Powerful Woman of Eternity

This is the testimony of “Chime”, who was a student from 2009-2012. Text has been edited for grammar and readability.


I met Peter Yeung (PY) and his entourage back in April 2009 in Athens where I was living at that time.

It was a very difficult period for me — I was sad and with no motivation in my life, a girl in her late 20s who was trying to find her place in the world.

I was fascinated from the beginning because PY gave me a lot of attention and seemed to care about me. I followed the lessons and got really into the whole Buddhist thing. During that period PY had starting teaching in Italy and asked me right away if I could go and translate his lessons from English into Italian. I thought “Wow! If he asks me to do something like this it means I have something special, I can get into his inner circle, I’m lucky…” and that’s how it all started.

In June 2009 I went to Italy for the first time with him and translated simultaneously the lessons, then I went in August to the last retreat held in Epidavros, Greece. I didn’t know what was going to happen there and on the first day I was shocked by the whole thing. I had decided to go with camping but it was really not for me. PY probably understood this and decided to offer me and another girl a gift: an apartment for us to stay for the whole period!

I became more and more fascinated by Buddhism, the lessons and all that I was hearing. I took refuge and received my Buddhist name: Chime Wangmo (Powerful woman of eternity).

Coming back to the real world it had become difficult because I was finding other people meaningless. Peter Young was becoming so influential in my life that my family began to get scared of what was happening. I dissimulated quite well and tried to be “normal” for them.

I didn’t have friends outside the Pathgate circle and was spending all my free time with its people, living with the monks and nuns, helping them at their centre, the organisation of the seminars, cooking etc.

The same year I went to the Winter Retreat in Newcastle, England for the first time and spent my Christmas there. After that, I was in Italy translating for PY, and was in England for Easter. Then everything changed during the retreat held in Athens in 2010.

I had a very big house in the centre of Athens and I don’t remember how this happened but he stayed in my place for the whole retreat and that’s how it began…

I can say I was really adoring him and he understood this and abused my state. We also started having a “relationship” and I was living a dream in those days, I was happy and feeling lucky I had him with me. This continued till winter 2010, when I was going to Italy with him, staying in the same hotel and with him at night, and him staying in my place In Athens.

(Editor’s note:
Q: “When you said “relationship” with PY, what do you mean? Did you and PY hold hands? Kiss? Have sex etc.?”
A: “Everything you mentioned.
“)

Then I went for the winter retreat in 2010 and was hoping to have some private time with him like in other occasions. It was there that I saw his indifference and realised I actually meant nothing to him. I understood that he was just playing with me and that I was not the only woman. I was feeling frustrated and very sad because I understood this was normal for him and that after me, there would be others suffering the same fate.

I said to myself I had to give myself a time and leave all this, because I was becoming afraid that if I left the Pathgate entourage I would be cursed and ruined by his powerful means.

In Easter 2011 I met my actual husband and started going out with him. I understood what normal life was and wanted to find a way to escape Pathgate. I continued seeing PY in Italy, in my place in Athens, but I was really afraid of him and what could happen to me. I had to find a way to leave him and everyone.

In Autumn 2011 I decided to move back to Italy and live with the man who is now my husband. I said to PY I wanted to go back to Italy to help him create a centre in Italy like in Greece so he wouldn’t suspect anything. I moved in January 2012 and in early February there was a seminar in Milan. I didn’t invite him to my home in Milan and only went to pick him up at the hotel and translated his lessons.

It was then PY understood what was going on, and after the last day of lessons, he started screaming at me over dinner in front of everyone, and offensively saying that I was going to have a terrible future because I had lost the motivation and so on… I can’t remember everything he said. At the end he slapped my face in front of everyone.

I didn’t cry, tried to be calm and then went home. Before entering my apartment I cried in the car, called my mother who knew what happened, and I felt lucky to have at least her hearing me out and helping me.

It was the last time I saw PY.

I was free.

But I was scared he would interfere in my future, that he would do something evil to me or my beloved family.

I got pregnant the same year and lost the baby. After some examinations the result showed that the baby had Down Syndrome. I was shocked and thought this might have something to do with PY. I started suffering from panic attacks and went to see a psychiatrist. I took some medication for a few months.

Then I got married and now I have a normal happy life with two kids.

It’s only after years that I understood that PY’s influence was bullshit. Yet today, even if I feel free from it, I still check Pathgate’s website to see what is going on, and if he still teaches.

I want to share my story because I want to show women that the line between normality and getting involved in a cult is very subtle, and if you are in a difficult period, it’s very easy to be taken advantage of. Don’t be scared of what people tell you in there, nothing bad will happen to you. Buddhism is not like this. You can live a normal life after leaving.

Another Survivor Testimony

Reposting a recent message from another ex-student, with his permission.


Hi there,

Pretty random how I found [Pathgate Survivors] as I was looking for some incense. I was a student of PY from the late 90’s moving to live in Newcastle in 2000, I stayed there and experienced much of what had been described by others on your site until my “Buddha nature” spoke to me to leave in 2004, ironic as PY would have said this was pride talking… but literally was the only thing that saved me!

I was subject to many forms of abuse and because I had originally joined for the focus on martial arts I was repeatedly hit. Because of my practice I did well in his cult despite initially “breaking every vow possible” and being “destined to linger in hell for many lifetimes”.. this came from kissing another student… thankfully PY was there to “clear my negative karma” by systematically beating me..!

I would very much like to connect to others who I may know during my time there as they were truly great people who were so wrongly hurt.

Ben


The message speaks for itself, but to make it clear, several cult dynamics have been presented here:

  1. physical abuse, degradation and loss of dignity of student-victims.
  2. loaded language, in this case, “pride”, “vows” and “purifying negative karma”.
  3. fearmongering and shame-inducing by cult leader.
  4. delegitimisation and isolation of former members.

It’s great that we have, over the past year, been able to reconnect ex-students who had either self-isolated out of unwarranted fear and shame, or were forcefully isolated by Pathgate. We look forward to reuniting more of us.

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. 

“Kate”


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.

UK:
Inform
https://inform.ac/

DialogCentre UK
http://dialogcentre.org.uk

Cult Information Centre
https://cultinformation.org.uk/

Australia:
Cult Consulting Australia
https://www.cultconsulting.org/content/cult-consulting-australia