Unrealistic Fantasy Toxic Bubble

The following is a testimony extracted from an email exchange with a former student “Kate” during the 2010s, reproduced with permission. It has been slightly edited for grammar and clarity. Victims’ names have been changed, details and dates have been redacted to protect their identities.

Hi “Christine”,

Ah, good that you have seen the [Cult Education Institute] forum, so many comments there resonate with what me and “Rachel” experienced.

In early 201? [date redacted] I made the mistake to place my trust in Loday (Marcus) and PY and believe that place was a safe environment to send Rachel for a short length of time for some respite. Instead of respite she was slowly indoctrinated and abused over a ten-month period, right up until our escape on [date redacted].

I best not go into too much detail into what she endured without her permission, but she might be able to tell you herself in time, she is still somewhat fragile from the ordeal, but she has made a remarkable recovery over the last two years.

Personally, I can tell you I visited Rachel in February, just for a few days. The next time I saw her was in July at the start of the Summer “retreat” — and I noticed there was a huge change in her, that I couldn’t quite put my finger on; she didn’t look well, but you, Christine made her smile and her mood lifted in your presence.

I had planned to stay for one week, however, Loday insisted I stay longer and emotionally blackmailed me with the threat of demons if I left. I wanted to leave but I wanted Rachel to come with me.

As I attended the “teachings” It slowly dawned on me that most of what was being said was disturbing. I also slowly figured out I was being lied to, spied on, under some sort of surveillance, blackmailed, expected to obey instructions/orders against my will, and so on.

One lunchtime in August/Sept I went to the library (in secret — remember library & books/reading were banned!) and I happened to bump into the recently “disrobed ani” who PY had thrown out. It was so very sad, she looked so different dressed in plain clothes with her hair grown out, her eyes were red raw and swollen — through crying. She was in a state, but did not disclose any info or confide in me. I did not let on I had seen and spoken to her — I only told Rachel. But I was thinking What The Blazes is going on here?!

To cut another long story short, just before that Summer “retreat” I had managed to secure a new rented home [details redacted] in [location redacted]. [Something serious occurred and] I was instructed not to return to my home to sort things out. So inevitably I was promptly served eviction notice from my landlord [details redacted]. Eventually, end of Sept, and without PY or Loday’s permission, I left Newcastle to go home only to find I was indeed homeless and everything was a mess.

Back home, I packed the boxes up and sorted out what needed to be done. I then returned to Newcastle to get Rachel out. Upon my return Loday was off hand with me, and I think he was told not to speak to me. The fact Loday had interfered in my life to such a degree to contributing making me homeless jolted Rachel into the stark reality of how dangerous, abusive and controlling these people were. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Loday told Rachel that me being made homeless was not a problem — it was karma, nothing to worry about! Loday continued to lie, break promises, snitch/report back to PY all information he could gather etc. As I’ve said before, I realise Loday is a victim and he was obeying PY’s orders with all he was saying and doing. Personally, I didn’t witness any actions of a real Buddhist. Loday was living in an unrealistic fantasy toxic bubble! But like everyone there, he was brainwashed.

Shortly after this, in October a weekend teaching took place and PY called me names (i.e. garbage), verbally abused me, humiliated me and berated me the whole day in front of everyone [details redacted] and threw a heavy stick at my head that slammed against the wall behind me. [Details redacted]

I phoned a friend of mine in [location redacted] to ask for a £25 loan for diesel for my car so that we could secretly pack my car up and quietly escape. I needed the loan for diesel to drive us to [location redacted], because ALL our money had been taken by them — their financial abuse. We had almost completed the task of packing my car up, and one of the Ani’s smelled a rat, and discovered we were preparing to leave. She tried to coerce Rachel to stay, telling her to sit down and wait for PY to return from his trip abroad, she said it was “important to at least listen to PY or ask permission to leave with his blessing”. Yeah, can you believe that! Anyhow, I was in a rush to go, so I bundled the last things in the car and then I ushered Rachel into my car and off we went.

When we reached [location redacted], Rachel found a safe place with the help of an ex-student, and I had to live in the back of my car for seven months over the freezing cold winter, (due to their financial abuse we were so broke it took a while to get on my feet) BUT freezing and starving to death in my car was better than being with that bunch of perpetrators. Eventually, after 7 months of my car, I secured new housing.

