We are all directly responsible for developing our highest potential

The Buddhist approach to the fundamental issues that have always engaged humanity differs in key respects from Western ways of thinking.

Unlike Western philosophy, the Dharma emphasizes non-conceptual forms of knowledge.

Unlike Western religions, it accepts neither a creator God nor an unchanging, eternal soul, and holds that we are all directly responsible for developing our highest potential as human beings.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter


On teachers who are not authentic

A link to a recently updated post on different blog with detail about Mr Maitland’s sexual harassment. Over 500 people have viewed that post; it might be helpful to read the comments from people who had similar experiences with Mr. Maitland.
Also, a recent comment from Nov 22, 2016 by a long-time member of the TNMC community:
…I just want to acknowledge what you said as true. As a long term member of the organization I was and am truly shamed with this situation. A classical denial reaction is not what I would expect from us, or from any Buddhist practitioner, not for that extended period of time anyhow. I am truly sorry for your pain
Many people find themselves drawn to Arnaud Maitland and his teaching; he appears to be very charismatic.  But you only have to look a little beyond his surface charm to see that he holds none of the qualities of an authentic teacher in the Buddhist tradition.
The Dharma book Path of Heroes lists what the characteristics are of a qualified teacher (there is a similar discussion in Words of My Perfect Teacher, on examining a spiritual friend):
Necessary characteristics of the Spiritual Teacher
* The spiritual teacher must uphold the moral practice of the Bodhisattva
* The spiritual teacher must have learned the innumerable teachings of the collection relating to the Bodhisattva.
* The spiritual teacher must have realization of these teachings.
* The spiritual teacher must have supreme compassion.
* The spiritual teacher must be fearless.
* The spiritual teacher must have patient forbearance.
* The spiritual teacher must have a completely imperturbable mind.
* The spiritual teacher’s actions and words must accord with one another.
There are very few teachers who have these characteristic, and Mr Maitland is not one of them. If you have had any experience with Mr Maitland, his failures to meet the qualifications on this list are obvious. If you have not, then here are some of the ways in which he has behaved in ways that are completely opposite to these requirements.
* The spiritual teacher’s actions and words must accord with one another.
Mr Maitland frequently, with feigned humility, admitted that he does not uphold the teachings, that he is a flawed human being who is not the best example for anyone to follow. He has been ‘practicing’ the Dharma for 40 years, and teaching for nearly that long. And yet he still cannot and does not display the main characteristics of the teachings he professes to love and has dedicated his life to – something is very wrong with that.
Mr Maitland has stated that Kum Nye can be taught separately from the Dharma; that is a convenience that he himself invented, for in the opening of Joy of Being, it specifically states that the knowledge embedded in Kum Nye is why Dharma is a symbol of healing and transformation. Kum Nye and the Dharma are intimately entwined, so if you learn Kum Nye properly, you begin to embody the Dharma as well. Mr Maitland is neither an embodiment of Kum Nye nor the Dharma.
* The spiritual teacher must uphold the moral practice of the Bodhisattva
It has already been discussed on this blog and in other places how Mr Maitland has repeatedly transgressed this by approaching students for inappropriate sexual relationships, sometimes even under the guise of being special Nyingma practices. This is the very worst abuse of spiritual leadership, and Mr Maitland has done this many times over the years that he has been teaching Kum Nye and the Dharma.
* The spiritual teacher must have supreme compassion.
In the years that I studied and worked for Mr Maitland, compassion was rarely mentioned, and even more rarely displayed. Mr Maitland often expressed a withering distain for his students, his colleagues, and even his direct reports, if they displayed any faults or difficulties. He frequently made very derogatory remarks about his long-time students, about the colleagues he had worked with for decades, and even about the volunteers who had sacrificed and made commitments to work for him.
* The spiritual teacher must have patient forbearance and the spiritual teacher must have a completely imperturbable mind
Those who have studied or worked with Mr Maitland for a long time know that he has neither patient forbearance nor an imperturbable mind. During my service with Dharma Publishing, Mr Maitland got very angry on many occasions, once calling a meeting to rally the entire group to condemn one person who made a mistake; on another occasion, enraged with me for some small issue, he actually swore and yelled at me for nearly 45 minutes.
I post this information because if you are new to working with Mr Maitland, or have not worked with him continually over a period of time, you may not be aware of these things, and they are important to know when making a choice about something as important as a spiritual teacher.

“There have been issues with Arnaud (Maitland) in the past…”

This email was sent by Jack Petranker, longtime member of Tarthang Tulku’s organizations, sent me this e-mail when the organization decided to take action against Mr Maitland after learning (for the second time) about his sexual harassment of and retaliation toward me – the emphasis on the sentence there have been issues is mine:

Jack Petranker <jackp@creativeinquiry.org> Sat, May 11, 2013 at 6:21 PM Reply­To: jackp@creativeinquiry.org

Hi       ,
Apart from me, Ralph, and Carolyn (and Janet), Leslie has been brought in as well.

