Friday, October 20, 2006

Andrew Cohen Defends Himself in New Blog

Thanks to a tip from ~C4Chaos, I have been reading the first blog entry by the guru Andrew Cohen: A Declaration of Integrity: An open letter from Andrew Cohen to his friends and foes.

It should be made clear at the outset --I don't like Andrew Cohen, as my post The Abusive Guru: Andrew Cohen no doubt made clear.

This is from his sort-of introduction:

There’s something uniquely disconcerting about the dawning realization that countless people you have never met are holding an image of you that doesn’t even remotely resemble reality. It’s a strange predicament that I’ve lived with almost from the day I became a teacher of enlightenment. Indeed, from the very beginning, people have responded to me in extreme ways. I’ve always been the kind of teacher who evokes reverence and respect from some, and suspicion and hatred from others. In recent years, however, this polarization has become more extreme, due in large part to the dedicated efforts of a small group of former students who seem to have made it their life mission to create and spread a negative picture of who I am, in a couple of books and in online forums.

I know many people have wondered why I have not responded sooner to all of this. To be honest, I simply didn’t know how to even start. Everything I was being accused of was so absurdly misrepresented and taken so far out of context, so obviously designed only to malign me and my work and cause doubt about my integrity, that I was reduced to a two-dimensional caricature of a cultural stereotype: the “charismatic and corrupt guru.” The motives of my detractors appeared so transparent that I thought they would be obvious to others, and I naively concluded that there was no point in responding. Besides, it just felt beneath my dignity to do so. I was wrong. I have now, obviously belatedly, come to understand that my lack of response is being considered by some as an admission of guilt or wrongdoing, or even worse, as a lack of integrity in itself. Respected friends had advised me: “Let your work speak for itself.” I had hoped that anybody with the eyes to see would easily recognize that the ever-evolving creativity, rationality, and open-mindedness of my teaching and my magazine, together with the confidence, joie de vivre, and open-heartedness expressed by my students consistently over a long period of time, just didn’t jibe with the bizarre picture my detractors were trying to paint. But it seems that the time has come for me to speak out more directly and set the record straight.

From there he goes on -- at length, seems no one told him much about blogging -- to defend himself and his motives. It's worth the read. I suspect that he truly believes in his integrity and mission, but he comes off -- as he often does in the Guru & The Pandit series -- as egotistical and narcissistic.

I feel the need to mention that his teachings and books are often on-target -- it's only when he begins speaking from his own enormously inflated ego that he comes off sounding like an idiot.

Andrew Cohen, for all his attempts to argue otherwise, is simply not credible in his own defense. But that is just my opinion -- read the article and make your own conclusion. Then, check out What Enlightenment?

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