Soon after moving to [location redacted], an ex-student told us of their dreadful experiences with PY. We also got in touch with INFORM who were helpful, they were familiar with PY and others had given statements to them about what they had endured. 

It was a series of events to realise this was a sham, and that criminal offences were taking place, and that we were victims of PY and his brainwashed followers.

[Details redacted]

As I have said, what I have written here is the tip of the iceberg, there is SO MUCH more, it is the simple short version, and I have mentioned the episodes that triggered my survival instincts that we had to get safe, we were being brainwashed, manipulated, and relentlessly abused etc.

I hope this has helped you grasp some understanding of why we escaped. 


EDIT: Added comments and analysis by anon27:

Wonderful to hear about Kate and Rachel’s escape.

Karmicwind has very correctly identified common methods of abuse at Pathgate in bold.

An interesting theme that comes across is that PY’s victims are brainwashed into believing that when bad things happen in life, they are not to be addressed or thought about in any grown-up, intelligent or realistic way.

This is part of PY’s very clever trap:
PY’s victim-students begin to live unhappy lives because they are following PY’s corrupt teachings.
When they notice their lives are getting worse, they get told not to worry, it’s actually good because this is “bad karma” coming out.
They get told their lives are getting worse because PY is helping them release bad karma from their “mindstreams”, gathered from “many lifetimes”.

The lie here is particularly extraordinary, a hallmark of PY’s capacity for abuse:
The reality is their lives are getting worse because of PY … not because he is “healing them from past karma” somehow, but because he is actually, simply, making their lives worse!
PY abuses them into living in a degrading and degraded manner, and tells them it’s good for them.

This is why his long-term victim-students are so dangerous to others.
They have fully bought into the idea that being unhappy and having a crap life is a sign of progress.
As per Kate’s testimony, they do their utmost to convince others of this lie, and the main reason is so they don’t have to face the reality of the toxic fantasy bubble they live in.

All of them, PY and his victims, are in fact highly motivated to draw others into their unrealistic fantasy toxic bubble.

When their lives are getting really bad, and their friends and family are starting to really notice, PY’s student-victims are told that this is the moment to double-down, pay more money, and engage in more “magical” actions (which boils down to worshipping PY).
If they don’t do (and pay for) “more magic”, exactly as per Kate’s testimony, they are told things will get even worse for them: demons will get them!

PY and his victims always revert to “magic” (karma, demons etc.) to explain normal life events, and preach magic solutions to all of life’s challenges.
This is plain stupidity, and needless to say, not Buddhist.

Looking objectively at PY’s life, and those of his victim-students, we clearly see the effects of their magical thinking.
It’s super sad for all of us who had people we counted as friends there.

Moving beyond magical thinking is a big deprogramming challenge to escapees from this particular cult, as is evidenced by several testimonies on this thread, in different ways.

Science, Buddhism, every major religion, wisdom school, psychological school, and every person with a bit of intelligence and knowledge of the world also happens to agree that magical thinking is, to sum it up, total bullshit.

Magical thinking is psychologically infantile, which also perfectly fits with PY’s abuse of his victim-students into childish dependency, and PY’s own arrested development.

The old stories speak many times of authentic Buddhists having to win battles against “users of magic”.
Symbolically what they are talking about is that Buddhism represents the evolution of “being human” through the application of educated, thoughtful, caring, morally boundaried, discriminating intelligence.

Buddhism needs to evolve, and doesn’t have all the answers, but it has always been very clearly against magical thinking.
This is one of the reasons many scientists find Buddhism to be a credible system of thought. They may not agree with it, but they recognise the drive towards being realistic (working from the data) at the heart of Buddhism.

If you require information and/or support with regards to recovery from cults, here are several organisations you can contact.


DialogCentre UK

Cult Information Centre

Cult Consulting Australia

How Peter Yeung financially exploits his students

Having extracted myself from Pathgate before completely depleting my financial resources, and before completely losing my connection to mainstream society, I can’t help but feel immense relief. I spent much time reacquainting myself with authentic Buddhist teachings and filtering out PY’s distortions, in order to free myself from his brainwashing around the Buddhist concept of merit, karma and utilisation of financial resources. This led to my realisation that PY’s relationship with students is nothing more than an exploitative one.  

Having personally spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to PY’s cause, and having seen others do the same, I can only say that PY’s exploitation of sincere spiritual aspirants to fuel his narcissism is truly horrifying.