What I meant about handling this “with care” is that we want to treat it seriously; there have been issues with Arnaud in the past, as I’m sure you know, and it does not seem right to look the other way.

We will be discussing where we stand by phone tomorrow. If you have any wishes about how you’d like us to proceed, that would be helpful. We’re aware of your wish to stay active at DP and especially with Kum Nye Dancing.

Best wishes, Jack

Jack Petranker, Director

Center for Creative Inquiry

New ways to know . . . . . more ways to experience

Here is an image of the actual e-mail:

There have been issues with Arnaud in the past

As you can see in comments on other entries on this blog, other women have mentioned that they know people who were also harassed by Mr Maitland or that they themselves were.

Mr Maitland is not the only member of the Nyingma organizations who approached students in this way. Mr Petranker made an inappropriate gesture toward me when I was working for him; fortunately, he backed off when I told him it was inappropriate and I hoped it would never happen again.

One has to ask oneself it one wants study with, support, or be a part of an organization that would turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior. It is because people continue to support organizations that allow this type of behavior that it can be allowed to continue. It is bad enough when it happens in ordinary workplaces, but to happen in a space where someone comes for spiritual training and refuge, that goes against everything that the Dharma is about.

Though the organizations say that they teach and spread the teachings of the Dharma and of Tarthang Tulku, I am fairly certain that neither the Dharma nor Tarthang Tulku would condone sexual harassment. Anyone who would support or defend the position and actions that the Nyingma organizations have taken over the years with regard to sexual harassment clearly does not embody, practice, or even understand the Dharma. People were thrown out of sanghas in the time of Shakyamuni Buddha for repeated transgressions like this, and even lesser ones. That is the standard we need to have in this day and age as well.

Engaging in right action

You have to ask yourself what kind of organization do you want to associate yourself with, give your time, energy, and perhaps money to. It boggles the mind to think that any organization, let alone a Buddhist one, would allow a person known to sexually harass its customers and employees to remain in their position without doing something. Further, it is also unconscionable that they would make the person subject to this person’s bad behavior suffer even more as a result, by having them leave and treating them badly as well, in the interests of what they probably believe is protecting the organization. All this solely because the sexual harasser brings in a significant amount of money for the organization.

When money is the main motivator, virtue and right action are a distant, perhaps even non-existent second place. A Buddhist organization that does not balance its need for funding with the more important requirement to embody the teachings is in very bad shape indeed. Clearly, those leaders have not understood the Dharma at all. There is no teaching that says that if you need money and you ostensibly use it for the Dharma, you are allowed to discard moral discipline and right action at will. Even the most liberal, modern interpretation of the teachings would not support the idea that sexual harassment and manipulation are included in moral discipline, or that protecting someone who does these things is right action.  And yet, people who would call themselves long-time practicing Buddhists, some for over 30 years, believed that this type of behavior was consistent with what they had be taught and been ‘practicing’ for such a long time. It behooves us to ask whether we’d like to support an organization run by people who operate with these types of beliefs. Actually, what the teachings do say is that if you dedicate yourself to the Dharma, what you need will be provided for you (see The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, and The Life of Shabkar, and many other teachings.)

What can one do? In these degenerate times, it is difficult to find qualified teachers or excellent organizations to join. In the Dhammapada, it says that it is actually harmful to interact with teachers and groups that are not sincere and excellent practitioners. It also says that if you cannot find people (and by extension organizations) that are excellent examples and embodiments of the Dharma, then it is really better to study the Dharma on your own.

Perhaps you have interacted with the organizations that are part of the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center, which are the ones that Mr Maitland has been associated with for nearly 40 years. Or you have interacted with other organizations, Buddhist or otherwise, that have left you uninspired and wondering whether there is any good left in the world. We have to ask ourselves if we want to continue to support organizations that do not meet these simple standards, if we want to continue to give them our time, our energy, and our money, because what we support flourishes. Let’s make a commitment right away to only support those organizations and leaders that are inspiring and truly doing good things in the world.

You have to ask yourself…

Mr Maitland has been practicing Kum Nye and the Dharma, by his own accounts, for nearly 40 years. You have to ask yourself how, after all of that practice, is it reasonable or possible that he is such a poor practitioner of the Dharma, including that he approaches students for sex, harasses students who do not give him sex or otherwise fail to meet his demands, and how is it he can do his job only adequately. The latest version of the Kum Nye book, published under Mr Maitland’s direction, contains at least one new error (see the last paragraph of the first page of chapter The Inner and Outer Massage of Feeling) that was not there in the previous versions. That is not the first time this has happened. He has published things about Kum Nye that do not reference Tarthang Tulku, the founder of Kum Nye (see the Kum Nye talks series). After being director of Dharma Publishing and an instructor of Kum Nye for so long, how is it possible that these basic mistakes still happen?

