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.