or unknowingly participants in activities that harmed others. We acknowledge and have struggled to come to terms with the fact that we implicitly condoned and enabled these abuses through our ongoing long-term participation in this community.

Our aim in writing this letter is to uproot systemic patterns of abuse within Dharma Ocean. One of the cardinal rules of high demand groups is for narratives exposing unethical behavior and abuse to stay within the system, effectively enabling continued abuse. Creating a public record of these experiences is thus a principal reason for writing this letter. We believe that those connected with or considering participation in Dharma Ocean should have the opportunity to be informed about the history and prevalence of abuse.

Patterns of abuse have become inextricably woven into every level of Dharma Ocean, creating a culture of fear and secrecy, and enabling sustained abuse of power from those at the top of a deliberately curated hierarchy. While Dharma Ocean has presented an image of openness to feedback, those who have risked offering feedback, however skillfully delivered, have most frequently been attacked, discredited, and blamed. For the duration of Dharma Ocean’s existence, the brunt of these attacks and gaslighting tactics has fallen most on community members already holding marginalized sociocultural locations: students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBIA) students; Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming students; women, and poor and working class people. Most of those who have attempted to give feedback or voice significant concern have been pushed out of the organization.

The forms of emotional and spiritual abuse perpetuated by Reggie Ray and, by extension, those in positions of leadership within Dharma Ocean, are commonly acknowledged as characteristic of high demand groups:

● grooming;
● love bombing new group members;
● questioning and doubt being discouraged or punished;
● public shaming of community members;
● a cycle of verbal abuse and triangulation in interpersonal communication;
● selective enforcement of rules/community norms; dissent framed in terms of spiritual immaturity/shortcomings;
● a pervasive culture of fear and paranoia;
● a charismatic leader insulated from any external accountability;
● reframing dissent or the loss of prominent members as proof of the worthiness and exceptionalism of the “in-group”;
● frequent public appraisals of other spiritual paths and communities, which were always found inferior by comparison with Dharma Ocean.
● the organization’s all-important ends justify its unethical means

Dharma Ocean’s Lies and Land Use Violation

This statement is written for Crestone residents, the Manitou Foundation, it’s land grantees, Dharma Ocean members, and other concerned parties.

During the winter of 2009/2010, I worked for Dharma Ocean Foundation (DOF) as Programs and Facilities Manager. At this time the organization was completing the planning stage of it’s new residence hall at what was then known as the Dharma Ocean Retreat Center (DORC).

The DORC, located at 2541 Carefree Way, Crestone, CO was built on land granted by the Manitou Foundation, which placed a conservation easement on the deed. In my understanding this easement was intended to protect the land from overdevelopment and overuse. One provision concerned the number of residential occupants that are allowed on a given parcel or building footprint (At this time I have been unable to procure a copy of the deed to confirm the exact wording).

Knowing that their plans for the residence hall exceeded these occupancy restrictions, Dharma Ocean leadership, including Reggie Ray and senior teacher / major donor Al Blum, commissioned blueprints that mislabelled the dorms in the basement. If I recall correctly, these cavernous rooms house up to 32 people. They are adjacent to large bathroom facilities and a kitchen. On the blueprints given to Manitou, the rooms were labeled “Storage.”

Al Blum instructed Dharma Ocean staff members, including myself, to lie to representatives of the Manitou Foundation at a meeting held to review the organization's application. When they predictably asked about the extraordinary amount of storage space on the plans, we verbally stuck to the lie that these rooms were intended for storage only.

While I cannot say whether we were believed, I walked away with the impression that we had executed a form of trickery that was careful, malicious, and quite typical for Reggie and Al.

The moment was one example of a culture of casual dishonesty, manipulation, and abuse on the part of Reggie, Al, and other Dharma Ocean leaders that I observed over several years working closely with them.

Natan Cohen
DOF Programs and Facilities Manager 2009-2010
Meditation Instructor 2009-2013
Protection Mandala 2010-2013
Member 2007-2013


The history of emotionally abusive dynamics and various forms of manipulation is well known anecdotally within the inner circles of Dharma Ocean and to many former Dharma Ocean members. A pattern of devoted students and staff members quietly leaving has existed, uninterrupted, since the beginning of Dharma Ocean. Most Dharma Ocean community members at large, however, never realize the severity of the dynamics of abuse and manipulation in the inner circle, and just how many people have suffered them and left.

As is commonplace in high demand groups, a member of the larger community could attend a number of Dharma Ocean programs and not notice the patterns described here. This is in part because of the ways systemic grooming operates, in part because abuse of power maintains plausible deniability through subtlety, and in large part because of a tremendous effort on the part of senior students to hide and shuffle responsibility for behaviors otherwise incongruent with the stated vision and principles of the organization.

