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Unregistered User
(11/3/01 10:50 pm)
Degrading experience
People have asked here for examples, while someone else has pointed out that the abuse we speak of is physiological which makes this difficult. But examples abound if you look for them. The abusive treatment showed itself in many ways.

“In Recovery”, who appears to be a former monastic, posted a message which said “…I also needed money for a decent pair of trousers and a pair of shoes and I was reminded that the budget is limited. Asking for help became a very degrading experience. Even now I can hardly believe how much I bought into the idea that my needs were not legitimate unless I was really desperate and my clothes and shoes were falling apart.”

This type of abuse was not limited to the monastics. Employees have had salary issues for years. The rule was that you only got a raise if you go to your boss and could show a need. A need? Based on what? Br. Graham drives a sport utility vehicle and some of the employees are almost living out of their cars. I know an employee who went five years without a raise and of course now there is a wage freeze altogether.

This rule was never defined. It lead to many unfair situations but the Board never reconsidered the treatment and I believe it is still in effect. SRF doesn’t give a hoot about it’s employees.

Unregistered User
(11/3/01 11:39 pm)
Daya Mata lives in a million dollar home. Br. Graham drives a sport utillity vehicle. The Brothers have their own mountain bikes and palm pilots. We've misunderstood their vows of renunciation. Simplicity. Hmmm?

Unregistered User
(11/4/01 5:44 am)
Daya and Ananda matas house, and Graham’s SUV are among the things that are pretty weird but many of the monks have enough money to buy themselves things like palm pilots and expensive bikes. No one stops them and maybe that is not too bad. Their lives are so miserable that they need this distraction. The bikes allow them to get away for a while where they can really meditate. The palm pilots and other techno-toys are just distractions. The members are not providing money for their support.

Someone here wanted evidence of the internal problems. The fact that monastics need these outlets, palm pilot status symbols and other toys, might look like evidence that the monastic life style itself is not providing something in their lives. Might not.

Been there
Unregistered User
(11/4/01 10:15 am)
Monastics and material things
Firstly, no one is buying bikes and palm pilots on $40 a month. Ministers and counselors receive money and gifts from the members. They are not "required" to report an individual gift of money if it is $100 or less. This can add up, and alot of these guys have got some groovy stuf. And some monastics have family money. At the same time, most of their fellow monastics who have taken the same vows have zilch. The former psychological consultants referred to this as a culture of "haves" and "have-nots." Pretty weird. There are nuns feeling terribly guilty for needing to buy a dress (and just try finding ones that meets the dress code!) while some monks have their own vehicles and jet off for conferences in various cities, stay in nice hotels, etc.
This is not to say that the toys or the travel makes any of them happy. It makes the life more bearable for some, however. And I for one would never deny them any happiness they can find.

Raja Begum
Unregistered User
(11/4/01 1:08 pm)
Something's not right about that picture
I wouldn't want to deprive them of life's joys either. But some of those "renuniciants" live more opulently than I do. "Have" and "have nots" --- that should NEVER exist in a monastic environment.

Unregistered User
(11/4/01 9:41 pm)
Imagine how it makes the members working their feel. They serve all day then some serve Sunday and week nights at the temples. They make low wages then see Graham drive off in his SUV working a few hours a day.

Unregistered User
(11/5/01 4:04 pm)
Monastic opulence
If you know anything about the history of Catholic monastic orders, none of this sounds very new--it's been going on for centuries. Monastic establishments in the 18th century were often like palaces, complete with huge libraries, large wine cellars, resident musicians and composers to provide dinner entertainment, etc. And don't think there wasn't plenty of hanky-panky going on. The true history of Casanova and his debaucheries at a local convent tell you everything you need to know. SRF isn't that bad--yet. But it's not hard to see that the seeds have been planted.

Is it general knowledge that SRF is spending almost half a million dollars to add bathrooms to Hollywood Temple? When they want to spend money, they have it to spend. They plead poverty in all other cases. There are very disturbing parallels in the organization Mother Teresa of Calcutta established. If you are a genuine iconoclast like me, you won't want to miss reading Christopher Hitchens's fabulous book Missionary Position, the only critical writing I have ever seen about someone normally held to be perfect and inviolable in every respect.

