Do you know how to spot a Narcissist?

We all have some narcissistic tendencies — the selfish ones — but in some people the narcissism is so extreme that it becomes a personality disorder. Why does it matter? Because narcissists are everywhere, particularly in positions of power — they gravitate to such roles — and they are dangerous people who manipulate others for their own gain. They are masters at coercive control and often become abusive. If you know what to look for, you can see the signs of narcissistic personality disorder in people around you. …

What is climate change?

This question is best answered in the words of those who are more familiar with the subject matter than I: ‘Global warming is the slow increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere because an increased amount of the energy (heat) striking the earth from the sun is being trapped in the atmosphere and not radiated out into space. … Because all systems in the global climate system are connected, adding heat energy causes the global climate as a whole to change. … When the ocean heats up, more water evaporates into clouds. Where storms like hurricanes and typhoons…

This excerpt from my book Fallout: Recovering from Abuse in Tibetan Buddhism (AIA Publishing, July 20, 2019) describes how certain ‘teachings’ and spiritual ‘instructions’ can become beliefs that obscure reality.

In July 2017, eight formerly close students of Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche sent a letter to him and his students detailing the emotional, physical and sexual abuse they’d experienced at his hands, and the decades-long cover up by management of Rigpa — the organization that manages his network of study and practice centers. …

(Part 3 of Mind my Obsession.)

Observing my mind constantly meant that I was very aware of what was going on in my head. I was always aware of what I was thinking and feeling, and it was only many years later that I discovered that other people didn’t have that same awareness. The practice of watching your mind is simple and powerful. Forty years later, it’s still my practice. It has a different flavour these days, and I have many different ways of looking, but the aim is the same — to be aware of my mind.

Thoughts are…

(Image copyrighted)

After my mind had suddenly found itself separated from my body and just as suddenly found itself once again encased in a corporeal form, I became obsessed with finding that part of me that was not restricted to my physical presence. And where was I to find this mind? Not outside, not separate to ‘me’, but inside. I suspected I was looking for the core of myself, my essence — if there was such a thing.

If you look into your mind, what do you find? Thoughts and emotions. Thoughts are easier to look at than emotions, so thoughts became…

Mind is my obsession. Not the theory of mind or psychology (though my obsession has led to me dabbling in such areas), and not your mind or others’ minds, but my mind. It began one day when as a young teen I lay on the ground beneath a poplar tree on my parents’ farm in the South Island of New Zealand. I’ll never forget the birth of my obsession because it was quite a shock, one that catapulted me into a whole new way of looking at my world. …

Making it and Taking it

I’m very familiar with criticism, both making it and taking it. I’ve spent much of the last 7 months writing articles critical of Rigpa for its handling of the revelations of abuse by Sogyal Rinpoche, and I’ve been criticised for doing so. I ran an indie book review service for several years, too, so I’m an experienced book critic, and some authors criticised me for that if they didn’t like the reviews I wrote. As an author of published books myself, I know what it’s like to have people make their opinion of your work known publically.

Giving and receiving…

In the last post on this topic, I looked at the general markers of a cult and how they relate to vajrayana and examined devotion to the teacher in vajrayana in terms of whether we were devoted to a person or to an abstract principle — the first being the marker of a cult and the second of a religion.

Today I look at the role of unquestioning obedience, removal of the right to criticise and worldly law in vajrayana, then I provide a conclusion to the two posts.

Complete obedience

Though some teachers insist on it, others don’t, so clearly complete…

The unique aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, the Buddhism that includes the visualisation of deities, along with ritual and chanting is known as vajrayana Buddhism.

Does Vajrayana fit the definition of a cult?

‘Cult’ is a word that has different definitions, but the definition that concerns us here is the negative one. According to the Google Dictionary a cult is “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object, in particular a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members.” Also a “misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing.”

What those harmed actually experienced from their trusted teacher.

Let’s look at the allegations stated in the letter written by 8 people who experienced or witnessed apparently abusive behaviour at the hands of Sogyal Rinpoche. If you did not personally experience these things, imagine how you would feel if you had experienced them, and not just occasionally, but for those in his household, continuously for many years.

“You have punched and kicked us, pulled hair, torn ears, as well as hit us and others with various objects such as your back-scratcher, wooden hangers, phones, cups, and any other objects that happened to be close at hand. … Your physical…

Tahlia Newland

I’m an editor and publisher with AIA Publishing and an author who writes magical realism. I also have extensive experience in Buddhist meditation.

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