Grooming within Dharma Ocean took multiple forms. When Reggie’s actions appeared to contradict the message and view he presented, Reggie would frame the incongruence in terms of a hierarchy of spiritual development. Those who were able to reconcile incongruence were deemed more spiritually advanced, as evidenced by senior student status and inclusion in Reggie’s inner circle. Newer members would naturally orient themselves to the reactions and explanations offered by senior students when making meaning of what is happening. While questioning and confusion were ostensibly welcomed, those whose concerns did not dissipate quickly enough were labeled as “too political,” “not ready yet,” unable to manage their “emotional upheavals,” or out of touch with their hearts/true nature. “Your practice just isn’t strong enough” was frequently employed by Reggie and others as a shaming and gaslighting tactic, to shut down critique and signal to others that the dissenter shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Anyone who served Reggie directly, either in program staff roles on retreat or as employees of Dharma Ocean, quickly learned that feedback is not welcomed or incorporated, even when it was explicitly requested. Loyalty and obedience are valued above all else, are constantly tested, and are taught through punishment of disloyalty. This happens in the context of teachings that reinforce an insider/outsider split: that the world desperately needs these practices and only we can deliver them, that all other approaches are inferior and lacking, and that we are special and fortunate for having found these teachings and have a responsibility to bring them to the world. The notion that we can only get this here—the truth about reality, and the spiritual practices we need to relate to it—is a core teaching in Dharma Ocean, and makes dissent and the decision to leave very difficult, if not unimaginable.

Progressive inclusion in Reggie’s inner circle was evidence of special status; many community members longed for more access to Reggie. Those who voiced criticism about him or some aspect of the organization were often swiftly (and at times unbeknownst to the person themselves) excluded from the inner circle and the program staff roles that are the testing ground for it. Fear of losing their place in the coveted inner circle often prevented members from voicing questions or criticism about behavior they witnessed.

Reggie constantly used triangulation to manipulate students, manufacturing rumors and making students doubt themselves. He would harshly criticize a student to others in a staff meeting, and then blithely say something entirely different to the student he had just defamed. It was common for Reggie to make up tidbits of information about a person and ask them about it to their face to see how they would respond. Even after someone left the community, Reggie frequently continued this behavior, for instance by feigning ignorance about why they left to that former student’s friends, asking “What ever happened to them?” or by rewriting the narrative of their involvement, saying “they were never really that devoted.”

A culture of paranoia, fear, and shame was rampant. The threat of being removed from the inner circle by Reggie without apparent or stated reason was always present. For many years Dharma Ocean maintained an unofficial “blacklist” of students whom Reggie had deemed no longer suitable to hold formal roles within the organization. The existence of the blacklist, the names on it at any given time, and any reasons for students being blacklisted was known only to select Dharma Ocean staff members and Reggie’s close confidants.

Reggie’s inner circle was exclusively people who had sufficiently proven their allegiance and who could therefore serve as effective buffers from substantial criticism within the organization, by both actively quelling others’ doubts as they arose, and by serving as an exemplar of the loyal and therefore successful student. As soon as they were unable to perform this role, or developed doubts of their own, they were demoted or cast aside, with the exception of major donors, who were generally given more leeway.

Being a self-appointed guru, Reggie faced no oversight or accountability, and his decisions in all aspects of the organization were the final word if he so chose. The Board of Directors of Dharma Ocean, for example, has consisted of Reggie’s appointees, all senior students, for the duration of the organization’s existence. When a group of senior students formed a committee to examine and address issues of Equity and Inclusion within Dharma Ocean and offered suggestions/critique he did not agree with, Reggie swiftly dismantled the group, disparaged and criticized the character, spiritual practice, and devotion of its members, and replaced all but one of the committee members with his own appointees.

Public shaming, criticism, and manipulation of staff members and students was common during intensive meditation retreats and day-to-day operations of Dharma Ocean. It was not unusual to see senior staff members in tears or actively distraught after suffering brutal verbal attacks in meetings with Reggie. Students were often afraid to comment or ask questions during programs, having witnessed the unpredictability with which kindness could turn to viciousness in Reggie’s responses. Lapses in behavior or allegiance would be framed as spiritual inadequacy or immaturity, with phrases like “they couldn’t handle the heat” and “this path isn’t for everyone” used to explain why a student may have distanced themselves, left, or been asked to leave after an episode of emotional abuse. A common refrain was that certain students were a “distraction to the container” and were thus asked to leave. Those who dared to question this view were routinely shamed and ridiculed. The implication was clear: those who could not handle the emotional abuse were not ready for the teachings. Those who stayed were the more determined and more spiritually advanced students.

