Spiritual Narcissist

This is a revealing article excerpted from Prophetic Charisma:
[sustainedaction.org]

From the stories I’ve heard Peter Young tell about himself, this article about how and why people become “gurus”, describes him accurately. Those who read it will understand, scientifically, precisely why to some people it really looks like PY has metanormal abilities … and that they are fake.

A few excerpts:

“The leader comprehends his environment ‘only as an extension of his own narcissistic universe,’ and he understands others ‘only insofar–but here with the keenest empathy!–as they can serve as tools toward his narcissistic ends’, … the main point is that the charismatic personality possesses an acute perception of the feelings and behaviors of others. Yet he is unable to truly empathize with them, to feel within himself some resonance with their feelings. He interprets what he observes … but not with any genuine opening of the heart. … Lacking empathic responsiveness, he relates his observations to his beliefs rather than to his feelings.”

“It is likely that in such persons the capacity for communication with another’s unconscious … makes them a superspecialist in understanding unconscious states, while at the same time limiting their ability to understand ordinary life. Psychoanalyst Helm Stierlin relates this ability to narcissism.”

“… narcissistic leaders are ‘superempathic’ with themselves … the leader is recognized as charismatic only by those whose needs he addresses and whose values he shares. … his superempathy with his self may appear as an extraordinary insight into the world as they know it.”

“He learns to focus on their hurts … and he urges them to identify their needs with his. … to melt them into his personality, bringing them and their actions under his control. … As his followers change, he may develop a steadily increasing contempt for them … .”

“He is sustained by his subjective heroics–he is a legend in his own mind–and he tends to perceive other people as types and clichés rather than as individuals. When they behave differently from how he wills, proving that they are not part of his self, he feels rejected and treats their behavior as a personal affront, a frightening and mysterious disturbance to his solipsistic universe. Thus the prophet suffers when his reality is exposed as fantasy.”

“The feeling is of watching a pattern of behavior that is consistent but strained … too persuasive and reassuring to be real. … as if, in needing to have an answer for everything in order to appear omniscient, the leaders had organized much of their personalities into bundles of memorized ‘response sets’ … At times he may be remote, at other moments powerfully present, and later still, just peculiar.”

All of PY’s victims (“students”) have witnessed for themselves how PY epitomises these last 3 paragraphs. Even his most fundamentalist followers would agree they describe him. In fact, if he read this, I think PY himself would absolutely agree this is an accurate description of him, and how he feels when anyone doesn’t obey his every command. To him, that pain he feels when he is not obeyed is proof of his godlike status. The worse he feels about the people around him, the more godlike he is. He really is a legend in his own mind! Donald Trump is another good example of this.

The old nursery rhyme: “I’m the king of the castle, and you’re the dirty rascal” comes to mind. Perhaps it resonates with children when they are developing through (natural) infant narcissism into healthy sense of self, what the article summarises as ” … reconcil[ing] the grandiosity of ‘Mommy and I are one’ with his need to achieve a secure … identity’. PY never developed beyond this nursery-rhyme-level of human interaction. He does not have a secure identity. That’s why he HAS TO constantly show everyone that he is the king of the castle, and why he HAS TO constantly show everyone that they are dirty rascals. This is a very good example of what the Buddhists identify as karma. PY literally cannot stop himself from doing this, due to the choices he has made in his life.

One can have compassion for such a stunted, pain-filled, fear-driven person; but also we need to recognise they are extremely dangerous to everyone around them. PY is a child in permanent tantrum, but with 60+ years of practice in making sure others share the torment of his internal experience. That sharing is what you really get for your money when you go to one of his teachings. He truly believes you deserve it.

Emerging from the Pathgate Cult

A couple of quotes highly relevant to the Pathgate cult from this webpage on The Difficulties of Emerging from a Cult:
http://sustainedaction.org/Explorations/compassion_for_cleargreen.htm

“If they have to start thinking for themselves they will have to deal not only with the pain they ran away from in the first place, but also the realization that they were being manipulated and abused by Castaneda for years as well.”

I had to overcome this difficulty in myself, and I have seen other people PY has brainwashed stop themselves from getting free because of this precise combination of reasons. PY directly and openly commands his students: “Don’t think”.

“The exclusion of family and other outside contacts, rigid moral judgments of the unconverted outside world, and restriction of sexual behavior are all geared to increasing followers’ commitment to the goals of the group and in some cases to its powerful leader.”

This is precisely how Pathgate, PY’s organisation, works. I have witnessed PY, openly and clearly, tell his students that to go home at Christmas actually harms their families.

The warped logic goes like this:

The student is not enlightened, so going home for Christmas will bring unenlightened energy back to their families. Since it is unenlightened, it is cause for suffering. Therefore, the individual is actively choosing to bring suffering on their loved ones if they want to go home for Christmas.

Instead, PY says, the student will learn to be enlightened if they attend PY’s teachings over Christmas, so it is more loving towards one’s family to stay away from them and attend further brainwashing sessions.

Note, PY curses the individual just for wanting to go home for Christmas. This way, even if the individual wasn’t planning to go home, he causes everyone to feel bad.

Actually going home for Christmas is, of course, in PY’s judgement far far worse, and results in massive negative reception from group members when the individual returns. Group members actively participate in this negativity because they are jealous of the people brave enough to have gone home.

“Some former cult members were happy during their membership, gratified to submerge their troubled selves into a selfless whole.”

