A couple of quotes highly relevant to the Pathgate cult from this webpage on The Difficulties of Emerging from a Cult:
“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.