In his relationships with close students, Reggie was constantly repeating a cycle: scathing verbal abuse, quickly followed by love-bombing, then distancing, and inevitably lashing out again, over often small transgressions. When a senior student would leave, having endured emotional and spiritual abuse for many years, Reggie’s narrative would often center his own feelings of betrayal and hurt, or portray calculated indifference. Having witnessed others disappear from the organization and be publicly and privately disparaged by Reggie Ray, at times even from the teacher’s seat during a retreat, most of us feared that fate. It was painfully obvious that if or when we left, whatever we did or said to him or others would be used against us for his purposes of controlling the narrative. Any attempt to counter or even discuss a narrative Reggie had formed of you, most often based on incomplete information gathered from others, would be regarded as being "dramatic," “just your ego talking,” “territorial,” or “controlling the space.”

Reggie used a striking variety of tactics to maintain control, most often at his students’ cost. One of the most pernicious was the deliberate misuse/misrepresentation of intimate information shared with him in confidence. On retreats, the explicit norm was: everything is welcome in this space; it is safe to bring forward the wounded parts of yourself to work with, the staff and teachers will support you. The implicit norm, however, was: anything that you share, especially where you’re most vulnerable, may be used against you. There was no such thing as confidential communication in the organization—all potentially relevant information, however inconsequential, made its way up the chain of command. The more dirt you had to share, the more useful you were. Driving this was an intense paranoia accompanied by an incapacity to even hear, much less consider, critical feedback. Such material was labelled “poisonous,” the result of someone “losing confidence in the situation.”

As Reggie euphemistically put it, “there are no secrets in the village.” Staff members who attempted to maintain confidentiality were inevitably coerced or cajoled into sharing what they knew about others. Reggie was known to publicly disclose incredibly intimate information about a group member when that person stepped “out of line,” even when the information had been shared with him in private under an expectation of confidentiality between teacher and student. This clear breach of the common standard of clergy confidentiality is another example of Reggie operating beyond accountability, putting himself ahead of the wellbeing of his students, and eschewing any semblance of the minimum ethical standards reasonably expected of a person in a position of spiritual authority.

The lack of accountability that applied to Reggie was mirrored by the organization’s lack of an impartial process for making or investigating a formal complaint about any community member’s conduct. The enforcement of rules and doling out of punishment was generally based on the status of Reggie’s relationships with the person perpetuating the dynamics and his esteem for the person most directly impacted. It frequently came down simply to who was more useful to him; he generally favored the person higher up in the hierarchy. It wasn’t unusual for victims who turned to leadership for support to be encouraged to focus on their own practice instead of on the abusive behavior. Rarely were steps taken to rectify or address the abusive behavior or offer support to the victim. Those impacted were often given the choice to leave, or to stay and simply endure the continued abuse.

For instance, when students in leadership positions made inappropriate sexual advances on retreat participants, which was was only eventually forbidden in a staff code of conduct, Reggie and senior leadership might playfully condone the behavior, respond with a slap on the wrist, or if necessary, publicly shame or demote the person in leadership. Certain community members, generally cis-gendered, heterosexual, white men, and others deemed most loyal and therefore useful in this system, were given de facto carte blanche to repeatedly perpetuate self serving, emotionally abusive dynamics from positions of power without any real consequences. When someone in the staff role of head chef, for instance, repeatedly verbally abused kitchen work-study folks who were only able to afford retreat by holding the work-study position, not only was the typically male head chef never removed from the role, even temporarily, but those same individuals were invited to hold that role again and again, over the course of a decade.

For those in the inner circle, who suffer the most under this abusive system, the impact is significant whether one stays or leaves the organization. Many of those who have left report an unparalleled devastation: loss of community, loss of a spiritual path and tradition, loss of worldview, loss of meaning and purpose, splintering of identity, profound betrayal by a trusted teacher, and for many a retraumatization and reenactment of abusive patterns experienced earlier in life. Those who worked for Dharma Ocean are faced with loss of income, in addition to the profound social and emotional costs. As with any abuse, the impact continues and requires tending long after one is no longer part of Dharma Ocean. Most have left silently, faced isolation as their narratives were erased from the fabric of the organization, and were left to grapple alone with the devastating aftermath of emotional and spiritual abuse in their own ways. For many of us, the draw to Dharma Ocean had come from a need and genuine inspiration to follow a spiritual path. This, of course, is precisely the vulnerability exploited by spiritual abuse.

We want to make clear that the aforementioned dynamics have persisted over the course of Dharma Ocean’s existence, and have continued regardless and despite the good intentions of the specific individuals holding senior leadership positions at any given time. Some of us, in our staff roles, were knowingly or unknowingly participants in activities that harmed others. We acknowledge and have struggled to come to terms with the fact that we implicitly condoned and enabled these abuses through our ongoing long-term participation in this community.