This is why PY’s students, particularly the senior ones, are extremely dangerous. They know that PY is a fake. They prefer to sacrifice other people to PY’s predation, than face their own troubled selves.

“… they had felt themselves powerless to carry out their desire to leave because of psychological and social pressures from companions and officials inside. They often speak of a combination of guilt over defecting and fear of the cult’s retaliation — excommunication — if they tried. In addition, they were uncertain over how they would manage in the outside world that they had for so long held in contempt.

I have witnessed this amongst PY’s victims. They feel that the outside world is another planet. Other posters on this thread illustrate how deeply and effectively PY programs his victims to fear retaliation for leaving.

“They get you to believing that they alone know how to save the world

PY says that only he knows how to save the world (gain enlightenment). He openly states that no other teacher should be listened to, no other books read, even if fully endorsed by Buddhist authorities, because either:

1. PY says it better.
2. Everyone else is wrong (despite being endorsed).
3. The student is so stupid that, even if they miraculously come across a source that is not simply wrong, she/he will misunderstand everything that has not been pre-vetted by PY.

PY constantly and vehemently warns his students against seeking to learn from any other source than him. He states it will confuse the student, and cause them to lose any wisdom / blessing they gain from PY. PY says this can happen even after years of studying with him: one wrong book read and the student has to start again from zero!

What PY is actually acknowledging here is that if anyone compares what PY teaches to what real Buddhists teach, there will be confusion – because what PY teaches is fake.

“Many ex-cult members fear they will never recover their full functioning. Learning from the group that most of those affected eventually come to feel fully competent and independent is most encouraging for them.”

I have had this fear, and I can testify that the journey to competence and independence is both possible and hugely rewarding. It’s worth it, and it does get better.

As we advance, we see clearer and clearer that these predators are pathetic individuals who failed at life and making any friends. That human truth frees us faster and faster.

Peter Yeung’s use of the title “Rinpoche”

Peter Yeung (PY) will say he doesn’t use it, that it is his students who insist on calling him that. The thing is, by allowing, and passively encouraging (which we’ve seen him do), his students to call him Rinpoche, he is proving his lack of respect for, and understanding of, Tibetan Buddhism.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Rinpoche means something more than the translation “Precious one”. An idea of its meaning in Christian terms would be “cardinal”. The title is always and only bestowed by higher authorities. It is like “Tulku” in many respects. One cannot announce oneself a Tulku, only recognised authorities can do so. Having written evidence of being recognised as such is entirely the norm, and has been for centuries. For this reason, and unless he can produce evidence to back it up, he shouldn’t be allowing you to call him that.

“Rinpoche” is also not an honorific students can bestow out of respect or affection. In Tibetan Buddhist culture, students do not have the right to bestow this title. It would be like a congregation of a village church starting to call their local vicar “cardinal”. PY knows this very well.

That PY allows his students to do this is damaging, because it reduces the value of the office, and gives him status he has not earned.

When you hear of a real Rinpoche, you will think they are like PY. They are not. Simply on the practical level of studies undertaken and authority awarded by objective hierarchies, they are far more than he is. In the Tibetan Buddhist system they are also thought to have special status, similar to Tulkus.

When others hear PY is known as a Rinpoche, they will ascribe to him all sorts of authority and recognition he does not have. People will also assume a level of accountability that PY does not operate within. Rinpoches are held very closely accountable to their hierarchies, their lineages and often responsible for entire monasteries of people. Calling him Rinpoche means, certainly within Eastern cultures, people will assume that a certain level of external assurance has been applied to PY. It simply has not been.

It should also be noted that one of PY’s Western students told me that they started to call him Rinpoche only after students from Eastern cultures joined the group, and were calling him that. The Westerners felt they would be seen to be showing less respect than the Easterners if they didn’t start calling him that too, because it is one of the highest titles around. It didn’t arise out of joyful overwhelming feelings of admiration.

However, to truly understand this, we need to understand something about the reality in Eastern cultures:

Because “Rinpoche” (like cardinal) indicates very high social status, there is a big temptation to ascribe the title to one’s teacher. It’s the difference between having the local priest or a cardinal as one’s spiritual director, if one was Roman Catholic, and lived in a Roman Catholic country.

In the East, Lamas are very common. However, in those cultures, if one can say one’s teacher is a “Rinpoche”, then there’s an immediate increase in status that has real-world impacts. It’s virtue-signalling (and self-reassurance), as a Rinpoche would only pick top students to work with. It’s also a message about influence: direct access to a Rinpoche means the person will likely have other high-level connections. In the East, these things are super important. So, how much self-interest there was in this, should be carefully considered.

The bottom line is that it’s actually disrespecting Tibetan Buddhism to call PY Rinpoche. Whether that’s culturally relevant in the West, or not, can be debated. What can’t be debated is that if he was who he says he is, then he wouldn’t allow you to call him Rinpoche. He knows it’s not a title he can accept without betraying some fundamental, if invisible to most people, rules. In the same way, if he was who he says he is, he simply couldn’t advocate violence, or use aggression as much as he does. These facts expose a hypocrisy that cannot be denied.

He does claim plausible deniability, by saying his students call him Rinpoche of their own volition… but is this really credible when he is so aggressively controlling in every other respect? To us, it just reveals a deeper level of deception.

Objectively, that he allows his students to call him Rinpoche shows his need for external affirmation overrides his respect for the system he says he is part of. This tendency becomes dangerous when allied to cult-building techniques.