PY the martial arts teacher

Many thanks to anon27 for his comprehensive debunking of PY’s supposed claim of superiority and teaching ability in martial arts (and by extension, Buddhism), in response to a question from me. It is important and beneficial for ex-students’ recovery. Text has been slightly edited to correct typos and maintain anonymity.

Dear anon27,

In the [CEI] forum you stated that PY failed as a martial arts teacher.

In PY’s defence, he constantly brings up the medals his students won in competitions. And he would talk about his travels, his connection to the Wu Style Taichi lineage masters and Internal Arts teacher. So we were led into believe he had a very successful time in martial arts and he left at his peak, because he found out education is the way to go. This is the same for his time as a dance teacher in university.

In your [20] years with him, what would be a more balanced or accurate portrayal to help us break some of the above programming?

Thank you,

Hi dear karmicwind,

This is a good question!

What we always have to remember is that PY is a master of blending fact and fiction.

Exactly like his current students believe they’re getting the secret, real Buddhism, his martial arts students believed they were getting “the real deal”. We all spent a lot of time and money on it, so we were invested in making it seem worthwhile, and making him out to be someone special. It served us to big him up.

PY has studied Buddhism, has spent time with HH Penor Rinpoche … but where is PY’s proof of endorsement? Nobody has ever seen it.
It’s like a person attending a course but not getting a certificate, then claiming because he was there, he knows it all. It’s just not credible, and actually proof he doesn’t have that endorsement.
Same with martial arts.
He claims the Lama robes, yet didn’t do the required course of study. This is objective fact. I think it’s the same with martial arts.

Also to remember, like with the Buddhism, if a student does practice, even under a fake teacher, we will get results.
PY claims those results are down to him.
They are not.
Anyone doing meditation and prayer will advance on the path.
Anyone practicing martial arts will get better at them.
The key point is: in martial arts, none of his students are recognised teachers.
After all this time, and PY’s supposed amazing ability and success, there would be a whole series of schools set up. This is what happens with other teachers.
How is PY therefore measuring “success”? What achievements can he point to? None.
Where are all these so-called medal winning students? Why is there NOBODY recognised anywhere that was a student of PY’s in either dance or martial arts?
Why doesn’t he say where the medals were won? Just “oh yeah, lots of medals”. It’s like Donald Trump.

I never heard PY taught dance, only that he studied it. Maybe he taught a bit.
From the little I heard, Newcastle Uni basically kicked him off the campus as a martial arts teacher because after a while they realised he was dangerous.
For a long time, when PY “taught at Newcastle Uni”, he was in fact just teaching on a patch of grass that happened to be on Uni grounds. He wasn’t associated with NU in any way.
He did teach for some time in one of their halls … but that’s a case of him paying them rent every week to use it, it wasn’t endorsement or association.
That he gives that impression is another indicator that he’s lying about something.

1.  I had a very good long term friend who is a student of Master Lam Kam Chuen.
Master Lam worked for Hong Kong (HK) Customs, has done TV series on Chi Kung, and has a very high reputation with proper official people, both in the martial arts world and in the wider world.
Master Lam is from HK, knew PY directly, and knows his reputation back in Hong Kong.
Master Lam was very negative about PY (in the indirect Chinese way, and also surprisingly directly), and this friend of mine told me it was well known in Master Lam’s circle that PY left a trail of destroyed students behind him.
This friend and I stopped being friends because he basically thought I was stupid to keep following PY.
Sadly, it took me years to figure out he was right.
You can contact Master Lam to ask about PY – maybe pose as a naif student asking for a reference. You’ll see what response you get.

2.  When I said he was a failed teacher I meant:

PY couldn’t make his living from it, because only few students would stay with him (us brainwashed ones).
Everyone with real interest or experience in Martial Arts left very quickly, often having been attacked by PY, both physically and mentally.
That’s why he moved into religion. He needed a better income stream, and a better cover.
Also, that his martial arts students never became really good, even after years and serious dedication.
In the same way that PY sabotages our Buddhist practice by introducing lies and a lot of fear, he sabotaged our martial arts practice. This way, we constantly struggle to advance, which makes it look like PY has achieved amazing things. He makes it 1000 times more difficult than it needs to be, so we all think “wow, if it’s this difficult, PY must be amazing”.
Do you see what I mean?