Recovering Slowly
Unregistered User
(11/5/01 5:24 pm)
I knew the monk from the Richmond Temple who got the boot from SRF several years ago because he had an affair with a lay member. He was well liked. SRF paid the woman around $350,000 to keep quiet. I don't know what happened to him, if he was ousted, or if he ever got any help or money from the organization. No monastery if perfect, and people like to look for the imperfections, it seems.

Unregistered User
(11/5/01 9:04 pm)
That incident
I don't believe there has been any criticism of that incident on this board. The women should have been compensated, depending on the circumstances. I hope it was not hush money but that would be SRF’s style! My understanding is that the monk involved was booted out with no help from SRF. That is not so unexpected.

The fact that SRF has funded a lawsuit against another organization for this same behavior must be an embarrassment for SRF.

Unregistered User
(11/6/01 8:58 am)
Hanky-panky at Mt. Washington
This is perhaps unfair, but since the person has left the order and his conduct was so unbecoming a senior monk, correct me if I'm mistaken in identifying him as (former) Bro. xxxxxxxxxx. He was in the habit of sneaking out of the ashram at night for amorous encounters with a devotee living on the Hill. I believe she threatened to sue, which scared the daylights out of the BOD, which settled out of court. I don't want to spread false info, so if this is wrong, please speak up. This is what I had in mind when I said the seeds have been planted. I can easily imagine that in a 100 years, if SRF lasts that long (in its present configuration, that seems highly unlikely), it could be a sink hole of corruption. I know a long-time devotee and current employee of SRF who has said he wouldn't give the organization one penny. I wonder why?

One last thought: If Ma is omniscient and goes through the monastics' consciousnesses, why didn't she pick up on this? One devotee friend of mine has come up with (in all seriousness) a delicious oxymoron: selective omniscience. Hey, it beats any explanation I have, except bald-faced lying.

Edited by: srfwalrus at: 11/6/01 10:44:41 pm
Recovering Slowly
Unregistered User
(11/6/01 10:25 am)
KC, what lawsuit, I don't know what you mean.
My point was that there seems to be lots of ready cash when SRF wants to put forth a good public face, but concerns about monastics seems to be bottom of the barrel. Where is our organization getting all this money and why is there this imbalance?

Unregistered User
(11/6/01 11:47 am)
Ma Consciousness
Musicman --- Daya's reputation as a God realized saint is pushed and pushed and pushed but is not true. She is not "going through the monastics' minds" or even thinking about them much.

Been there
Unregistered User
(11/6/01 1:32 pm)
For Recovering Slowly
I think the lawsuit KS is referring to is the sexual harrassment suit against Kriyananda. SRF denies any involvement in this.

Unregistered User
(11/6/01 2:22 pm)
Reporter--Occam would be proud of you! The simplest of two explanations tends to be the correct one. Either she is omniscient or she isn't. There is no halfway point (like being a "little bit" pregnant). Diagnosis: she ain't.

In Recovery
Unregistered User
(11/8/01 6:11 pm)
Gifts to Ministers
I knew of only a few monks who had substantial family wealth, and I have no gripes about them spending it on fancy do-dads that help make their lives a little easier and more entertaining.

The main issue for me is how the system is set up to bleed the monastics dry of any personal funds they might have and make them completely dependent on the ashram for all their needs. And also the disparity between senior and younger monastics.

Most of the monastics are virtually unknown to the membership and therefore receive no gifts like what the ministers receive (and I've seen the kind of gifts they've received -- very expensive items). I'm not complaining about this but just observing the disparity. And the younger monastics know nothing about what financial aid they can ask for because that information is not volunteered until Personnel deems what they are wearing as unsuitable.

I'm not saying that there's a collaborative effort among the seniors to withhold that information from the younger ones, but that the present system doesn't consider these needs. Instead, the system is set up to protect the organization from being screwed.

To KS: Believe me, the monastics with expensive bicycles are NOT using them to escape somewhere to meditate. First of all, the bicycles at the retreats are all busted up, have flat tires and screwy gears. What fancy bicycles that are donated end up at the nearby work retreat in Sierra Madre, which is available only to certain monks (more senior ones), and therefore the bicycles are available only to certain monks. Younger monks need special permission and the company of senior monks to go to this retreat. It's all just too much trouble just to get access to something that was donated for ALL the monks' usage, and so the younger monks just go along with it all without knowing how badly they're being screwed.