In this post, I will focus on the material or financial aspect of PY’s exploitation. But make no mistake, PY exploits his students in multiple ways.

1. PY portrays himself as a sage who is worthy of receiving offerings

PY, throughout the years, hints to his student that he is a sage, and it is essential to stay close to a “man with knowledge of virtue” (his own translation of kalyanamitra).

He recycles quotes such as “you generate more merit by making offering to a single skin pore of your guru than to countless Buddhas in the 10 directions,” and more recently, loves to quote Chapter 11 of the Sutra Forty-Two Chapters (which incidentally, is his retreat topic this year):

Fields of Blessings
The Buddha said:
 “It is better to offer food to a single virtuous person than to one hundred evil people.
 “It is better to offer food to one who observes the Five Precepts than to one thousand virtuous people.
  “It is better to offer food to one stream-enterer than to ten thousand who observe the Five Precepts.
  “It is better to offer food to one once-returner than to one million stream-enterers.
  “It is better to offer food to one non-returner than to ten million once-returners.
  “It is better to offer food to one arhat than to one hundred million non-returners.
  “It is better to offer food to one pratyekabuddha than to one billion arhats.
 “It is better to offer food to one of the Buddhas of the three periods of time than to ten billion pratyekabuddhas.
 “It is better to offer food to one of ‘no thought’, ‘no abidance’, ‘no cultivation’, and ‘no attainment’ than to a hundred billion Buddhas of the three periods of time.”

Through this “teaching”, PY achieves 2 objectives. Firstly, he infers that he is a being beyond the level of a Buddha or pratyekabuddhas. And that making offerings to him would generate infinite merit.

I remember clearly the smug look on PY’s face when he said that very last verse. At that time, I berated myself for picking that up, and reminded myself, “Oh, Rinpoche is reflecting to me the conceit in my mind.” This was yet another case of cognitive dissonance. I had objectively observed the recurrent arrogant behaviour by PY, but within the authoritarian cult environment, the only way for me to resolve the conflicting thoughts was to blame myself. Looking back at it now, I feel nothing but pure disgust.

Secondly, PY discourages students from channelling financial resources into anything other than his own activities. Over the years, PY tells his students that doing charity is useless — their money should be used to propagate Dharma instead. The huge irony here is that PY uses his students’ money to do charity under his very own “Pathgate Partnership Programme”, and claims credit all for himself.

2. PY conditions students to believe material offerings is the key to generate merit

Having deceived students into believing he is worthy of receiving offerings, PY then talks about merit, a lot. “There are 3 ways to generate merit,” he would say. “The best way is to put the teaching into practice. Secondly, serve your teacher. And lastly, make material offerings. I was very fortunate to have done all three with H.H. Penor Rinpoche.”

Then he tells his students, “But since you don’t practise, you don’t know how to serve your teacher, the best way for you to generate merit, is to make material offerings. What if you don’t have resources? Give your time and effort.”

That we students are not practising, do not understand how to practise, serve the teacher poorly or lack the opportunity to serve is reinforced by PY constantly.

“Who is practising here? No one!” He would often sneer at us atop his so-called lama seat. PY conditions students to believe that they have such poor spiritual conditions that the only way to ever progress on the path was to make material offerings.

“To understand the teachings, you need merit. You don’t understand the teaching because you do not have enough merit. How to generate merit? Practise generosity, give!”

This, by the way, is totally inaccurate. Students do not understand PY’s teaching because as noted by anon27, PY’s teaching is extremely confusing. I have first-hand knowledge of this, as I had years of listening and then reverse-engineering his teaching style. I can verify that PY’s teaching lacks structure, is blatantly plagiaristic and lacks substance (more about this in future). He has successfully tricked his students, especially the Westerners into believing they are listening to something extremely profound, when most of his teaching content is already widely available on the internet. I even remembered him spending half a teaching session reading a Wikipedia article from his iPad, and then boasting how eclectic his teaching is.

As a result of the conditioning around merit and the practice of giving, I, for many years, threw myself wholeheartedly into PY’s cause, and seen others do the same.

I’ve seen a young entrepreneur with 2 successful businesses gave all that up progressively, travelled around the world with PY, and gradually depleted all her resources over a 7-8 year period. This is the same student who goes shopping with PY for his Prada clothing and shoes (PY’s favourite luxury brand), and two Dior suits for PY’s nephew’s wedding, all using students’ money.