This letter is written in solidarity with and support of those who have who have left Dharma Ocean or other communities like it. The culture of collective amnesia and minimization regarding emotional abuse has persisted within the organization, but there are now many of us on the outside ready and able to share our experiences and support one another. This letter is additionally intended to be a formal acknowledgment and validation of the individual accounts/narratives that have increasingly begun to surface in public spaces, such as recent anonymous accounts posted on Reddit and this account of unethical business dealings.

If you have experienced spiritual and/or emotional abuse in Dharma Ocean and would like to add your name to this letter or just connect with us, please write to us at this email address:
 
NoSecretsInTheVillage@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Andrew Merz, MDiv; Reggie Ray's Personal Assistant 2012-2013; Editor for Reggie and Dharma Ocean 2012-2015; Assistant to Board Chair 2013-15; Meditation Instructor 2008-2015; Protection Mandala* staff 2011-2015; studied with Reggie 2005-2015.

Masha Mikulinsky, MA, LPC; BMRC Facilities Staff & Solitary Retreat Cabin Caretaker 2012-2013; Lead Cook 2010-2013; Meditation Instructor 2012-2015; studied wtih Reggie 2005-2015.

Natan Cohen; DOF Programs and Facilities Manager 2009-2010; Meditation Instructor 2009-2013; Protection Mandala* staff 2010-2013; studied wtih Reggie 2007-2013.

Florence Gray; Dishwasher 2006-2017; Transcript Clerk 2010-2017; studied with Reggie 2006-2017.

Diana Goetsch; Reggie Ray's editor on various projections 2009-2015; Protection Mandala staff 2010-2014; Inclusivity Mandala 2015-2017; Lead Meditation instructor at Dathun** 2015-2017; studied with Reggie 2007-2017.

Sean McNamara; Senior Teacher 2008-2015; Retreat teacher; Summer Meditation Intensive 2012, 2013, 2014; Meditation Instructor 2003-2015; Dharma Ocean Board Member 2010, 2012; Retreat Center Building Manager 2012; studied with Reggie 2000-2015.

Kara Deyle; Dharma Ocean Program Manager 2013-2016; studied wtih Reggie and held a variety of program roles including Protection Mandala and Meditaiton Instructor 2008-2016.

A.B.; Dharma Ocean Operations Manager 2009-2011; DOF Administrative Assistant 2008-2009; studied wtih Reggie 2008-2011.

* Protection Mandala describes a team of uniformed staff members during retreats who serve as close attendants to Reggie or other teachers and oversee the safety and security of a retreat and its participants, aka kusung and kasung

** A dathün is month-long intensive retreat

Links and Resources

If you have experienced abuse within Dharma Ocean and written an account that is publicly available, please be in contact with us. Relevant resources will continue to be added here.

Rigpa Letter
Project Sunshine
Kusung Letter
● A former DOF employee’s account of unethical business dealings
A Reddit thread containing multiple anonymous accounts of abuse in Dharma Ocean
Matthew Remski writes about high demand spiritual groups
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:56 am

The Buddhist Lodge

In 1903 an International Buddhist Society had been founded, following the period spent in the East by Allan Bennett, alias the "Bikkhu Ananda Metteya," who had passed into Buddhism from the magical activities of the Golden Dawn. An English Buddhist Society was formed in 1907, but by 1924 the chief association for the dissemination of Buddhist doctrine in England was the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society, founded by the eminent lawyer and judge Christmas Humphreys. In 1936 Alan Watts took over the editorship of the Buddhist Lodge's magazine, Buddhism in England, at the age of sixteen, and the same year, he published his Spirit of Zen. The father of this prodigy, L. W. Watts, was the treasurer and vice-president of the Buddhist Lodge; [30] and Alan Watts also sat at the feet of Dmitrije Mitrinovic. In 1938 the younger Watts left for the United States and became a doctor of theology and an Anglican counselor at Northwestern University. Then he moved to San Francisco from where his influence spread first throughout the Beatnik, then throughout the hippie world. As has been rightly pointed out, [31] it is more the influence of Watts than the more learned message of the leading Zen authority for the West, D. T. Suzuki -- whose second wife was American -- that has been responsible for spreading Zen ideas. Watts by no means confined himself to Zen and was himself the modern representative of those "mediators between East and West" who first became prominent in Europe and America in the middle of the last century. [32]

-- The Occult Establishment, by James Webb


A.C. March, a Founding Member of the Buddhist Society and the creator of its Journal, now The Middle Way.