How is it possible that he does not embody the teachings, has gotten or remains incompetent, in spite of doing and teaching Kum Nye and working for the Dharma for so long? You have to ask yourself how this is possible, and what it might mean. You also have to ask yourself whether this is how you would like to end up, because if his evolution is an example of what’s possible when you practice Kum Nye and the Dharma for a long time, then is that what you want for yourself? And do you want to be associated with a teacher who behaves as he does and is still, after nearly 40 years, unable to embody the teachings he tries to teach?
The books all say that practicing Kum Nye opens up excellent qualities within us, yet Mr Maitland, as a teacher, does not have these excellent qualities. Nor do any of his long time students. He runs an organization rife with jealousy and competition, and he uses manipulation and fear to motivate the people who work for him and work with him. So it behooves you, before investing time and potentially money, to ask yourself is this what you want to get out of it? Mr Maitland can be very persuasive; but if you pay attention, it is very much like eating fast food, which tastes good when you are eating it, but very shortly afterward, you feel badly; it creates nothing of lasting value, and you have to go back to eat more to feel good again. He himself knows this, and this creates the link that keeps people coming back, not so that he can help them, but so that he can continue to take advantage of them.
If you pay very close attention, you will notice that Mr Maitland’s teachings and interactions are all manipulations based on trying to get money from people and make people feel as if they needed him and his courses. It was the custom at Dharma Publishing for Mr Maitland to come up with a new e-course or webinar to fill a gap in the revenue for that month. His focus was not on what would help people progress in their practice, but on what would raise money. One of the ways he manipulated people was by attempting to get people to feel pity or sympathy for him directly. He would say things to evoke responses of pity and the desire to help this ‘old sweet man’, and, because our cultures have trained us in this way, it works. He takes advantage of that, and as a result, he is able to take advantage of people.
Mr Maitland tries to make people dependent upon him, and there was little evidence that he cared about people and their spiritual development. When I was a volunteer at Dharma Publishing, before every retreat there was a meeting about how can we get more money this year out of the people who attended than the previous year. In addition, Mr Maitland would frequently come back from his teaching trips and say malicious and unkind things about the people and groups that he taught. He would gossip about the people he taught on these trips, sharing private details to entertain and amuse his loyal employees. It was shocking behavior, and always made me feel very uncomfortable.
If you pay attention very closely, he doesn’t ever talk about kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, or equanimity, nor does he practice them. He recently started being ‘generous’, but the ultimate aim of his generosity is a manipulation. The latest Kum Nye teacher training is an example of this – included in the offer is a collection of “free” materials, some of which are eight years old or perhaps more, and are even obsolete in terms of how he even teaches Kum Nye. This is a takeoff of the classic Internet scam of trying to convince people they are getting a lot, when in fact they are getting nothing of real value at all. He has adopted the scam tactics of the Internet to sell the Dharma – see the offering of Training the Mind for Leadership for another example of this. And selling the Dharma is one of the worst things that a teacher can do, according to the teachings.
So you have to ask yourself – do you really want to be a part of that? It says in Ways of Enlightenment that each person has to find his or her own way, by engaging with the teachings directly and personally. This is equally true for Kum Nye, and in fact, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche wrote the Kum Nye book precisely so each practitioner could engage with it themselves. You would do so much better in your practice to read the book and experiment on your own than to tie yourself to or invest in Mr Maitland’s teachings, given the significant doubt about the efficacy and the ultimate result.

Please read this if you are a current Kum Nye student under Arnaud Maitland

Kum Nye logoIf you are currently a student of Arnaud Maitland or any students of Arnaud Maitland or continue to do retreats, workshops, or webinars with or practice e-KumNye written by Arnaud Maitland, and you subscribe to this blog, I would like to ask you to unsubscribe from this blog. If you currently do not practice Kum Nye at all, then you can ignore this request and continue to enjoy the quotes of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche. If you would like to read more about Mr Maitland and sexual harassment, read this blog post.

Mr Maitland’s way of teaching Kum Nye is not compatible with the intention and vision of this blog, and as such, it is inappropriate for you to be reading it.

Logo Bowling pins BurgundyIf you have been a student in Mr Maitland’s lineage for a long time, you might ask yourself if you really have benefited from this participation. Are you realizing the promise of being as expressed by Tarthang Tulku in the books Kum Nye Relaxation, The Joy of Being, and Kum Nye Dancing? Do you find that your teacher, Mr Maitland, exhibits the qualities that are expressed by Tartang Tulku RInpoche in these books, after all of the time he has practiced and taught Kum Nye?

logo circles burgundy greenIf you have been associated with Arnaud Maitland for any length of time, you are aware of his erratic behavior. If you feel that this behavior is appropriate given the things that he teaches and the views he espouses, then you should no longer be reading this blog. If you would like to read an example of some of Mr Maitland’s more egregious behavior, please read this blog post for a summary of how he interacted with me when I was a student and employee of his at Dharma Publishing. My experience was not the first time he has done this, and it is unlikely to be the last.

logo spiral burgundy-greenIf Mr Maitland displays such a lack of moral and ethical behavior in this way, in what other ways might he be unethical?  And more importantly, perhaps most importantly, how might his unethical behavior be affecting you, your practice, and your progress?

If you find any of this upsetting or difficult to read, please do not comment or write to me, please just unsubscribe from this blog.

Thank you very much.