I’ve seen another student who dropped a successful career in the financial industry completely, and spends her time and resources nowadays travelling and supporting PY’s activities and projects; while rubbing her fellow students the wrong way with ever increasing self-righteousness.

I’ve heard how PY instructed a long-time student to sell her investment property years ago, so that she could use the money to travel and attend his classes. The same student, now in middle age, scraps along today in a part-time job and gets put down constantly by PY for her anxiety, fear and cluelessness.

I’ve been told by another ex-student how under PY’s guidance, borrowed money to buy plane tickets to attend his retreat.

I’ve witnessed most of the remaining monks and nuns (around a third of them has left PY) continue to eke out a living working in dead end jobs, only to offer most of their income to PY.

I’ve observed, for the most part, students have become stuck in a rut, because PY destroys their motivation for any material progress in life, unless it has him at the centre of it. I’ve also seen how he set students up for stagnation, by encouraging them to attend more and more of his classes, when they do not have the economic conditions to do so.

As an outsider now, I can’t help but recall how miserable these students actually looked, because PY have programmed them to believe that they are in this economic state due to their poor practice.

I myself, stopped working totally after a few years with PY, because it simply became impossible to hold down a job with the amount of travelling I was doing. “There is nothing more important than attending teaching,” I would remind myself then.

PY had us believe that if we just have enough faith in him, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would take care of us. “Just look at me,” PY claims, “I’ve never asked for anything in my life, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas took care of everything for me.” (That is a blatant lie by the way, if one examines his history of manipulative behaviour.)

3. PY exploits his students’ feelings of indebtedness to him

Through setting up his students to fail financially, PY utilises the opportunity to present himself as a generous and compassionate teacher. He would display acts of kindness and generosity (always publicly), such as sponsoring group meals, buying clothes, gifts, or giving students money to buy plane tickets to attend his “teachings”.

This is just one of many psychological tricks he plays on students; if they had a normal livelihood and were sensible about how much material offerings to give, none of them would require PY’s gestures of financial support. Instead, students are tricked into perceiving that these gestures as proof that PY is a living Buddha, and feel indebted to him. To “repay the guru’s kindness”, the students offer more and more of their time, effort and resources to PY.

In essence, PY has created an illusory debt bondage, a vicious cycle where PY exploits students’ genuine feelings of gratitude to become richer and more powerful, while students become poorer, more dependent on him, and feel endlessly indebted.

This kind of psychological manipulation is why PY vehemently distances his students from modern psychology, because it will expose his psychopathologies. I heard how one young student became highly distressed because she was specifically “advised” by PY not to choose psychology for her university studies, and she, under the influence of her brainwashed mother, complied.

4. PY targets the financially wealthy, and they get preferential treatment

PY preaches a lot about the Buddhist notion of equanimity, but with distance and time to reflect on his behaviours over the years, I conclude without a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing equal about the way he interacts with students.

Once, on short notice, he flew halfway across the world to “help” a student’s daughter over a weekend. I was puzzled and surprised by this gesture. This student in question was also shocked but due to the feeling of indebtedness as described above, offered an envelope with money that more than covered PY’s air fare. This student has since left Pathgate because he saw through its financial irregularities, but only after tens of thousands of dollars in donations.

Looking back, it is clear to us that PY only did what he did because he knew this student was financially wealthy. This single trip was no more than an investment that will pay off infinitely bigger in future. PY wouldn’t never have done it if it was another student of lesser financial capacity. Circumstantial evidence tells me this was not the first time PY did this either.

Over the years, I have witnessed PY’s pattern of “lovebombing” towards the financially wealthy, and their relatives. I’ve seen him flatter and try to impress them over initial interactions. I remembered feeling puzzled about why PY was extra nice to them. I have personally been the receiving end of one of his tantrums, when he was late for an appointment with a rich foreign student wannabe. I have heard from others how he would rage at students when he failed to impress his potential cash cows, and blamed his students for interfering with his plans.

Once hooked onto PY’s spell, these financially well-off students would be told, “the wealth you have in this life is due to the merit generated in past lives, so make use of it now,” going on to imply that they should devote their resources to him and his projects instead. In general, he implicitly discourages his lay students from finding work, because “mundane work creates negative karma,” unless of course, the work serves PY’s personal agenda.

