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Download American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing-former students of Andrew Cohen speak out epub

by William Yenner

American Guru is a multifaceted account of life in the contemporary spiritual community known as EnlightenNext, and the controversial "teaching methods" of its New York-born founder, self-proclaimed "guru" Andrew Cohen. With contributions from several of Cohen's former students, William Yenner recalls the thirteen-year trajectory of his career as a leader and manager in Cohen's community--his early days as an idealistic "seeker," his years of service on EnlightenNext's Board of Directors, his ultimate disillusionment and departure,and his efforts to make sense of his experiences as a once-devoted follower of a "Teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment." With wit and insight, Yenner and his colleagues have produced a riveting cautionary tale on the dangers of authoritarian spirituality, and an insider'scase study on the promises and pitfalls of postmodern discipleship. "William Yenner's courageous exposé, American Guru, is a powerful reminder that all of our tendencies toward idealization of dharma teachers must be carefully examined." -William Morgan, Psy.D., member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy,co-author of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy "William Yenner's true, uncensored-and finally ungagged-moving personal story, in combination with the powerful reflections, recollections and contributions of other former community members, makes American Guru an essential source document for the study and understanding of authoritarian spiritual sects." -Hal Blacker, former editor of EnlightenNext magazine "American Guru is not a mean-spirited book. It is, rather, a refreshingly honest one." -David Christopher Lane, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Mt. San Antonio College Check out the book online at
Download American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing-former students of Andrew Cohen speak out epub
ISBN: 0982453051
ISBN13: 978-0982453056
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Leaders & Notable People
Author: William Yenner
Language: English
Publisher: Epigraph Publishing (August 11, 2009)
Pages: 170 pages
ePUB size: 1387 kb
FB2 size: 1976 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 182
Other Formats: txt doc docx rtf

This short book is a collection of essays by former followers of spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen, whose EnlightenNext movement collapsed several years after publication. While the book -- essentially an indictment of Cohen -- does a good job of displaying his excesses and abuses, it is less successful in explaining what drew the followers to Cohen in the first place, and only touches on Cohen's teachings. (His methods are discussed, but the substance is not.) Given that Cohen has now taken some responsibility for his failings, it would be interesting to read an updated version.
It has been suggested by anonymous sources, otherwise fearful, to me as a critic of various guru figures, to make public a request that Andrew Cohen step down from his position as 'guru' in the context of his EnlightenNext initiative.
The account in this excellent work is so depressingly clear on the issue of guru abuse that I think some kind of outside intervention or declaration is needed.
The legacy of confusion here has gone on for a whole generation and includes the figures, Da Free John, E.J.Gold, Lee Lozowick and Andrew Cohen. The whole sequence here has been haywire from the beginning.
The account here is of a baffling display of pathological behavior masked by a misleading endorsement of Cohen's reputed enlightenment. The original source of this endorsement is itself entirely suspect and has empowered a very a questionable career of authoritarian behavior.
One of the larger problems here is the lack of any traditional context made clear. What is the canon of the guru? What religion is in the background, Hinduism, Buddhism, ...? The lack of any clear context for a teaching has produced a completely vacuous teaching made up 'as you go along'.
The quest for enlightenment beyond ego is not achieved by (egoic) ego-bashing of 'disciples' by a teacher. Ego cannot be destroyed by castigation and attempts to destroy a person's psyche. It is a misunderstanding to think you can destroy ego, and the task is that of self-enlightening transcendence of ego, by the individual in question, and in the final analysis the guru figure is at best a witness to what the disciple must do. The kind of shenanigans depicted in this book show someone out of control, with no grasp of what is needed.

The Buddhist declaration of the entry to the Path of Enlightenment makes no reference as such to gurus or guruism. The fetish of the guru as absolute authority is a late distortion of the original primordial tradition. Real seekers might well seek the counsel of a wise figure on the way to self-enlightenment. But the decadence of the yogic tradition into the guru royalty phenomenon has no place in a democratic age, and is not needed. In fact it is often a front for reactionary politics masquerading as spiritual practice. The art of being a guru is a hard one, and at best that of a witness to the self-action of those who enter the path.

On the basis of the information given by this book it should be clear that the authority of this impostor is void, and without any basis.
An interesting commentary of responses from followers of Andrew Cohen. I found reading Andrew's books the most revealing and an amazing study of what happens when one undergoes an enlightenment experience without keeping his head on and his wits about him. William Yenner's book "American Guru" tells the awful tales of those hurt by one who becomes an absolutist following an enlightenment experience.
Not as interesting as I thought it wouId be...IittIe boring too....
I loved it...was glued to it. I am no guru.... I just liked Linus Roaches looks. I am Judeo-Christian and this cunning libra took advantange of likable souls. Great book William. I loved reading every word
A must read for anyone who ever had doubts about moving on from a guru. Well written , a healing read.
felt boot
It's hard being a guru these days, it would seem. I think Andrew Cohen probably has had good intentions, but just can't deliver the goods. This book serves to confirm my understanding of who he is....or rather, who he is not.
If you are interested in the workings of a modern day cult, please read this honest, balanced, compassionate and generous book. Also, please read the diatribes by the one star reviewers. These are equally informative. If you are thinking about becoming involved in a spiritual group, this book is a reminder to look carefully before you leap.