Buddhist Lodge Monthly Bulletin, edited by A.C. March, 1925-1926

-- Issei Buddhism in the Americas, edited by Duncan Ryuken Williams, Tomoe Moriya


"An Analysis of the Pali Canon" was originally the work of A.C. March, the founder-editor of "Buddhism in England" (from 1943, The Middle Way), the quarterly journal of The Buddhist Lodge (now The Buddhist Society, London). It appeared in the issues for Volume 3 and was later offprinted as a pamphlet. Finally, after extensive revision by I.B. Horner (the late President of the Pali Text Society) and Jack Austin, it appeared as an integral part of "A Buddhist Student's Manual," published in 1956 by The Buddhist Society to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its founding.

-- An Analysis of the Pali Canon and a Reference Table of Pali Literature, by Russell Webb, Bhikkhu Nyanatusita


A.C. March (1929), "Comment on Ananda Metteya's Article," BE, 4(6), p. 130.

-- Men, Masculinities and Religious Change in Twentieth-Century Britain, edited by L. Delap, S. Morgan


Taixu, then thirty-nine years old, returned to China from the United States in late April 1929, arriving in Shanghai feeling rather optimistic about the future of his program of modernization and reform. He was encouraged by the response that he had received in the West to his plans for a World Buddhist Institute and to his call for greater cooperation among Buddhists around the globe, and obviously pleased that many had recognized him as a religious leader with both a vision for the modern reformation of Buddhism and a realistic plan for carrying it out. A.C. March, of the Buddhist Lodge of London, had concluded, for example, that "Taixu is a very practical man. He is no dreamer.... Now that China has definitely entered the work of establishing Buddhism throughout the world as a universal religion, we may expect great results to follow."

-- Toward a Modern Chinese buddhism: Taixu's Reforms, by Don Alvin Pittman


The same year, Humphreys founded the London Buddhist Lodge, which later changed its name to the Buddhist Society.[1] The impetus for founding the Lodge came from theosophists with whom Humphreys socialised. Both at his home and at the lodge, he played host for eminent spiritual authors such as Nicholas Roerich and Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, and for prominent Theosophists like Alice Bailey and far Eastern Buddhist authorities like D.T. Suzuki. Other regular visitors in the 1930s were the Russian singer Vladimir Rosing and the young philosopher Alan Watts,[3] and in 1931 Humphreys met the spiritual teacher Meher Baba.[4] The Buddhist Society of London is one of the oldest Buddhist organisations outside Asia.

-- Christmas Humphreys, by Wikipedia


Buddhist Society in England (was the Buddhist lodge of the Theosophical Society), was founded by the most famous and influential of Western Buddhists, Christmas Humphreys (see Christmas Humphreys), who was a member of the Theosophical Society early in his life and who wrote appreciatively about H.P. Blavatsky to the end of his life.

-- Famous People and the impact of the Theosophical Society: Inventory of the influence of the Theosophical Society, by Katinka Hesselink


Resources for Buddhist Lodge (London, England).
Buddhism in England
Buddhist Lodge (London England)
Periodical: 1926-1943

Buddhism and the Buddhist movement to-day: an explanatory booklet compiled for the benefit of enquirers / compiled by the Buddhist Lodge, London
Buddhist Lodge (London, England)
[Book: 1930]

Concentration and meditation: a manual of mind development
Buddhist Lodge (London, England)
[Book: 1935 ]

What is Buddhism? : an answer from the Western point of view / compiled by the Buddhist Lodge, London
Buddhist Lodge (London, England)
[Book: 1929-1931 ]


I heard one of the Warriors of the Lodge say once that he is sick of hearing about the Vidyadhara. Perhaps he was referring to habitual patterns of some students living in the past. Perhaps fifteen years ago, there was a point to making a sharp distinction between the past and present. But that logic no longer serves the situation. It is simply not true that we, as a community, or we, as senior students, are clinging to the Vidyadhara’s memory, instead of living in the present Dharmic norm, generally speaking, although perhaps it does occur. The problem here is not clinging to the past. The problem is competing with it.

-- Keeping Alive the Transmissions of the great Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, by Bill Karelis


Whoever set up that secret society Lodge business (Rome?) made a HUGE error. Set the whole thing back by decades. .....

-- Baron Ash, from Inside the Tiny Pathetic World of Sakyong Mipham, by allthewholeworld


When I wasn’t with CTR, I was completing my tasks as a nanny. And I was introduced to the Shambhala lodge with a party in my honor.

-- The first time I met His Majesty Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, by Leslie Hays


Scorpion Seal Authorization

This text is restricted to practitioners who have attended a Scorpion Seal Assembly or have been a Shambhala Lodge member prior to 1990. Please state the date and location where you attended SSA1 or received Lodge transmission.

-- Scorpion Seal of the Golden Sun, by Nalanda Translation


In 1975, Shambhala Lodge was founded, by a group of students dedicated to fostering enlightened society.

