In a previous blog, I have shared an overview of Mr. Maitland’s ways of insinuating himself with people, and how he tends to operate.
To help people who choose to continue to study with Mr Maitland, this blog offers some additional information and advice on how to protect oneself when he interacts with students inappropriately.
Note: someone from within the community left a comment on this blog about Mr Maitland, confirming that his behavior is known within the community, and has gone on for some time. Partially this is due to the fact that he brings in much-needed money – your money. There are other, better ways to contribute to the TNMC community, to Tarthang Tulku and the ongoing projects of preserving the Dharma and the Tibetan culture. Please consider using these ways to support the preservation of the Dharma, rather than giving money to someone who, after 40 years, is still not able to put into practice one of the most basic practices – apparently necessary for progressing to Enlightenment, according to Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche and often documented in texts – that of ethical moral conduct.
Mr Maitland is a master manipulator. His bio often contains the information that he obtained a degree in Nyingma psychology. If this is true, then he seems to use that information manipulate people. He will tell you something that seems insightful about you, or something about himself that seems to connect you to him. Be very careful if he starts to pay a lot of attention to you, asks you to participate more, provide assistance directly to him, organize something so that you have to be in touch with him regularly – as flattering as it may seem, this may be a sign that he is preparing to escalate his level of interaction with you.
The usual things when dealing with someone who might cause harm – mental or physical – is to never meet with them on your own. It is also better to not listen to Mr Maitland’s recordings – mantras or retreat recordings. As we know from advertising and music industries, the voice can be mesmerizing, and repeated listening to something (advertising, songs) creates a receptivity to that thing that lowers our defenses. That’s why advertising works, that’s why we generally like the songs that are played the most. It works the same way with voices – so that if you’ve listened to his recordings a lot, when speaking with him or even interacting via e-mail, you will be more likely to allow things that are inappropriate to go unchallenged.
From a Dharma perspective – if you are really interested in the Dharma, there are better ways to develop a connection to Tarthang Tulku, Longchenpa, Padmasambhava, the Nyingma Lineage and the Dharma in general. Tarthang Tulku mentions in several different books what some of the foundational texts are that every Dharma practitioner should read and be familiar with; Lalitavistara Sutra, Bhadrakalpika Sutra, and Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava are all on this list. The Crystal Mirror series is intended to provide fundamental information about the Buddha, his life and times, and the Nyingma lineage; they are clearly written and easy to read. Tarthang Tulku mentions also how important it is to begin to develop the four limitless qualities of compassion, loving-kindness, empathetic joy, equanimity – something Mr Maitland rarely talks about and freely admitted to not being able to do. Similarly the paramitas of generosity, discipline, patience, effort, concentration, and wisdom are also important practices.
To connect more directly with Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, although he does not teach anymore, the books containing collections of his essays are great ways to connect (or re-connect) with the vision and aspirations that Rinpoche had and may still have for the Dharma in the West. Enlightenment is a Choice, Mind over Matter, and Teachings from the Heart all offer Tarthang Tulku’s wisdom (almost) directly from his own mind. They are very inspiring and good reminders of what the Dharma can and should be.
If you love the Dharma and want to support Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, it is probably best to find other ways to do that than by studying with Arnaud Maitland. It is said that in the dark times of the Kaliyuga (time when virtue wanes in the world), that destruction of the Dharma will come from within – teachers who are masquerading as Dharma practitioners. One might reasonably deeply consider whether Mr Maitland is an example of just this very phenomena.