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Thread: Finally figured out what my problem is

  1. #1

    Finally figured out what my problem is

    I've been doing some reflecting and I think I now understand the source of my discomfort. It's only taken me a year to figure it out, but better late than never eh? The story goes back a long time ago to when I was a teenager. It is a bit long winded but it does have a point so please bear with me.

    When I was 15 years old my parents and I went on holiday to Durban and there was a Hare Krishna festival on the beach front. I got chatting to some of the devotees and was totally captivated by the philosophy and way of life. On return to the U.K I attended weekly meetings and eventually became a devotee myself, much to the concern of my mother who was absolutely appalled to say the least. I thought I had found theideal path for me, but over time I discovered and learned things that were quite unsettling. ISKCON is very misogynistic. Women are seen as inferior to men intellectually, and at any talks or gatherings we had to sit at the back so as not to be a distraction to the men. It was expected for us to treat the spiritual masters as equal to God. The spiritual master who was in charge of the Scottish temple at the time was very charismatic, but at the same time could also be quite nasty and aggressive. After a couple of run ins with him my involvement dwindled over time and eventually I stopped contact and carried on with secular life. Ten years ago he was expelled from ISKCON because he was abusing his disciples physically,sexually, and psychologically. His fall down was remarkably similar to the recent one of Songyal Rinpoche.

    When he was held to account for what he had done he made no apology, believing that his good intentions outweighed any damage he may have done.

    ISKCON has had quite a murky past in that there have been cases of child abuse, and quite a number of the gurus in the movement have been involved in sex scandals. One of the gurus spent time in prison for the murder of a devotee who was going to whistle blow about his pedophilia.

    It sounds like I have an extremely negative attitude towards ISKCON. I don't think everyone within the movement is bad, and am still friends with some of the devotees. However, I think my experience has left me a bit jaded and cynical. When I attended the BSWA retreats, certain aspects of the culture and rituals did remind me of ISKCON and that spooked me quite a bit. I think my fear and paranoia probably made me come across as rather weird and rude and I do apologise for that. I'm afraid I've got a bit of an aversion to chanting which I think is associated to my time in the movement where you were expected to chant the Hare Krishna mantra over 1000 times a day. If I listen to a dhamma talk on You Tube and there is chanting I have to skip it! This is not BSWA's fault, and I do understand that the sangha are not the Hare Krishnas but for some reason my mind keeps making a link.

    I think what I need to do now is take a break and focus on other things going on in my life. Just for my own sanity's sake. That said some of the things I've learned in the dhamma talks have helped me immensely, and I'm sure will continue to for the rest of my life.

  2. #2
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    Quite a story, Pam. I'm sorry you've had those negative experiences. I hope you'll find peace and contentment. I'll be in touch. Be well, dear friend.

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