-- Shambhala Buddhism, by WikiMili


1975: Forms the organization that will become the Shambhala Lodge, a group of students dedicated to fostering enlightened society. Founds the Nalanda Translation Committee for the translation of Buddhist texts from Tibetan and Sanskrit. Establishes Ashoka Credit Union.

-- Chögyam Trungpa, by Wikipedia


The Council of Warriors and its Warrior General Martin Janowitz were empowered by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 1997 with the mission of re-energizing Shambhala’s world-wide commitment to realize enlightened societies in Nova Scotia and beyond and to promote the essential practices of Shambhala. The Halifax Kalapa Shambhala Society was initially formed as the Shambhala Lodge during the epoch of the Druk Sakyong, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Society included all Halifax practitioners who had received the authorizations to attend Kalapa Assemblies and to practice the Werma Sadhana and most recently was led by Warriors of the Centre Bob Vogler and Marguerite Drescher. As part of the transition to Shambhala’s current pattern of governance the Council of Warriors, worldwide ‘Lodges’ and Warriors of Centers were retired.

-- Windows!, by halifax.shambhala.org


Acharya Janowitz became a student of the Druk Sakyong (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche) in 1970. He taught a wide array of programs and co-designed the first teacher training course. He was among a pilot group of Shambhala Training Directors. He traveled widely with the Druk Sakyong for many years and was named Kusung Dapon — senior Kusung (Court Protector) responsible for oversight of the personal guardian attendants of the Mukpo family, the Vajra Regent and his family, and the Kalapa Court. In 1997 he was appointed Warrior General of Shambhala by the Sakyong a position he held until 2010. The Warrior General is responsible for the leadership of the Council of Warriors, Warriors Centres and Kalapa Lodges worldwide. Acharya Janowitz is a member of Shambhala’s Touching the Earth Working Group and has developed Spirituality and Sustainability dharma programs. He was the founding Treasurer of Ashoka Credit Union. He was also founding Executive Director of Naropa Institute (now University) as well as a founding member of the Naropa Board of Trustees. Acharya Janowitz was Chair of the Board from 2000 to 2012. He has worked on numerous environmental sustainability and alternative energy development initiatives and is currently Chair of the Nova Scotia Roundtable on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity. He is also the Chair of The Authentic Leadership in Action Institute, or ALIA (formerly the Shambhala Institute) and Vice President and Practice Leader for Sustainable Development for Stantec Consulting. Stantec focuses on community sustainability, climate change adaptation, corporate social responsibility, sustainable infrastructure and strategic sustainability performance. He is a member of the Halifax Strategic Urban Partnership Core Leadership Group, Envision Nova Scotia Steering Committee, and Buddhist Climate Change Initiative.

-- Acharya Martin Janowitz, by shambhalaonline.org


The following is part of a talk given by the Dorje Dradül to members of the Shambhala Lodge in January of 1979:

“... Also in our kingdom, we might have a percentage of citizens or subjects who might be Christians or Jews in their own right, and of their own faith. And it is necessary for them to take Shambhala Training as we run our country, and beyond that, they will find their own religious conviction of becoming true and good Christians or good Jews, speaking Hebrew perfectly. We should try to institute that particular approach. People of any faith that come along to our kingdom would practice their own discipline. Their theism has no problem if there is any contemplative discipline of their theism.

“So you are not taking this oath just to make people into Buddhists, but you are taking this oath so that you can afford to be beyond Buddhism. That's why we call it Shambhala. The oath water that you are going to drink is the water of greater vision.”

-- Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Directors, Students, and Centre Administrators
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:35 am

Cult of personality
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/8/19

Image
Soviet poster featuring Stalin, Soviet Azerbaijan, 1938

A cult of personality, or cult of the leader,[1] arises when a country's regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. It is often seen in totalitarian or authoritarian countries.

The term came to prominence in 1956, in Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev, who was the First Secretary of the Communist Party – in effect, the leader of the country – criticized the lionization and idealization of Joseph Stalin, and by implication, his Communist contemporary Mao Zedong, as being contrary to Marxist doctrine. The speech was later made public and was part of the "de-Stalinization" process the Soviet Union went through.

Background

Image
Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century AD

See also: Imperial cult

The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State. Throughout history, monarchs and other heads of state were often held in enormous reverence and imputed super-human qualities. Through the principle of the divine right of kings, in medieval Europe for example, rulers were said to hold office by the will of God. Ancient Egypt, Imperial Japan, the Inca, the Aztecs, Tibet, Siam (now Thailand), and the Roman Empire are especially noted for redefining monarchs as "god-kings".

