Against the stream centers shutting down

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
TRobinson465
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Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:30 pm

https://www.lionsroar.com/against-the-s ... shut-down/

Against the stream founder is latest to be taken down by the MeToo movement. A bit heart breaking to see this tho. If he is guilty he should step down. But I dont understand why they have to close down ATS centers because of it. When CEOs and presidents are brought down by personal scandals. They just step down. It doesn't usually effect their whole company. Unless Noah Levine was the whole of ATS I dont see why the centers have to be shut down.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

dharmacorps
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:19 pm

I was a little surprised that they completely shut down too, but I think that shows you how identified with Levine the entire organization was--not to mention how devastating this experience has been. Its clear there are still a lot of problems with there not being great systems to hold lay teachers responsible like there are for monastics. I was involved in ATS years ago when it was relatively new. I didn't know him personally. It saddens me because ATS (as an entity, totally aside from Levine) was a good entry point for meditation and Buddhism for some people, particularly with substance abuse issues. And there are some good teachers with ATS, who have good sila. A reminder that the first thing you should look at with teachers is their morality, not what they teach (although that is important too).

TRobinson465
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:32 pm

Yeah. Even though I didn't really do anything with them. I thought they were a good force for good.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

Justsit
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by Justsit » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:37 pm

The article points to financial woes:

"While ATS has previously experienced precarious financial moments, this period has eroded core capacities of the organization. Fiscal impacts were immediate. A 10th anniversary fundraiser was postponed; a large foundation grant was returned because we could not meet our objectives; other forms of giving contracted. Monthly expenses significantly outpace revenue and our savings have been drawn down."

and also resignations of key leaders.

TRobinson465
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:49 pm

That's true. Ud think they would have at least some funding to keep some of their centers tho. I sorta wonder how they got their funding if a scandal involving one person effected them so much.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:57 pm

Although I dont have any personal experience with them. So maybe I'm underestimating Levine's influence.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

dharmacorps
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by dharmacorps » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:09 am

From what I am hearing, its pretty bad in every way, not just financially. The board summarily quit, all guiding teachers and many individual teachers quit their affiliations, local groups changed their names, donors fled, grants were cancelled: total collapse on all fronts. A similar thing may happen with Refuge Recovery although we haven't heard from them yet. Although that is technically a revenue generating treatment center, so they may have more resources and incentive to fix things and stay in existence. We haven't heard many specifics on the investigation and allegations but I can only imagine it must have been really serious to see this kind of response. Its truly is very sad.

TRobinson465
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:18 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:09 am
From what I am hearing, its pretty bad in every way, not just financially. The board summarily quit, all guiding teachers and many individual teachers quit their affiliations, local groups changed their names, donors fled, grants were cancelled: total collapse on all fronts. A similar thing may happen with Refuge Recovery although we haven't heard from them yet. Although that is technically a revenue generating treatment center, so they may have more resources and incentive to fix things and stay in existence. We haven't heard many specifics on the investigation and allegations but I can only imagine it must have been really serious to see this kind of response. Its truly is very sad.
Interesting. Bummer. A loss for buddhism in the west.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by DNS » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:33 am

Yes, that's a shame. I am sure many people benefited from their programs. The financial problems, coupled with some potential upcoming civil lawsuits (regarding the allegations) no doubt sealed the decision that they had to fold.

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robertk
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by robertk » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:09 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:49 pm
That's true. Ud think they would have at least some funding to keep some of their centers tho. I sorta wonder how they got their funding if a scandal involving one person effected them so much.
if this is true - from a embedded link in op article
The question of money is particularly weighing on several former employees of Refuge Recovery, who each independently told us that they felt Levine had used company funds in a way that was “extravagant” as one person put it, or “out of touch,” as another said. (Jezebel was told by several people who would be in a position to know that there is a financial element to what ATS is investigating and that several people interviewed by Yang have been asked if Levine “borrowed money” from them at any point.)

“He personally spent company money,” said Regan Webber, 22, one of the few former Refuge employees willing to use her name. Webber worked at Refuge, the for-profit treatment center, for a year between 2016 and 2017, first as an administrative assistant and then as the office manager. (The company appears to have a high turnover rate, and nobody we spoke to had been there longer than two years.)

Webber and other people familiar with the company’s operations allege that Levine was making north of $200,000 a year. They also allege that Levine charged the company for expenses unrelated to it: Refuge would, for example, pay for his flights to things like Wanderlust, the yoga festival. Webber and one other employee told us that Levine insisted on traveling first class, and charged the company for other questionable expenses, including Hamilton tickets for his family.

His salary was so high, one person familiar with Refuge’s operations told us, that it made it difficult to operate a functional business, with adequate salaries and healthcare benefits and software and equipment.

LuisR
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by LuisR » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:52 pm

I used to watch their live streams on facebook. I have to say I find it weird they had a separate group for POC (people of color). I don't know why they hade to segregate things by race. Seems like a very American thing to do these days.

dharmacorps
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by dharmacorps » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:56 pm

Us Americans don't have a patent on divisiveness based on what I can see.

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Polar Bear
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:02 pm

LuisR wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:52 pm
I used to watch their live streams on facebook. I have to say I find it weird they had a separate group for POC (people of color). I don't know why they hade to segregate things by race. Seems like a very American thing to do these days.
It’s because minorities in America have been historically oppressed and some POC feel uncomfortable in spaces where most people are white. It provides a more comfortable environment for them. It’s not like the white people got together and said the POC had to form their own separate groups. In other words, the POC are self-segregating for their own comfort, which is fine. And this way they can explore issues pertinent to them that are not part of life as a white person.

But anyway, I digress.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

TRobinson465
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by TRobinson465 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:16 am

robertk wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:09 pm

The question of money is particularly weighing on several former employees of Refuge Recovery, who each independently told us that they felt Levine had used company funds in a way that was “extravagant” as one person put it, or “out of touch,” as another said. (Jezebel was told by several people who would be in a position to know that there is a financial element to what ATS is investigating and that several people interviewed by Yang have been asked if Levine “borrowed money” from them at any point.)

“He personally spent company money,” said Regan Webber, 22, one of the few former Refuge employees willing to use her name. Webber worked at Refuge, the for-profit treatment center, for a year between 2016 and 2017, first as an administrative assistant and then as the office manager. (The company appears to have a high turnover rate, and nobody we spoke to had been there longer than two years.)

Webber and other people familiar with the company’s operations allege that Levine was making north of $200,000 a year. They also allege that Levine charged the company for expenses unrelated to it: Refuge would, for example, pay for his flights to things like Wanderlust, the yoga festival. Webber and one other employee told us that Levine insisted on traveling first class, and charged the company for other questionable expenses, including Hamilton tickets for his family.

His salary was so high, one person familiar with Refuge’s operations told us, that it made it difficult to operate a functional business, with adequate salaries and healthcare benefits and software and equipment.

Wouldnt this be evidence that ATS would be even better off financially if Levine left?
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

Digity
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Re: Against the stream centers shutting down

Post by Digity » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:01 am

I've given up on lay teachers...not saying there aren't any good ones out there, but I think you're better off finding a real monk who is committed to the practice to lead you. I think lay teachers are more susceptible to the allures of money, adulation, etc. that comes with being a teacher. There's also the conceit of thinking you can teach/lead others...as if you've attained something special. My experience with real monks has been different...they seem much more humble and down to earth.

I think ATS has been too tarnished by this that it wouldn't make a lot of sense to continue. Levine was the creator of the "brand" he was selling. These people will disband and probably create new centres anyway.

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