El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

A brainwashed bunch

August 22, 2013 45

This is what angry, browbeaten, crazy people look like. I mean, just look at us – we’ve all clearly been brainwashed into joining a cult. We all look exhausted, worked to the bone and hate being where we are.

Or not.

Perception is a funny thing because what you think you see, is what your mind has probably made up. Anyway, since the people who stay outnumber those who go, ever wonder if perhaps the problem is with YOU?

Family

Because I do. I have replayed it over and over again in my mind. I’ve looked at the people who left, and the people who’ve stayed. I’ve thought about the reasons why people left, and the reasons why people stayed.

What have I come to conclude? That jealousy is a very potent force that leads us to do irrational things.

Because the people who stayed, they’re highly intelligent. They are deep thinkers, well-mannered, exposed, mature. They take responsibility for themselves and for the lives of those around them. Most of all, they are kind, generous human beings who value other people’s suffering over their own fears. If that’s brainwashing, I’m okay with that because then I look at the alternative.

I look at the people who left, who are supposedly “free” (from what, I don’t know). I look at how they dwell, bitch, whinge and blame everyone else but themselves. I look at how they cling on to the wrongs that were supposedly inflicted upon them and how, instead of choosing to move on, they mask their insecurities with their chronic defensiveness and denial. I watch how their anger is slowly leading them down the path of becoming unhinged with rage.

Please, for the sake of your own mind, stop and think. Were things so bad? Were you beaten, were you abused? Were you forced to do anything against your will? Or were you just too goddamn lazy to make something of yourself? If you are, that’s okay. As much as you don’t believe it, it really is and as much as you don’t believe it, no one is judging you but yourself. So just admit it to yourself, FOR YOURSELF.

I’ve gone slightly off tangent but I do want to say this – I’m glad the people in the photo are my family because they can see beyond the tone and volume of a message. These are the loyal people who stick together through thick and thin, preferring to focus on the goal instead of the obstacles in their way.

And hey, like the great Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

So you choose – are you going to be a great mind, an average mind or a small one? 😉

, , , , , , Kecharians, Friends

45 Comments → “A brainwashed bunch”

  1. David Lai 6 years ago   Reply

    I love this picture because it is so warm, happy and for once, I look skinnier than I normally would. Too bad for some other nasty people who opted out. They would miss all this fun and such meaningful purpose. Working with a purpose is really the best sort of work.

  2. Jim Yeh 6 years ago   Reply

    Gonna photoshop myself into the picture…

  3. Jim Yeh 6 years ago   Reply

    David Lai, You ain’t fet. Actually none of you guys are fet. You wanna see fet? Look at “Merica.

  4. David Lai 6 years ago   Reply

    Hi Jim,
    Haha! If you wanna be in this picture, you don’t need photoshop. Just speak to Joy. She’s your best Dharma friend right now and if I were you, I would follow every single task that she asks you to do because she gives it to you out of care. She wants to make sure you are prepared and ready for Dharma work in Malaysia.

  5. patriciasnodgrass 6 years ago   Reply

    Yeah I heard rumors all the way from the US. They’re nonsense, obviously. The funny thing is, is that I hear the same thing about my own teacher as well. Some people just need to relax.

    • Elena 6 years ago   Reply

      Patricia, I totally agree! I think if you want to leave, it’s fine but wow – stop complaining because it’s what unsettled your mind in the first place! Sad that people continue to criticise the lamas, as though they never knew any Dharma at all :(

      • patriciasnodgrass 6 years ago   Reply

        Absolutely. It’s very sad when this happens.

      • patriciasnodgrass 6 years ago   Reply

        Elena, how do I follow your blog?

        • Elena 6 years ago   Reply

          Hi Patricia, you can do it by clicking on the little icon next to the text “Elena @ Facebook” at the very top of my blog’s main page :) a new page will open – select the “Live Bookmark” option, and click “Subscribe Now”. Whenever I post new entries to my blog, it’ll automatically be sent to your Firefox browser :)

  6. Casteven Lim (KH JB) 6 years ago   Reply

    Rejoice for all Kecharians in the picture, i can feel u all joy, happiness and dedicated personality.

    May all of us use more our time to move forward to fulfill our Guru wishes.

    Everyone have to face their own Karma…

  7. adelinewoon 6 years ago   Reply

    You are right! Those in the picture do made up a brainwashed bunch for sure! They are a bunch of fanatics who put others’ before themselves, who have faith in their Guru, who shows results for being persistent, who have better things to do than to boast about food, love, sex and what have you. Seriously, brainwashing is rather similar to meditation that is widely used and introduced to many for positive results. Many apply it to transform for the better, to see a bigger picture, to get close to our true nature. If one really applies the method together with the support of like-minded individuals, one will surely improve. If not, one will leave and continue to bitch about those so called “brainwashed bunch” and at the same time blind him/herself further with the sh*t that is covering the really diamond in them. Too bad the diamond didn’t get to shine and going into grave with no chance to shine again!

  8. suet moi 6 years ago   Reply

    I just wish for those had left will come back in future. Never too late to realise why we need dharma and just sooooo difficult to meet a Guru. After all we have nothing to lose.

    • Jim Yeh 6 years ago   Reply

      Jim Yeh likes this.

    • Elena 6 years ago   Reply

      I actually hope they do! Of course it’ll be tough and difficult, and people will resent them for a little while…why shouldn’t they? Look at the nasty things you’re doing right now, it deserves resentment! But eventually, with hard work and determination, it is always possible to win back people’s respect. Just look at Angulimala…he killed 999 people and STILL managed to become an arhat in one lifetime. Sadly though, they don’t realise that no one but themselves is stopping their return.

    • Elena 6 years ago   Reply

      Actually having said that, perhaps they don’t want to come back. And that’s okay also! But I think it’s quite rude to keep going on and on about how you were sooooo unhappy when it’s obviously a lie…you can’t have been unhappy every single moment for all eight years, for example, and you certainly weren’t unhappy when you were receiving gifts from us :)

  9. Jace 6 years ago   Reply

    When we chose this path, it’s a personal spiritual practice to lower selfwill and enlarge others’ need. I think it’s not about I am better than you and those who are not in are bad. Just that we are fortunate to understand the priority in life is for others.

    We have inner battle in ourselves too, I believe everyone has. Those who are here they don’t
    let the selfish mind win, although the selfish mind is like a sexy little monster dancing around in your mind telling you “you deserve better”.

    What about we tell the little monster in our mind that “they deserve a better me”?

  10. Girlie OOI 6 years ago   Reply

    If brainwashed folks look so happy together, then there should be more of them. A picture paints a thousand words, no?

  11. Lucy Yap 6 years ago   Reply

    Just curious,can adults be brainwashed? Being brainwashed into doing something good is actually not a bad thing especially one is doing it to benefit and serve others for a higher purpose.
    Seriously,I really admire and respect the people in the picture for their dedication and devotion to their spiritual path.Didn’t say this because my daughter is in the picture.LOL!! May all of us have Guru Devotion like this.Rejoice for the “brainwashed bunch”.

  12. henry ooi 6 years ago   Reply

    I see a bunch of young, spirited and contented people. Happy and contented that they have found a home, Kechara, and among each other, a family. For some of those who chose to stay away or have left for whatever reason, it’s never too late to return home. If not, cherish the good memories you had.

  13. June Tang(Khjb) 6 years ago   Reply

    Respect is a mirror,the more you show it to others people,the more they will reflect it back.We are our own creactor,we experience what we create! Face the problems and work hard to deal with it, will makes us STRONGER !!! Let us pray and continue our Dharma journey together heading to Peace..! I still believe follow Rinpoche’s step never go wrong !

  14. Julia Tan 6 years ago   Reply

    Honestly i used to think a lot before i joined these people. After i joined, i think they are crazy. But i am still here, working very harder everyday because these peope inspired me. because i think they are amazing. What’s wrong of a group of people who worked hard to learn Dharma? Those who do not have the determination to learn and complete your tasks they left. Then they non stop being angry and bitter. Isn’t that a sign of showing you that u shouldn’t leave? If u are so call FREE after u leave then why are you angry, bitter and non stop complaining? Simple as that…

  15. jp 6 years ago   Reply

    Breaking out of our comfort zones are never easy especially when we want to realise our dreams. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and determination. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to put in this kind of effort. So to cover up, it’s easier and more convenient to blame on others and situations.

    I like your quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s really spot on. Time will tell. The truth will prevail.

    By the way, I like the brainwash in Kechara coz I’m more productive and my work helps so many people.

  16. Pastor Yek Yee 6 years ago   Reply

    Thank you for your sharing, I love have this sharing! I agreed that people who left always the people like to create trouble and problem; the people who like to continue stay and work hard for others, always the people who not created problem or burden others.

    No matter how anger we are, but we cannot hurt other people. May be we cannot help others but don’t hurt them too.

    I like the picture clean and charmful:) Thank you showed a lots of yummy foods…please invite me eat together next time, OK!?

  17. Lim Tat Ming 6 years ago   Reply

    Whatever that had happened to us we must take personal responsibility for our past actions. Please do not blame others. It is entirely due to our accumulated karma.

    If we had met with challenges or obstacles, please be patient, be mindful. It is not worthwhile to be angry. Why would we want to further aggravate a negative karma if it had arisen?

    Please do not let our delusions i. e. ignorance, attachment and anger control us. We have been slaves to our delusions since beginningless time! Now is the time for us to conquer our delusions and to purify our negative karma when it arises.

    All unhappiness that we have, come from our self-grasping mind that perceive ourselves to be real and most important. Our sense of self is mistaken. We should let go of what we perceived as right or wrong because our perception is mistaken.

    The people whom we perceived as enemies now may become our best friends or relatives in our future lives! Hence why generate animosity towards them?

    If our anger or grudge remain and is not purified, we shall experience the same emotion again and again in the future. The effect that will ripen in the future will be stronger and much more difficult to purify!

    We should act with wisdom without harming others in everything that we do.

    To join a group or leave a group is a choice we have to decide personally. No one can force us to do this. We must check our motivation why we join a group in the first place. Without a correct motivation, our actions will lead us no where and they are detrimental to our spiritual practice.

  18. KH Ng 6 years ago   Reply

    Aren’t we all brainwashed in one way or another? Forget about all the cult thingy! I mean, we are all not lock up on an island or enclave with security details preventing anyone from leaving. You stay or leave is up to you. But staying or leaving is not necessarily a physical thing but more a mental connection.

    If you want to leave a group of people with a common goal of benefitting others, physically and mentally, for your own selfish reasons, then you really are joining a cult, albeit the worldly one where everyone is there for themselves. Call it the “Cult of Selfishness”. Better join a cult of compassion!

    The faces on the picture really speak a thousand words. Compassion and Joy.

    • Elena 6 years ago   Reply

      That’s a good way of looking at it KH. We are all brainwashed in one way or another; if you’re not in Dharma, you’re brainwashed to think that the secular way of life is the only, best way of life. If you’re selfish, you’re brainwashed to think that’s correct; if you’re selfless, you’re also brainwashed to think that’s correct. So whichever you choose is really dependent on the outcome of the action.

  19. May Ong 6 years ago   Reply

    Brainwashed are for immature minds. I don’t think those bunch of people in the picture have been brainwashed by just anyone, let alone anyone can do that on to them – who are intelligent, hard working, sane, mature and adult.

    No one forces anyone to stay or leave. We make our own personal choices and we live by it. For those who left, please remain quiet and don’t make a fuss out of nothing. It is not worth it.

  20. grace leong 6 years ago   Reply

    If one is brain washed to do better things , to be more helpful, to be less selfish and benefit others; basically as Buddha said , do more good and don’t harm others , then be brain washed !
    Maybe people who have left felt they have lost out , they have been used etc ….. but that wld have been a decision made at that point in time, , whereby no one can force one into doing it ! If leaving is “freeing” you as per say , then leave with class …. leave and move on with yr life. Bad mouthing and creating schism is most unfashionable and shows one has bad upbringing. Everyone is in search of peace and happiness. There cld be many views(right or wrong) on how this can be achieved. Respect each other’s choice and dont judge. Time will tell if each achieve their goals !

  21. Chee K S 6 years ago   Reply

    I rejoice all the peoples in the photo, theyblook so happy, were they brainwash ? I think they are really been brainwash, lol… But is a POSITIVE brainwash, leadind us to liberate ours sufferings !!
    Everyday we are brainwash by advertisement, indulge us how to enjoy life, how to fullfill the five senses desires. Its only temporary happiness, but we still influence by it. Whynot we change it to a positive way, THAT IS BRAINWASH BY DHARMA, LEAD US TO MORE CONCERN IN FUTURE LIFE…..
    Thk you Elena Khong for your sharing,

    Chee K S

  22. Pammie Yap 6 years ago   Reply

    Thank you Jean Ai for such a lovely post! I enjoyed reading it and agree with what you have written. I am happy and so glad I am being brainwashed as I know in the end, nothing else matters nor more important than what I am doing. I feel sorry for those who have the wrong view and causing problems. You are right, were things that bad? No one ever force anyone to do something they dont like. Think of all the happy memories there were, was there none? I hope that they will stop whatever they are doing as it is not good for them in any way and that they will come back…

  23. Valentina Suhendra 6 years ago   Reply

    My honest thought: people who left may have their own reason. The reasons may not be so good or glowing. But the way I treat all the people who left with a little surprise, ask the reason why and move on. It should not be the cause of distraction since the harsh reality is time is short and I wish to focus my energy to things that are necessary and matters.

    I do not wish to entertain critics or those who left because honestly, I have no time!

  24. Joy 6 years ago   Reply

    Yeah I think we’ve been brainwashed to become happy and finding a meaningful life and I guess we’re the freaks that just can’t get enough of it hahaha 😉 Whatever it is it is a choice we made… so for those who does not like it… you make your own choice… so be happy about it and stop bitching like an old nag!

  25. Yvonne Yap 6 years ago   Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I agree with Jean Ai thinking and Chee K.S’s Positive brainwashed.
    Everybody have different goal, when we can’t archive our goal, we will feel very angry, unbalance and etc…….but we can’t hurt anyone, because Karma is watching us.
    Thank you!

  26. AdelineTan 6 years ago   Reply

    If one can be brainwashed easily by doing good things to benefit others, why not, i rejoice! As you can see from the photo that all the people in the brainwashed bunch looked so happy. You will feel happy and content when you can help and bring happiness to others.

  27. Gim Lee 6 years ago   Reply

    “Brainwashed into a cult” is, for me, joining a group that is harming oneself and others. What these people do is the opposite.

    The point is, like Jean Ai said, those who left, just should move on. No need to continue to look back and stirring up a storm with everyone…

    Life is impermanent. Everyone, everything changes… why still hold on to the past?

  28. AlbertRatchaga 6 years ago   Reply

    Brainwashed or not brainwashed is very subjective, it depends on how we look at it.

    As Buddha taught 2500 years ago what is life and what is the cause of the suffering (The 4 noble truth), he realized and understand this and through his tirelessly practice, he gained enlightenment in the end. He taught and show the way, but through time, things changes, his teaching faded, more and more. People started to indulge into their desire, letting their desire control them, control their action, hence, people are becoming more selfish in time.

    As the culture has changed, we’ve been brainwashed since birth, we been taught to work, get married, have children, enjoy, pamper ourselves, etc, etc, all these action may bring us immediate happiness, but these happiness are empty, it brings no meaning and when death approached, all these that perceived as happiness will become nothing. In religion, it teaches us otherwise, the teaching in a religion is totally different than what we’ve been taught, and for us to change the habit that built up in the past 30, 40 years, it definitely has it’s difficulties, so with this, we feel lost, suffer, and no more freedom. To walk out from the cage takes a lot of courage, the courage of losing the comfort when inside the cage, losing the ‘friends’ that we had inside the cage. But they never realize the freedom after come out from the cage, they just use their own perception from within the cage to judge the outside world. It is shallow, stupid and brainless. How can we assume the distance from the sky when we never been there?

    Whether we got brainwashed or not it doesn’t matter, as long as we are happy and not hurting others. Some people chose to stay happy, kind, generous, and some people chose to be angry, jealous, and selfish, well, everyone has their thought, we can’t change them if they do not wanted to. So as long as we do our part properly, whatever other people say, it’s up to them. People who decided to say good things or bad things, they know very well their karma will catch up, so if they chose to face their ugly karma later on, lets just pray for them and wish them well..

    If this is really a cult.. Well, I’m happy to be in the cult, I’m happy being cheated, because I know this place is cheating me to a better place, why not?

    So are we brainwashed from the religion or brainwashed from the society? You think, you decide….

  29. sharonsaw 6 years ago   Reply

    I would like to be brainwashed actually. I would like to be less attached, have more wisdom and have less anger. If only that can be achieved though brainwashing. I’d like to have more generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration and wisdom. Unfortunately, with free will, this will take longer (for me, anyway).

    Buddha said there are 84,000 ways to gain Enlightenment. If we find one way not suitable for us, we usually stop and try another. It is not so much that there is something wrong with the traditions that we have tried; the difficulty comes more our own personal conflict arising from wanting to have what we think is convenient for us and “right” in our own deluded mind. Due to this selectiveness, we will lose out by spiritually shopping.

    We may say, but hey, nobody’s perfect. However, if we go from center to center, religion to religion, we will lose out on time which could have been spent following one single path, and not much would be achieved. In any case, whatever decisions we make, we will experience the consequences, therefore, if we leave a particular spiritual path, we should remember the golden rule of not harming.

    Whatever religion we follow, isn’t the common rule to not harm another? Even outside of religion, it is the basic humanist rule. If we follow the Buddhist path, no matter which school or lineage, we should remember the basic refuge vows to refrain from the 10 non-virtuous actions… the three of the Body – Killing, Stealing, Sexual Misconduct, the four of the Speech – Divisive Speech, Harsh Words, Idle Chatter, Lying and the three of the Mind – Covetousness, Hatred and Malice, Wrong Views. How many do we break when we talk harshly of someone, is it divisive? Is it from hatred and malice? What is the purpose of that speech? To harm? To hurt? To destroy? Nothing good ever, ever comes from the intention to destroy, for in the desire to destroy others, we simply destroy ourselves.

    If we choose to leave a particular spiritual path, we must always realise that it is a personal decision – so please do not use divisive speech, harsh words, hatred and malice to influence others who are on that path, or may be thinking to go on that path. Just because we don’t like one gym, it doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t be happy attending that gym. So if we want to go to another gym or stop going at all because the personal trainer is very strict, or whatever reasons, then just go, but please – just keep the peace. Anger and bitterness has no place in or outside of a spiritual organisation.

    “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

    Peace and love always :)

  30. Han 6 years ago   Reply

    Brainwashed to be compassion, selfless , loving and caring what a good deal !
    Regardless you are IN or OUT but make sure dharma is IN you, nothing or no one to be blamed or complained.
    just move on and continue practicing dharma, to be kind to others at least.

  31. patsy 6 years ago   Reply

    What a big happy family! Well, if you guys are labeled as a “brainwash” bunch, let me say that you are the best “brainwash” bunch I have ever seen. You are all smart, responsible young adults, full of love and care; are willing to sacrifice your comfort zone for the sake of benefiting others, loyal and appreciative to those you care for you!

    Those who called you guys a “brainwash” bunch are a bunch of “sour grapes” filled with so much jealously and hatred as they cannot be at par with you guys due to their laziness and their selfish mind.

    There is definitely nothing wrong with wanting to work hard for the dharma or to help other.
    Thank you, Elena, for sharing this article and thank you to the “brainwash” bunch who take responsibility for themselves and for the lives of those around them. I am proud of you all for the compassion and joy you are sharing with others.

  32. June Kang 6 years ago   Reply

    Very good brainwash, they are all who take responsibility for themselves and doing works to benefit others. Rejoice! Only those who can’t accept themselves who they are will always blame others and left during the journey of this “brainwash”. We pray for those who left that they can quickly realized that their problem is they cannot accept themselves and nothing to do with others.

  33. abby foo 6 years ago   Reply

    Brainwash or not, this is not the point. Spiritual path is just like a training/learning, is like when we pursue our degree, there will be assignments, presentations, exams etc before we graduate. For sure there will be hardships and we might feel bad, but that doesn’t stop us from getting a degree(of course for some they do quit).

    Spiritual path is the path where we help ourselves and others for good, so the training/learning is very necessary! To be a doctor to save lives, the training/learning is surely a hard one. No one will blame the training if someone fail, because we know the importance of it. If we blame the training/university/hospital, it just shows how ignorance we are.

    My point is, don’t make it complicated. We are in the leaning process to be a better person and to do good this is for SURE! Those who have left, I am really sorry, but we still need to continue, to carry on to complete the path. It is just one choice to make, to continue or go when “hardship” comes. This shows who you are too for what you choose.

  34. Sean Pang 6 years ago   Reply

    Brainwashed? Of course this is brainwashing! But we’ve been brainwashed all our lives! Fashion, money, status, school grades, which schools, what friends, what car, how much pay, you name it, we got it…

    With these constant brainwashing by the undiscernable and faceless society, isn’t it a fresh reprieve to take refuge in something non-judgemental, all-embracing and all-forgiving so that we can start appreciating that “life disintegrates as swiftly as a bubble in turbulent water” and that all the things we’ve been brainwashed to “cherish” aren’t so important afterall?

    If this is “brainwashing”, good! Get rid of delusions and start transforming. What better way to finally do the right thing than to relearn by getting rid of old and bad habits, and to pick up new and good ones.

    So am I brainwashed? Not yet and not as much as I like. Because I’m still learning and improving. But one thing is clear: brainwashing doesn’t just happen. I asked for it.

    I want to change for the better, to think and act for others, to look beyond complacency and convenience. To do what I’ve been programmed to avoid all my life.

    Is brainwashing so bad? Not necessarily. Not especially if you have a bunch of happy, selfless and compassionate people proving to you day in and day out that true happiness lies in selflessness, that true freedom comes in the form of emptiness.

    Brainwashing ain’t so bad. Not when we’re washing away crap we’ve picked up on the way when growing up so that we can retain and relearn things that really matter.

    Wanna know what the bonus is? The process of “brainwashing” is called Dharma and it’s not only your “brain” that’s being washed. Your Karma is being cleansed too.

    Give it a try.

  35. Cynthia Ng 6 years ago   Reply

    Thank you for sharing :) and I love the photo so much.. “Happy Family”!
    “Brainwash” to be like you all to become so happy, responsibility, work as a team, mature, well-manner etc is such a fantastic brainwash ya.

    For me i think that we have to “fight” for our own happiness, overcome all our problems to achieve our long term happiness =benefits ourselves, to help ourselves and others for good.

    For those people who leave think deeper why you failed in the “brainwash”, why you cannot over come it. Don’t judge people by your limited knowledge and hurt peoples who have kind, care and love to you all the while.

  36. Sofi 6 years ago   Reply

    Wow, if only I could be brainwashed to be more consistent n stable in my spiritual practise n commitment to benefit others as those in the happy picture or those not there but put in so much effort n contributions in every way towards realising of Rinpoche’s vision. As many had written, being in or out is a personal choice. Even if this choice does not suit u, one shouldn’t hurt or put down the Guru n centre of whom u had been part of for so long. Especially a Guru n centre that you had been praising all this while, until you hit the level of your comfort zone that you are not able to overcome. It is like making up excuses to comfort yourself for your leaving something u know deep down inside that is good for u. Its always better to let all those anger or whatnot subside, to calmly dwell deeper into the real reasons for your leaving, whether its from within oneself or from external. Whichever it maybe, have you applied the wisdom of the dharma to resolve your reasons?

  37. Wei Theng 6 years ago   Reply

    Brainwash? Why not? I would love to be brainwashed by Rinpoche as whenever i met him, he will give me teachings that it will make me a better person. Although at times the teachings may not sound nice as it hurts my ego and laziness, when I follow through his instruction, I improve and be a better person to the society and my family. Chinese proverb says, effective medicine is bitter “良药苦口”
    So, it’s depend on from which perspective you want to see it and whether you want to step out from your comfort zone, listen, accept and change to be a better person or not.

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