Image
North Koreans bowing in front of the statues of Kim Il-sung (left) and Kim Jong-il at the Mansudae Grand Monument

The spread of democratic and secular ideas in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries made it increasingly difficult for monarchs to preserve this aura. However, the subsequent development of mass media, such as radio, enabled political leaders to project a positive image of themselves onto the masses as never before. It was from these circumstances in the 20th century that the most notorious personality cults arose. Often these cults are a form of political religion.[2]

The term "cult of personality" probably appeared in English around 1800–1850, along with the French and German use.[3] At first it had no political connotations but was instead closely related to the Romantic "cult of genius".[3] The political use of the phrase came first in a letter from Karl Marx to German political worker, Wilhelm Blos, 10 November 1877:[3]

Image
American Presidents at Mount Rushmore Monument

Neither of us cares a straw of popularity. Let me cite one proof of this: such was my aversion to the personality cult [orig. Personenkultus] that at the time of the International, when plagued by numerous moves [...] to accord me public honor, I never allowed one of these to enter the domain of publicity [...][3][4]


Characteristics

There are various views about what constitutes a cult of personality in a leader. Historian Jan Plamper has written that modern-day personality cults display five characteristics that set them apart from "their predecessors": The cults are secular and "anchored in popular sovereignty"; their objects are all males; they target the entire population, not only the well-to-do or just the ruling class; they use mass media; and they exist where the mass media can be controlled enough to inhibit the introduction of "rival cults".[5]

In his 2013 paper, "What is character and why it really does matter", Thomas A. Wright states, "The cult of personality phenomenon refers to the idealized, even god-like, public image of an individual consciously shaped and molded through constant propaganda and media exposure. As a result, one is able to manipulate others based entirely on the influence of public personality...the cult of personality perspective focuses on the often shallow, external images that many public figures cultivate to create an idealized and heroic image."[6]

Adrian Teodor Popan defines cult of personality as a "quantitatively exaggerated and qualitatively extravagant public demonstration of praise of the leader". He also identifies three causal "necessary, but not sufficient, structural conditions, and a path dependent chain of events which, together, lead to the cult formation: a particular combination of patrimonialism and clientelism, lack of dissidence, and systematic falsification pervading the society’s culture."[7][8]

The role of mass media

The mass media have played an instrumental role in forging national leaders' cults of personality.

Thomas A. Wright in 2013 reported that "It is becoming evident that the charismatic leader, especially in politics, has increasingly become the product of media and self-exposure."[6] And, focusing on the media in the United States, Robert N. Bellah adds that, "It is hard to determine the extent to which the media reflect the cult of personality in American politics and to what extent they have created it. Surely they did not create it all alone, but just as surely they have contributed to it. In any case, American politics is dominated by the personalities of political leaders to an extent rare in the modern world...in the personalised politics of recent years the "charisma" of the leader may be almost entirely a product of media exposure."[9]

Purpose

Often, a single leader became associated with this revolutionary transformation and came to be treated as a benevolent "guide" for the nation without whom the transformation to a better future could not occur. This has been generally the justification for personality cults that arose in totalitarian societies, such as those of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. The admiration for Mao Zedong has remained widespread in China. In December 2013, a Global Times poll revealed that over 85% of Chinese viewed Mao in a positive light.[10] Jan Plamper argues while Napoleon III made some innovations it was Benito Mussolini in Italy in the 1920s who originated the model of dictator-as-cult-figure that was emulated by Hitler, Stalin and the others, using the propaganda powers of a totalitarian state.[11]

Pierre du Bois argues that the Stalin cult was elaborately constructed to legitimize his rule. Many deliberate distortions and falsehoods were used.[12] The Kremlin refused access to archival records that might reveal the truth, and key documents were destroyed. Photographs were altered and documents were invented.[13] People who knew Stalin were forced to provide "official" accounts to meet the ideological demands of the cult, especially as Stalin himself presented it in 1938 in Short Course on the History of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), which became the official history.[14]

Historian David L. Hoffmann states "The Stalin cult was a central element of Stalinism, and as such it was one of the most salient features of Soviet rule...Many scholars of Stalinism cite the cult as integral to Stalin's power or as evidence of Stalin's megalomania."[15]

In Latin America, Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser link the "cult of the leader" to the concept of the caudillo, a strong leader "who exercises a power that is independent of any office and free of any constraint." These populist strongmen are portrayed as "masculine and potentially violent" and enhance their authority through the use of the cult of personality. Mudde and Kaltwasser trace the linkage back to Juan Peron of Argentina.[1]

In popular culture

• The American band Living Colour won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1990 for their song "Cult of Personality".[16] The song includes references to Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Benito Mussolini, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Malcolm X.

