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Showing posts from July, 2012

against the stream

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 The social connections between the community of practitioners, the so-called sangha, are based mainly on the shared ideology and not on a truly personal level.  A sure sign of this is that any open criticism of the “master” or the ideology leads to more or less immediate distancing from the other group members, or even to aggression. 
~Ralf Halfmann on “groupthink”

Recently, Christopher Hammacher read a paper at the International Cultic Studies Association conference in Montreal in which he presented two well-known cases of teacher misconduct taken from within the Zen community*. 
His paper was of interest to me in that, beyond a description of the individual or group pathology of students and/or followers, or the usual emphasis on the sleazy qualities we tend to equate with “cult leaders”, Mr. Hammacher elucidates some of the subtler characteristics of these two Zen teachers that, unchecked, allowed their misconduct to continue, in some cases for many years.
According to Hammacher, so…