3.  I’ve not seen one person achieve anything like PY’s claimed level of expertise in Martial Arts.
Even Kunzang’s form is pretty shitty for someone who has been dedicated for 25+ years.
PY just doesn’t share what he knows, if he does actually know what he claims to know.
This means he is a fake teacher, even if he does know what he claims to know.
Interestingly too, no teacher who does have extraordinary ability in martial arts says they do. They don’t advertise it.
PY is the only one to have videos of void power on the web, in fact PY’s only claims to ability is based on believing he has “supernormal powers”. If we look at him, and his martial arts, without the “supernormal powers” element, suddenly we see he is in fact, very average.
Same with Buddhism – if we take off his robes, what do we see?
An obese bully who acts in a very nasty way to all his students.

4. Look at the comments under the YouTube videos.
All real martial artists say PY is simply ridiculous.
If PY’s martial arts powers were real, he could earn millions of $ in Mixed martial arts, or training MMA. He doesn’t, and never has.
This is evidence his skills are fake, and that he cannot teach.
He says it’s because that doesn’t interest him, but that’s like me saying “oh yeah, I could be a rock star, but it doesn’t interest me”. In the real world, that’s bullshit. Either be a rock star, or don’t talk about it.
He claims he could do anything better than anyone else in Buddhism and martial arts … but spends his time hidden away in Newscastle, teaching a bunch of zombies, who after many years of being his students are still very poor human beings and who display very little ability of their own.
This just isn’t real. If PY could do what he says he can do, he would have a much higher profile, and recognition.

5.  Look at these links:
a. []

The Chinese perspective on PY’s martial arts:
Sample: “Lama Dondrup Dorje, in the above video is … continuously misrepresenting Chinese culture, and brain-washing Westerners into following nonsense and believing in religiously inspired mythology. None of this Lama Dondrup Dorje expression is real. … non-Chinese people fall for what Lama Dondrup Dorje is teaching. The people in this video are the victims of a ‘cult’ mentality … These people are brain-washed to act in a manner that Lama Dondrup Dorje requires … How crazy all this seems from a genuine Chinese cultural perspective … Lama Dondrup Dorje and his misled ‘Taijiquan’ students, represent delusion in action, and displays how suitably motivated individuals can throw themselves around a padded floor, if the psycho-physical climate requires it.”

b. []

Sample: “[Peter Young’s video is] an interesting example of an unusual, but by no means ‘supernatural’ phenomenon. Music hall and vaudeville performers used the same principles back in the late 1800s, often presented as a demonstration of “human magnetism”; modern stage hypnotists and faith healers, likewise.”

c. []

Sample: “I can tell you an episode that in the gym where I learned became famous: [Peter Young] came to do an internship with us a Chinese teacher and wanted to show how people were flying with his Qi power; so my teacher gave him to try it with an experienced student (30 years of practice) ….
When in front of everyone he could not make him fly as he wanted (he did not move him an inch). Peter Young got very angry … He tried to find excuses of various kinds, but the truth was clear to everyone … go very cautious …. very very very …”

6.  The medals were won by a small group of early students, at various events, but these included many of PY’s own events!!
I am one of the medal winners. Those medals mean absolutely nothing, they’re total bullshit, handed out like sweeties, mainly for just turning up.
Those medal winners also included Michael C. [Surname redacted] – do you know who that is? If so, look at him, and see if you can believe he’s a successful result of many years of martial arts training.
Some of those early students were also really weird people … like many of the current students are now. If we met them outside the group, we would stay away from them. Even meeting them within the group, there are very few that I felt I wanted to know. From what you say, I suspect you felt the same. That’s another reason we don’t have lots of contact details of current and former students.
Real martial arts classes create strong long-term friendships. That’s a big part of it.
PY discourages friendships. This is very telling.