See also

• Authoritarianism
• Big lie
• Bread and circuses
• Celebrity worship syndrome
• Charisma
• Charismatic authority – Max Weber's concept
• Dictatorship
• Great man theory
• Imperial cult
• Imperial cult of ancient Rome
• Leaderism
• Lèse-majesté
• Narcissistic leadership
• Propaganda
• Strongman (politics)
• Supreme leader
• Sycophancy
• Totalitarianism
• Erdoğanism
• Putinism


References

Notes


1. Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) Populism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. p.63. ISBN 978-0-19-023487-4
2. Plamper (2012), pp.13–14
3. Heller, Klaus (2004). Personality Cults in Stalinism. Isd. pp. 23–33. ISBN 978-3-89971-191-2.
4. Blos, Wilhelm. "Brief von Karl Marx an Wilhelm Blos". Denkwürdigkeiten eines Sozialdemokraten. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
5. Plamper (2012), p.222
6. Wright, Thomas A.; Lauer, Tyler L. (2013). "What is character and why it really does matter". Fordham University: Business Faculty Publications. 2: 29. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
7. See Popan, Adrian Teodor (2015) The ABC of Sycophancy. Structural Conditions for the Emergence of Dictators’ Cults of Personality (PhD dissertation, University of Texas). Bibliography pp.196–213.
8. Popan, Adrian Teodor (August 2015). "The ABC of sycophancy : structural conditions for the emergence of dictators' cults of personality" (PDF). University of Texas at Austin. doi:10.15781/T2J960G15. hdl:2152/46763.
9. Bellah, Robert N. (1986). "The Meaning of Reputation in American Society". California Law Review. 74 (3): 747. doi:10.15779/Z386730. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
10. Staff (23 December 2013). "Mao's achievements 'outweigh' mistakes: poll". al-Jazeera.
11. Plamper (2012), pp.4,12-14
12. du Bois, Pierre (1984). "Stalin – Genesis of a Myth". Survey. A Journal of East & West Studies. 28 (1): 166–181. See abstract in David R. Egan; Melinda A. Egan (2007). Joseph Stalin: An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Periodical Literature to 2005. Scarecrow Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780810866713.
13. Strong, Carol; Killingsworth, Matt (2011). "Stalin the Charismatic Leader?: Explaining the 'Cult of Personality' as a legitimation technique". Politics, Religion & Ideology. 12 (4): 391–411.
14. Maslov, N. N. (1989). "Short Course of the History of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)—An Encyclopedia of Stalin's Personality Cult". Soviet Studies in History. 28 (3): 41–68.
15. Hoffmann, David L. (2013). "The Stalin Cult". The Historian. 75 (4): 909.
16. Here's List of Nominees from all 77 Categories. The Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. 12 January 1990. page W7. Accessed 8 August 2017.

Bibliography

• Plamper, Jan (2012) The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press ISBN 9780300169522
Further reading
• Apor, B. (2004). The leader cult in communist dictatorships : Stalin and the Eastern Bloc. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1403934437.
• Apor, Balázs; Behrends, Jan C.; Jones, Polly; and Rees, E. A. (2004) eds. The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403934436.
• Heller, Klaus and Plamper, Jan eds. (2004) Personality Cults in Stalinism/Personenkulte im Stalinismus. Göttingen: V&R Unipress. ISBN 3899711912. . 472 pp
• Cohen, Yves (2007). "The cult of number one in an age of leaders" (PDF). Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 8 (3): 597–634. Retrieved 7 September 2018.[permanent dead link]
• Gill, Graeme (1984). "Personality cult, political culture and party structure". Studies in Comparative Communism. 17 (2): 111–121.
• Melograni, Piero (1976). "The Cult of the Duce in Mussolini's Italy" (PDF). Journal of Contemporary History. 11 (4): 221–237. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
• Morgan, Kevin (2017) International Communism and the Cult of the Individual Leaders, Tribunes and Martyrs under Lenin and Stalin. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781349953370
• Paltiel, Jeremy (1983). "The Cult of Personality: Some Comparative Reflections on Political Culture in Leninist Regimes". Studies in Comparative Communism'. 16: 49–64.
• Petrone, Karen (2004) "Cult of Personality" in Millar, J. R. ed. Encyclopedia of Russian History, v.1, pp. 348–350
• Polese, Abel; Horák, Slavomir (2015). "A tale of two presidents: personality cult and symbolic nation-building in Turkmenistan". Nationalities Papers. 43 (3): 457–478.
• Rutland, P. (2011) "Cult of Personality" i. Kurian, G. T. ed, The Encyclopedia of Political Science. Washington. D.C.: CQ Press. v.1, p 365
• Tucker, Robert C. (1979). "The Rise of Stalin's Personality Cult" (PDF). American Historical Review. 84 (2): 347–366. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
• Vassilev, Rossen (2008) "Cult of Personality" in Darity, W. A,/, Jr. ed. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.

External links

• Why Dictators Love Kitsch by Eric Gibson, The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2009
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