Unregistered User
(11/30/01 1:31 am)
Gifts to Monastics
Sorry to burst your bubble, but check out the digs at Lake Shrine. Very fancy mountain bikes, large screen TV, gourmet food. Monks love to go there and why not? It's the "country club" of SRF. Members there (called "Santa's Helpers") collect money to buy presents for the monks at Christmas. Give me a break. Meanwhile, employees are denied raises and worked overtime without pay. As someone said previously, when they want to spend money, they have it. Now that the Gandhi Memorial has its new, fancy "cover", delivered by helicopter no less, they are replacing the gate and paving the parking lot at another half-million cost. My question is: if the Mt. Washington expansion had not been squashed by residents, surely the millions were ready and waiting to be spent. So where is that money now and why this freeze on salaries? Shame on SRF. Oh but wait, Chrismas is coming, so all those employees who live all year on next to nothing will be thrilled to get their annual box of Mrs. See's candy and a desk calendar. That will make it all right.

Unregistered User
(11/30/01 9:02 am)
Reply to Eagle
Yes it seems the money is there when deemed necessary for "the work." Apparently, raising the salaries of the employees who do the work is not part of "the work."
About the monks' bicycles and the Lake Shrine digs -- yes, the LS is the ultimo monastic home, but not all monks and absolutely no nuns are able to make use of it, even for a brief retreat. And the rank and file are not getting the cash and gifts received by the monks directly in contact with the members. The largesse is distributed to others only if the monk receiving the gifts chooses to do so.

Unregistered User
(11/30/01 11:29 am)
Treating the employees with respect is FREE, so what is there excuse there? :( Or how about a 401K plan or some kind of retirement plan or paying into unemployment so that the employees can have some income when they are laid off?

Unregistered User
(11/30/01 11:59 am)
Unpaid overtime?
If an employee is paid hourly and is not paid overtime, they can file a claim for overtime with the California Department of Industrial Relations at


California has a daily overtime law, not weekly.

Unregistered User
(12/2/01 8:05 am)
Unpaid Overtime
I believe that in spite of everything many of the employees still want to help and get their jobs done. SRF is so extremely poorly organized and so some people are over worked and/or the work comes in a rush at time. People will sometimes just put in the extra time. I doubt anyone is required by their supervisor to work hours for free.

Of course there is always the cold dark threat of layoffs should a department not pull its weight so the incentive to get the work done is always there. The Accounting people carry a big hammer and could decide to remove a department and hire more efficient outside people. The loving caring management of SRF would stand aside and let it happen.

Raja Begum
Unregistered User
(12/2/01 11:39 am)
Core issue
Layoffs, being underpaid, working overtime without pay, poor organization and bad management --- these are not exclusive to SRF. Anyone visit the 3rd World recently? Most of your jobs in SRF are not high education professions. They are skill based. If the skill isn't needed...bye bye. I once saw a bunch of loyal 20 -30 year employees get the bump at a huge corporation. On Friday, the pink slip. On Monday, a vacant cubicle. Life ain't fair and people are stupid.

Granted this is an unfair, disorganized world, so what's the CORE ISSUE here?

The way I see it, you all had expectations that SRF was going to treat its workers compassionately and fairly. Guruji counsels us to be aware of our motives and actions, but in SRF you see unconsciousness. Master talks about being the best in your field. SRF continues to lumber along so slowly that you wonder if it isn't sliding backwards. You had every right to believe that SRF would try to live by the ideals it preaches..... but....

You've discovered that SRF is full of hypocrisy., and this poses a serious moral dilemma.

SRF asks you and me to continue trying to be perfect (You MUST.. you SHOULD...NEVER...ALWAYS.....KEEP ON...) but is it? Sure, on the surface it makes a grand statement of perfection -- all superficial -- while it sweeps its dirt under the rug. To an unsuspectiing devotee (the majority) a quick peek at a well-organized display of new books or the award-winning calendar, reading in the VL Newsletter about a new building project, etc., gives the appearance that the world is marching on for SRF. But those who are part of the inner dysfunctional family know it is mostly a bleak house.

Guruji said that when you see a lonely brother weeping by the wayside and you heart goes out to him, you have momentarily impinged on the Christ-Conciousness. Is this the everday ideal in SRF? Or is it: The shoemaker's wife always has holes in her shoes....God beats the children he loves the most...?

Deeper Core Issue: SRF is filled with unempathic people

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