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.

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Happy birthday, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche!

October 10th is the day that Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche’s birthday is usually celebrated. This year he is having his 81st birthday.

Thank you for all that you have done to bring more peace, harmony, wisdom ,and knowledge into the world. It is truly amazing what you have accomplished in the 47 years you have been in the US, and even before that.

Your integrity in disseminating the teachings, and your efforts to discover how the Dharma can be appropriately shared here in the US are very much appreciated.

May the work that you have done laying the foundation be the rich soil in which the roots of an inspiring 21st Century Buddhism will flourish.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche

Rinpoche sitting among Tibetan texts (Nyingma Trust website)

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.