Personally, I remembered picking up PY’s subtle but unmistakable excitement in his voice when I revealed to him I had passive income. PY had even openly said to me once, “If you do not know what to do with your money, give them to me!”

PY characterised students and potential students in terms of “investability”. That’s what I believe he ultimately sees his students as: investment property, not human beings. My observations leads me to conclude that he only keeps the “good investments” around him. When an “investment” goes bad, he discards them ruthlessly, and then proceeds to utterly destroy them in the eyes of the “good investments”, who in turn feel superior as “practitioners who had not lost their way”, and remain loyal, but actually in an unconscious state of fearful submission.


In sum, PY has been exceptionally manipulative and had distorted Buddhism to financially exploit his students. By shedding light on this, one would realise that this pattern of exploitation is prevalent among cults / high-demand groups — further evidence that Pathgate is no more than a cult of personality around PY.  

I hope that this lengthy post helps elucidate the sinister paradigm past and present students have been subjected to. I pray that current students will one day, in their financial doldrums and emotional misery, snap out of the brainwashing and see the truth about their situation. But I pray even more that most don’t need to reach that sorry state.

A timeline of PY

This is anon27’s timeline of PY. He was a student at Pathgate for 20 years.


PY was a small-time martial arts teacher, with about 6 dedicated students and 20-40 casual students spread across London and Newcastle. He was just trying to break into the alternative healing / wellness world. He’d bought a large house with a pool in the basement with the first, and only, brainwashed person, a lady. The plan was for him to set up some kind of treatment centre there, based around PY’s chi kung power. 

She was super dedicated to him – in love / obsessed with him actually, but he was very casual with her. A few months later, she’d split away, keeping the house. He was very pissed off, and gave no real reasons for what had happened, but said he was “letting it all go”, so we should all just forget about it. We never saw or heard from her again. 

Later it became clear the house / money to buy it had always been hers, which is the real reason why he “let it go”. He’d given us the impression that it was the result of, and next step with, a very successful business he’d been building. It wasn’t.


PY’s claims of superpowers became much more pronounced, but all from martial arts. He lost all his “normal” students over the next time period, leaving a very small core group. Even within that small group, most if not all of us left PY at at least one point or another, but came back.


He started the 3 year Chi Kung foundation study. What was striking about it was that despite PY saying there would be exams and tests, there never were. The way he taught it was also a lot of waffle. It took me years to realise that without any kind of testing, none of us knew if we were “doing it right”, there was no sense of advancement, and PY didn’t have to actually teach anything!

This meant nobody really learned anything more than if they had picked up a book, but we were paying top dollar of course. It was all martial arts with supposedly esoteric Chi Kung.


I became aware he was talking a lot more about Buddhism, and started mentioning his trips to see HH. This is when he openly spoke about infiltrating HH’s circle and presence by pretending to be a photographer. He was proud that he’d found this sneaky way in, because it allowed him into places he otherwise wouldn’t have got into, and to be physically way closer to HH than he would otherwise have been, which also meant other people thought he was a lot more important than he was.


I went for a class, and things had changed. Prayers had started, as had prostrations to PY. He talked a heck of a lot, then we did a bit of martial arts. It all struck me as extraordinary. “Classes” had become “teachings”, more often. PY had become fixated on creating his enlightened lama persona, and was well on the way to doing so, though martial arts were still a big part of things and he wasn’t quite as inflated as he then became.


PY had fully become who we now know him as, but wasn’t quite as obvious about it as he is now. At Namdroling, PY was in very bad character throughout, which I later realised was partly because he was manipluating the final steps with various people around the monastery to getting his lama robes, and it wasn’t as easy as he’d thought it would be. He got his lama robes, and to me at least, this marked his terminal decline. He’d become so nasty, I packed up my stuff and left.


Over the years I fought the brainwashing, reached my conclusions, but still had a few doubts, and wanted to see what had become of the students who had stayed (I figured that if they’d advanced more than me, it would have evidence I was wrong), so I went for a class. It was as I’d remembered, but worse. The students who had stayed hadn’t changed one bit! They’d in fact gotten more suppressed and introverted.

I thoroughly checked afterwards what I’d learned and not learned, and found that PY had spent hours saying nothing useful. I went to one more class, to know for absolutely sure, and that was it for me.