7.  When any of us students actually got any good at martial arts, PY would drive them away, because we started to beat him!
After a few years, I beat him. It wasn’t even that difficult. I was so surprised that I didn’t press my advantage, and let him win, because I was embarrassed to beat him. However, it was clear to us both that his skill was not as high as he claimed.
It was soon after that that he said he was abandoning martial arts because he moved into Buddhism as a higher form of practice.
If you take away the hypnosis / Darren Brown type stuff, then PY used to be able to move well, but that’s it. I think it was mainly his dance training, and his neurosis-driven focus.
This is one of the big reasons he stopped his students practicing martial arts. They were starting to reach the limits of PY’s ability, and he knew if he let them carry on, they’d see him for what he is.

8.  Because there is so much bullshit in the martial arts world, all respectable teachers are part of official bodies or are endorsed by other teachers. PY is part of no official body, and endorsed by nobody. This in itself is a very telling thing.
Where is PY’s proof of any lineage in Wu style?
If you look at Master Lam’s website, there’s loads of verifiable information on his lineage AND what his students / disciples are now doing.
PY has none of this – no lineage, and no inheritors. This is very telling.

9.  Many of the current students spent years training in martial arts. Then, suddenly, he stopped them. This is either a sign of a very bad teacher (“I’ll make you train for years, and pay huge amounts of money, then take it all away and tell you it’s all shit for some vague cosmic reason”); or of someone who knows that if the student continued, PY would be exposed as a fake, because the student would reach the limits of PY’s ability.

Objectively, it comes down to this:
Many people invested a lot of money and time in PY’s martial arts training.
None of them have achieved anything with it.
Therefore it was a bad investment.
Yet, he claims he is one of the most amazing martial arts guys in the world, and one of the best teachers in the world.
Therefore he is a fake.

I hope that helps!

Scientific research into abuse in Tibetan Buddhist communities

Here is the recent paper by Dr. Anne Iris Miriam Anders from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology:

Silencing and Oblivion of Psychological Trauma, Its Unconscious Aspects, and Their Impact on the Inflation of Vajrayāna. An Analysis of Cross-Group Dynamics and Recent Developments in Buddhist Groups Based on Qualitative Data.

Qualitative data was extracted from survey responses from victims and witnesses of abuse in Tibetan Buddhist communities, such as Rigpa, Shambhala, Ogyen Kunzang Choling and Pathgate.

Abstract of the paper:

The commercialization of Buddhist philosophy has led to decontextualization and indoctrinating issues across groups, as well as abuse and trauma in that context. Methodologically, from an interdisciplinary approach, based on the current situation in international Buddhist groups and citations of victims from the ongoing research, the psychological mechanisms of rationalizing and silencing trauma were analyzed. The results show how supposedly Buddhist terminology and concepts are used to rationalize and justify economic, psychological and physical abuse. This is discussed against the background of psychological mechanisms of silencing trauma and the impact of ignoring the unconscious in that particular context. Inadequate consideration regarding the teacher–student relationship, combined with an unreflective use of Tibetan honorary titles and distorted conceptualizations of methods, such as the constant merging prescribed in so-called ‘guru yoga’, resulted in giving up self-responsibility and enhanced dependency. These new concepts, commercialized as ‘karma purification’ and ‘pure view’, have served to rationalize and conceal abuse, as well as to isolate the victims. Therefore, we are facing societal challenges, in terms of providing health and economic care to the victims and implementing preventive measures. This use of language also impacts on scientific discourse and Vajrayāna itself, and will affect many future generations.

Dr. Anders’ paper contributes to initial scientific investigation into the mechanics underlying the abuse in Tibetan Buddhist communities and its impact on victims. It serves as an invaluable foundation for future research into this phenomenon.

The full paper can be read here.

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.