Uncovering the truth about Pathgate & Lama Dondrup Dorje

This website is created by ex-followers of “Lama” Dondrup Dorje (Peter Yeung / Young) from the so-called “Pathgate Institute of Buddhist Studies” based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Some of us were long-time committed and devoted followers who have left or forced out of his community due to his pattern of ethical misconduct over the past 30 years.

Following recent revelations about other teachers who were abusing Buddhism, lineage, and followers, we recognise that it is our responsibility to bring to public attention that Palyul’s, H.H. Penor Rinpoche’s and Namdroling’s reputation are being misused by this teacher. We wish to bring to light the real harm he has caused, and continues to cause to his followers past and present.

Our concerns are as follows:

1. Peter Yeung’s aggressive, controlling, narcissistic and manipulative behaviour:

  1. He engages in verbal abuse such as shouting, shaming and humiliation of regular followers, usually in public.
  2. He inflicts emotional and psychological abuse by instilling guilt and fear in followers, such as threatening them with karmic retribution.
  3. His aggression extends to instances of physical assaults on followers.
  4. He has engaged in sexually predatory behaviour towards his female followers.
  5. He manipulates followers into giving up their careers, family commitments and priorities, and devote themselves to him.
  6. His teaching sessions usually degenerates into boasting about his abilities and accomplishments, while denigrating his followers .
  7. He discourages his followers from reading Buddhist texts, and having contact with or learning from other teachers.
  8. Any follower who does not conform to his will are directly or indirectly forced out of the community by his verbal, emotional and psychological abuse.

2. The effects on his followers and ex-followers:

  1. Instead of compassion, wisdom and joy, there is an atmosphere of fear, confusion and unhappiness.
  2. There is no real trust and openness amongst followers.
  3. Long-term brainwashing has disabled followers’ capacity to think for themselves and function normally.
  4. Followers become more isolated from mainstream society, families and friends over time.
  5. Many are manipulated into giving up their careers and depleting their finances. They are pressured into providing free labour for Pathgate and many exhibit signs of burnout.
  6. They become dependent on Peter Yeung who progressively controls more and more aspects of their lives.
  7. Followers who leave the community are often psychologically and emotionally traumatised. Many require psychological rehabilitation or psychiatric treatment.
  8. When followers leave, Peter Yeung engages in character assassination, painting them as obscured, evil and destined for misfortune. He does this indiscriminately, separating long-term friends and even family members.
  9. Most found themselves alone with no social support because Peter Yeung coerces current followers to isolate them.
  10. Ex-followers whom we have managed to contact personally, have reported very negative experiences with him. The commonality of their experience is striking.
  11. Ex-followers are often fearful of speaking up, having being conditioned to believe in karmic retribution of doing so. Some even reported experiencing psychic/astral attacks.
  12. Current and ex-followers suffer from mental health issues, some of which are severe e.g., psychosis.

3. Questionable qualifications and lack of accountability:

  1. Peter Yeung claims to be a long-time disciple of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche and therefore affiliated to the Palyul Lineage. However, the official website of the Palyul Lineage and its official list of affiliated global centres does not include Pathgate Institute’s centres. We also note that there is already a Palyul Centre in London, UK.
  2. Previous emails to Palyul and Namdroling Monastery requesting for verification of Pathgate and Peter Yeung’s authenticity were unanswered.
  3. Peter Yeung is a layperson but wears the Tibetan monastic robes, which he calls the “lama robes”. Eyewitnesses confirm Peter Yeung received these robes in an honorary capacity, and not after following the usual course of Buddhist study.
  4. Peter Yeung also seems to have no letters or other certificates of lineage or authorisation to teach from H.H. Penor Rinpoche or Palyul. Yet he presents himself as having the ability to teach the highest forms of Buddhism.
  5. Despite extensive investigation, we find no evidence of Pathgate Institute being registered as a charity or religious organisation, yet it claims both affiliations.
  6. There is no real accountability in Pathgate’s financial affairs other than Peter Yeung’s verbal claims.
  7. There is normalisation of a culture of illegal donations and gift-giving, with most followers uninformed and unaware of their culpability.
  8. Followers are encouraged to devote time, energy and resources towards Peter Yeung’s sybaritic lifetyle, most notably in food, alcohol and luxury brands.

We acknowledge that Peter Yeung has contributed resources to multiple Palyul projects over the years. Many people were also introduced to the Buddhadharma because of him. Unfortunately, it can never justify the harm he has caused directly and indirectly to followers and ex-followers, all of which we have experienced and witnessed first-hand.

Peter Yeung is not currently teaching Vajrayana Buddhism to his followers, and as far as we know, none of his followers have taken any formal tantric vows (samaya). It is therefore our conclusion that we have been abused in the name of “Guru Yoga”.

To those who have been isolated and remained silent until now, we look forward to reconnect with you and join a growing movement to uncover the harm that Peter Yeung have caused, and to heal from the abuse.

One thought on “Uncovering the truth about Pathgate & Lama Dondrup Dorje

  1. Well written … seems like another lineage franchise gone wrong even if its not associated formally you get no support. The amount of Tulku’s put forth by Penor RInpoche that turned into frauds … many. The whole Tulku system is a like a ponzi scheme and so anyone can set themselves up and eventually try to get a high title, or just tell their followers to throne them. The damage – i have lived through it after leaving Rigpa but its better to be out and rebuild from where-ever you find yourself and yet its important to find other students and help remove their isolation.

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