Protecting yourself from Arnaud Maitland


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.


The Vision of the Buddha

Individuals drawn to serious study and practice of the Dharma today have tremendous resources available to them. Buddhist centers have been founded all over the world, and thousands of books on Buddhism have been published. Scores of teachers travel widely, offering instruction and blessings.

Thirty years ago the basic vocabulary and concepts of the Dharma were quite foreign to the West, but today terms such as karma, Dharma, mantra, mandala, nirvana, and samsara are quite familiar, at least in certain circles. Dharma ways of thinking are beginning to have an impact as well, so that the vision of the Buddha can be communicated with greater accuracy.

Those who come in contact with the teachings can see more readily and with less chance of distortion how the practice of Buddhism might reshape and improve their own lives.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter


A precious opportunity

Having the teachings of the Dharma available gives human beings a precious opportunity, one we cannot afford to lose.

At present, we may not be ready to take full advantage of this opportunity, for the words that could accurately bring the Dharma into Western languages do not yet seem to be available.

However, this is beginning to change. In the near future, as the realization of new Dharma students matures, they may well develop ways to present the Buddhist path in forms appropriate to the modern world.

The more fully students investigate the teachings, explore their meaning, and follow the path they lay out, the more readily the conditions for this transmission can be set in place for the benefit of all.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter

The path to liberation and enlightenment

The Buddha first presented the teachings that can free us from samsara after attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya.

In the Deer Park at Sarnath, he taught the fundamental insights that have guided Buddhists everywhere for twenty-five centuries.

Later he presented the depth of his realization in the profound teachings of the Prajnaparamita, the foundation for the Mahayana tradition.

These works, many of which are still available, offer a precise road map that shows, step by step, how to travel the path to liberation and enlightenment.

The sastras (commentary tradition) of India, developed and refined over the course of a thousand years, added to this treasury of knowledge, as great masters explained how to apply the teachings and helped clarify their meaning for others.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter


Real and lasting change in our lives

From a Buddhist perspective, the key to bringing about real and lasting change in our lives is to investigate the universal patterns that shape our experience, the workings of the mind, and the conditions of our lives.

First comes the realization that samsara is characterized by suffering and frustration, and that the laws governing its operation are pitiless in undermining our deepest aspirations and longings.

Next we learn to recognize how samsara is created and sustained by the actions of body and mind and the relationship we establish between the self and its world. We see that we have programmed ourselves to repeat the same cycles of suffering over and over, and we learn that while it is easy to get caught in samsara, it is almost impossible to escape.

Gradually we discover that the teachings on pratityasamutpada (interdependent origination), offer the knowledge we need to devise a better program for ourselves, one that will enable us to escape the traps that samsara sets.

Armed with this knowledge, we can reverse these destructive conditions and attain the goal of enlightenment.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter


Diagnose the root cause of our suffering

The Buddha taught that samsara-the way we ordinarily live-follows the laws of cause and effect, and that until we understand those laws, we have no possibility for making a radical break with the patterns of suffering we have constructed.

Buddhism teaches that those patterns can be identified and understood, and that such knowledge makes it possible to diagnose the root cause of our suffering and apply the antidote, just as a doctor would apply the proper medicine to cure a disease.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter


The final word on human capacities

Unlike Western psychology, the Dharma does not accept the ordinary workings of mind-even in their most refined state-as the final word on human capacities.

And unlike science, the Dharma rejects the sharp separation of the mental and physical realms. It tells us on the one hand that the principles of causality extend far beyond what science now acknowledges, and it maintains on the other hand that the laws of cause and effect, or karma, are valid only as long as one adheres to a specific view of self and world and dismisses the possibility of knowledge based on a different understanding.

These distinctions are fundamental for individuals who wish to clarify in their own mind the unique attributes of Buddhism. Then they can, with confidence, explain to others the teachings that make Buddhism a worthwhile field of study for the West.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter