01/02/98 - 1450

Landmark Education & ISKCON

USA (VNN) - Landmark Education & ISKCON
Some Points to Consider

c/o mayesvara dasa
william g. roberts
687 Villanova Road
Ojai, California 93023
(805) 640-0405

Preface 2
Why Are Devotees Attracted To Landmark Education? 2
Spiritual & Material Knowledge 4
Utility Is the Principle 5
Accepting Gold from a Filthy Place 6
Landmark and the Sankirtana Movement 8
Landmark Will Bewilder Devotees & Cause Them to Bloop! 9
Everything Is In Srila Prabhupada' Books 10
To Taste the Contents You Must Open the Bottle 13
Landmark Education: Related Costs and Worldwide Offices 14


1. This paper has been compiled as a starting point for addressing all the curiosity that has been generated regarding Landmark Education and the devotees of ISKCON (Hare Krishna Movement). It is just a starting point for dialogue and not necessarily a comprehensive study. Nor should it be expected that every devotee who attended a Landmark Education forum would uninamiously agree with the points that are herein expressed. But considering all the unexpected controversy that has been stired up because over 40 devotees from the LA community have attended the Landmark Education Seminar, it seems worthwhile to have a tool to separate the misconceptions from the facts. My hope is that this paper will provide a positive way to understand why so may devotees are enthusiastic about this particular seminar series.

2. This paper may be distributed generously and shared feely. Those who may have an interest in attending the Landmark Forum would be most likely to benefit by reading this paper so they can make a more well informed decision on how they should proceed.

3. Anyone who would be interested in commenting or discussing the issues represented herein are welcome to contact me directly. If what I have written here offends anyone in any way I request their forgiveness for that offense. My intent is simply just to provide additional information to the Vaishnava community so each person can make the best informed decision for themselves regarding whether or not they think it would be benefitial to attend a Landmark Education Forum Seminar.

4. As for myself I am not a Landmark Junki but have attended many of their training programs and personaly feel this type of education can only enhance a devotee's service. I will be glad to speak more with anyone regarding the contents of this article.
Why Are Devotees Attracted To Landmark Education?

1. Let us first begin with what the average person reports they gain by attending a Landmark Seminar. The five most frequently reported benefits that changed in the lives of participants after attending the Landmark Forum are:
a. Improved effectiveness in relating to others.
b. Increased personal productivity
c. Greater confidence in them self and what they set out to accomplish.
d. Identifying what's really important in life and knowing how to make good decisions based on that distinction
e. Learning how to living life with greater satisfaction without making life more complex. In other words: Tangible and practical training on how to live more simply and relate to the events in our life with greater transcendental realization. (Simple living & High Thinking!)
None of these things are in conflict with Krishna Consciousness. The average person who is serious about improving the quality of their life is attracted to these reported benefits. Similarly; Devotees who are serious about improving the quality of their service to Krishna also find these benefits very attractive.

2. Everyone would agree that speed-reading is an important skill that enhances one's ability to become Krishna Consciousness yet speed-reading is not taught in Srila Prabhupada's books. Neither is time management, how to improve one's memory or how one can become more observant. Yet these skills are taught elsewhere and a devotee who has these talents will obviously be more adept at performing his service. The proper way to understand Landmark Education is to think of it as a school that teaches one how to become more effective at what we are already committed to. It is not an alternative to serving Krishna, it is simply a crash course in how one can become more conscious. For one practicing Krishna Consciousness the opportunity to become more conscious is an invitation to get closer to Krishna and that is an attractive proposition.

3. The primary reason why Srila Prabhpada succeeded in getting ISKCON off the ground was because of his loving personality. Had he not charmed his audience right in the very beginning nobody would have been compelled to listen to what he had to say. When he first started lecturing there were few books but Srila Prabhupada was expert at relating to everyone so effectively he was able to enroll all he met into his vision for ISKCON. This illustrated two points. The first is that love seems to be more powerful than philosophy although we know that both must be there to avoid the trap of sentimentalism. The other is that success requires that we enroll others into our vision. How to become more expert at practicing both of these skills is what a devotee can learn by attending a Landmark Seminar.

4. The philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is so comprehensive that there is a tendency for many devotees to practice it with a sterile philosophical attitude. One of the reasons why devotees are so interested in Landmark Education is because it helps them become more aware of how they can be more loving when dealing with others. This is not something that can be successfully communicated simply by speaking from the Vyasasan. One must come down off the Vyasasan and actually practice Krishna Consciousness side by side with the rank and file devotees. When we fail to practice what we preach and rely solely on our airtight philosophy we run the risk of becoming arrogant, impersonal and stonehearted. Landmark helps a devotee really comprehend and appreciate that the nectar is in serving each other on the battlefield of life and that the future of our movement depends on those of us who are willing to truly practice that concept and not just talk about it philosophically.

5. Srila Prabhupada taught over and over again that devotees should be very careful not to commit Vaishnava Aparada. Everyone knows that this is a very serious offense and yet we see so many difficulties arise because devotees fail to follow this simple instruction. We were also taught by Lord Caitanya to be more humble than the straw in the street, yet how many devotees actually act without expecting special treatment, service, or attention? The Gita teaches us that a devotee is peaceful, self-controlled and austere but how often do we forget to act that way? The point here is that knowledge by itself is not useful if it doesn't produce the desired result. Landmark provides sincere students convenient and effective ways to help them remember these good instructions especially at the most critical moments when they will benefit most by following them. To become more aware in this way is a very valuable skill we should all want to learn. If the only thing a devotee gets from attending a Landmark Forum was greater sensitivity in relating to others, then that alone makes the training worthwhile. It should be noted however that much more than that is possible.

6. Some criticize Landmark as being an alternative philosophy to Krishna Consciousness. Of course these criticisms almost always come from those who have not attended the Landmark Forum. Based on the fact that their comments are made in ignorance they can not be given much merit. A more subtle form of this criticism stems from the impression that Landmark is providing an alternative ontological view of the world, which eventually undermines the faith of a devotee and causes him to leave the movement. This is also misleading and an inappropriate conclusion. These criticisms seem to come from the fact that after attending the Landmark Forum the attendee may adopt a jargon that seems strange and cult like. The proper way to understand this is to recognize that to convey complex human behavior Landmark developed and teaches a hybrid vocabulary. This is how they can effectively express complicated psychological issues in very brief phrases. The use of the word "dysfunctional" illustrates the point well. When it is used we understand that it conveys the concept of tangled, serious, longstanding, traumatic experiences between people. When that word is used among those who understand its meaning a lot is quickly conveyed. In sanskrit we have the example with the word "dharma". When we use it we express a lot of meaning with two syllables. Being able to use a hybrid language to convey complex concepts has nothing to do with changing what a person believes in the core of his heart. However, it does provide an effective way to diagnose problems and identify issues quickly and accurately where all parties can understand the core essence of a given situation without getting sidetracked into irrelevant peripheral events.

Spiritual & Material Knowledge

1. Srila Prabhupada: "The perfect way of life gives all sorts of instructions in things both material an spiritual" SB. 1.18.45p

2. Thinking of Landmark Education as an alternative philosophy to KC is as much of a mistake as thinking of Steve Coveys Training (The Seven Habit's of Highly Effective People) as an alternative philosophy to KC. Neither is a replacement or alternative to KC but both can teach us how to become more effective in practicing Krishna Consciousness.

3. Landmark Education does not claim to be teaching any new age type of "Spirituality". They make that distinction over and over again and it is rigorously held to. The process is strictly a dialectic inquiry about the mechanics of how the trappings of the material world affect us. Devotees refer to this process as being caught in the clutches of maya and to become more aware of how maya creeps into our life is very illuminating. As Vaishnavas we also know that everything is under Krishna's direction but we are accustomed to forget that truth. The way Landmark integrates the impact of our material conditioning onto or consciousness can be thought of informally as a type of "Sankya yoga" (Sankhya the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter.) Landmark compels the student to regularly perform a rigorous inquiry into the issues of life that really matter without imposing the answer of that question on anyone. This type of personal introspection is not only healthy, but also traditional and exactly how a devotee should be meditating at all times.

4. Any knowledge or tool can be used properly or improperly. When it is misused those who don't want to acknowledge its value will point to the black sheep as a reason to reject the whole flock. Srila Prabhupada referred to this tendency as "Tossing the baby out with the Bath water." Within a six month period in 1977 two people came to the 13 story Manhattan Radha Govinda temple and jumped off the roof of the building. The newspapers and deprogrammers had a field day with it and used those events to discredit everything Srila Prabhupada gave us. There may be a few individuals who will inevitably misuse Landmark Education in some way for personal reasons that may indeed be dishonorable and inappropriate. The tendency for this to happen will be there with everything. We should be careful not to judge the potential of the institution based on the shortcomings of a few misguided individuals. Being devotees of Krishna we have all seen how that very type of bad reasoning has prevented some from taking advantage of what we have to offer. We should be wise not to make the same mistake the general public has made so often in relation to evaluating the merits of ISKCON.

Utility Is the Principle

1. "...a person in Krishna Consciousness knows how to use everything in the service of the Lord;" - BG 2-63 Purport

2. Srila Prabhupada taught that a devotee should accept those things that are favorable and reject those things that are unfavorable. Some may say that Landmark Education is unfavorable and should therefore be rejected. But is this evident by the facts - or is it just a fanatical conditioned way of thinking? Unless there are specific examples of how Landmark has had a negative impact on the consciousness of the devotee's then this type of blanket condemnation is not helpful or constructive. It only polarizes the community and implies that those who have prospered from the experience will be exiled. Ultimately each individual must decide for themselves what enhances their Krishna Consciousness and it is not constructive to imply that someone has done something wrong simply because they went to a professional training seminar. There are much bigger issues threatening our movement at this time and wise managers would pick their battles carefully.

3. Some have compared Landmark Education to the personality oriented "Lazereth " fad several years ago. It should be noted that Landmark is not dependent on a charismatic personality anymore than Harvard University is dependent on a charismatic Chancellor. Meaningful education retains its value long after the teacher has departed. These types of comparisons are cheap and frivolous especially when those who have not attended a Landmark Seminar make them.

4. Landmark has offices all over the world and has provided corporate training for major multi million dollar companies like Reebok Foot-ware, Magma Copper Mining, UNUM Insurance, and Northern Indiana Power Service Company to name a few. In all cases productivity went up and costs went down. The results are too impressive for a rational person to simply discard. The benefits ISKCON could gain by adopting some of Landmarks management techniques are real. I believe we should be more willing to consider the possibility of greater effectiveness by accepting help from outside sources that have proven to help other organizations become more effective.

5. Landmark Education has become a very fast growing company in the field of corporate training. A professor at the Harvard Business School spent two years studying it. The result is a published case study outlining the highlights of it's unusual success in turning inefficient of dysfunctional businesses around. Is this of absolutely no interest to those responsible for leading our movement? (Copies of the study can be purchased for $3 each from Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163 Phone: 1-800 545-7685 "Landmark Educaiton Corporation: Selling a Paradigm Shift" #9-898-081, November 3, 1997 By: Karen Hopper Wruck and Mikelle Fisher Eastley)

6. Just like a microscope is a tool that aids the eye in seeing harmful bacterial, Landmark Education offers tools that help one see the things that infect our consciousness. Landmark shows devotees how to become more aware of their own personal shortcomings which have been so effectively hidden from them by the veil of maya. Even those who live in the temple ashram can easily avoid the process of deep personal self-examination if they wish to do so. Krishna also reminds us that only one of the four types of people who surrender has an interest in searching for Knowledge of the Absolute.(Bg.7.16) Landmark is clearly not for everyone. But for those who are willing to be pushed to a more rigorous standard of personal integrity, a Landmark seminar can initiate that process. This type of training will undoubtedly help the sincere aspirant become a more powerful representative of Srila Prabhupada which is exactly what he wants us all to become.

7. The principal of using everything in the service of Krishna is actually the crown jewel of our philosophy. We should be careful not to become like the Christians who stand behind their Bible and criticize everything they don't understand and are unwilling to learn about. They insist on telling the world how spiritual they are while they simultaneously condone the slaughter of millions of innocent animals. Then they wonder why their congregation disintegrates right out from underneath them and nobody with half a brain will take them seriously.

Accepting Gold from a Filthy Place

1. Discrediting Landmark Education, as just another alternative New Age valueless philosophy is a form of prejudice, which is not the mood of an advanced Vaishnava. There have undoubtedly been cheaters who exploited the innocent public in the past. But that is not a legitimate reason to discard everything that might at first appear to be similar. To do so is acting with prejudice and devotees should be free from such faux pas. It is that type of thinking that causes people to pass judgment about a person with dark skin. As a group, people of dark skin are statistically more inclined to break the law then people of lighter skin. But that fact does not free a thoroughly honest person from the responsibility of treating each person with dark skin as a unique individual - despite what the statistics may indicate. Everything in life must be examined on a case by case basis. That's what the difference is between healthy and crippling discrimination. Stereotyping and pre-judging are all part of our material conditioning. We do it so unconsciously most people are just oblivious to how much and how often it impacts our thinking and behavior. Becoming more conscious of how our thinking is impacted like this is just one of the things Landmark does an excellent job teaching. Srila Prabhupada made this same point over and over again in relation to how people prejudge religion. Just because so many others have presented cheating religions in the past does not mean that the process of Krishna Consciousness is bogus. He used the analogy of not foolishly tossing out the jewels that were mixed among the broken glass. We should also remember our own campaign: "Don't lump us in?"

2. Many of the devotees who are in ISKCON management seem to be willing to acknowledge the value therapy or marriage counseling has in resolving personal issues that lodge themselves into the human psyche. Yet strangely that reasoning is abandoned when it's time to consider the difficulties that are encountered in managing and directing the most important religious revolution in this entire universe. It is no hidden secret that our movement is facing some serious internal issues and may be suffering from the same types of loggerheads that destroy marriages and drive people crazy. Numerous symptoms indicate that our society could be suffering from a serious breakdown in the ability of our own members to communicate with each other in a healthy, honest and mature way. It is in this area that Landmark could help dispel denial where it exists and provide us with effective tools and insights. Such perks could lead to significant positive changes and start to heal the wounds that devotees have inflicted on each other either knowingly or unknowingly.

3. The pubic will never listen to us carefully if we aren't capable of listening to each other carefully. We can not continue to ignore all the clues Krishna is sending us as our own milk begins to boil. Many of the senior members of our movement have begun to realize some of the terrible mistakes they have made as ISKCON administrators. Some have been honorable enough to apologize for them while others are still completely unaware of them. Such mistakes are inevitable when there is excessive ignorance and pride. But what about future mistakes? Are we to approach managing this movement with the same "groping-in-the-dark" experimental approach that has led to the kind of deterioration everyone is concerned about? Isn't it possible that maybe,... just maybe... ISKCON management could actually be TAUGHT how to be more effective in fulfilling Srila Prabhupada's mission? Or are we so smug and content that nobody else anywhere, could ever help us, in any way, with the undaunting task of realizing Srila Prabhupada's instruction to us - which is to make the whole world Krishna Conscious? Numerous well-balanced devotees have already suggested that Landmark might be able to assist us in this way. Isn't it incumbent on the powers to be to make a serious inquiry into what it offers, instead of just trying to dogmatically crush it politically or po-poo it as irrelevant, unwanted, or even demoniac?

4. Most objective devotees would agree that those who have been primarily responsible for the management and integrity of ISKCON, since Srila Prabhupada's departure, have begun to realize the impact of their past mistakes. But at the same time many of them have no idea of how many dead bodies they have left in their wake and what the real cost of that blindness has been. That is where Landmark Education could really make a difference. If we become fully aware of how we have behaved towards each other, take full responsibility for it, and then do what's necessary to repair the mistakes that have been made the results could only be beneficial. This work requires that each individual be fully responsibility for themselves and not evade that responsibility with well worded GBC policies, doctrines, or elaborate philosophical treaties as to it's irrelevance. Having to do this on an individual basis may not seem like nectar at first, and will undoubtedly frighten away all but the most rigorously honest, but it does promise to be nectar in the end if under taken honestly and with full faith in the sovereignty of Krishna. Those who take the time to cleaned up their past will begin to really taste the true sweetness of Krishna Consciousness and will be the true leaders of our society into the next millenium.

5. Landmark will grow because the company is providing something very real, meaningful and tangible. It doesn't mean anything that the "Forum" might appear to be similar to EST, Scientology, Depak Chopra, Lazerath, Steve Covey, Earl Nightengale, Dale Carnagie, Princess Diana, Silverster Stalone, the Catholic Church, The Black Panthers, or your Granmothers kitchen toaster. It is just as uniquely different from those pre-conceptions as Krishna Consciounsess is to the pre-conceptions everyone has about religion. There is a lot at stake here. Landmark and other Educational institutions will not evaporate and go away anytime in the near future. Devotees will continue to have an interest things of this nature although it may appear slightly different with each generation. That means ISKCON management will continue to have to deal with it, and other lateral organizations of its type, for years to come. We can approach these types of things in either an empowering or disabling way. The first would be helpful, the latter will continue to undermine our roots.

6. There is a fine line between acting dangerously dogmatic and prudently careful in regards to how we practice our Krishna Consciousness. The core of what we teach must never change, but our philosophy is dynamic. Success lies in the hands of those who have learned to utilize everything in the service of Krishna. Many devotees from the LA community have attended a Landmark Education program and nearly every one has found it a worthwhile and meaningful experience. To imply that they are all in gross maya is one way of labeling them. But regardless of what name management chooses to use, they should try to act wisely and be very careful not to create a big difficulty from a minor issue. It seems that the only problem that currently exists is the one created in the consciousness of those who have not attended the Landmark Forum.

Landmark and the Sankirtana Movement

1. Devotees should understand that Landmark is doing us a valuable service by breaking down the traditional way people think in the West. Those who attend a Landmark Forum and have not been introduced to Eastern philosophies get a first hand opportunity to see how their consciousness has been trapped by all sorts of silly illusions. For a devotee it all fits very nicely together and creates an ideal opportunity for preaching.

2. Although they don't realize it, a lot of what Landmark teaches is similar to the way Srila Prabhupada taught the devotees about maya. Devotees know that this life is only temporary and that we each have only so much time to do what we are here for. The core Lanmarke message is one that's time has finally come. Everyday the general public is becoming more aware, in there own disconnected way, of the great illusion we know of as maya. When they hear a rational discussion about how it is cheating them they eat it up. For this reason Landmark is not going to dissolve or go away. Instead of seeing it as our enemy and fighting against it, we should see it as our ally and be ready to piggyback with it pick up where they leave off.

3. Landmark Education splits the material and spiritual phenomena into two completely separate areas of study. They acknowledge their inability to address those things beyond the physically observable and therefore make no attempt to discuss things like Spirituality. Their expertise is in observing how people have become entrapped and conditioned by the mechanics of the material world and they do that very well. But, because they only address one half of the whole, the other half is left wide open for us to slip Krishna Consciousness right in. What most devotees have realized is that the people who are willing to take a rigorous look at how they have been sucked into the illusion of the material world are also very inclined to seek out a rigorous philosophical approach towards religion. That's where the devotees step in to complete the process of examination that Landmark Education has so nicely started for us. Krishna Consciousness is the next logical step because it integrates the philosophy Landmark postulates about the material world so well with the absolute truth Srila Prabhupada gave us about the Spiritual world.

Landmark Will Bewilder Devotees & Cause Them to Bloop!

1. Devotees leave the movement for many reasons. Some may even drift off into Landmark Loka, which is unfortunate. But many devotees go to college with good intent and never return, so should we forbid school? Some devotees get married, move out of the temple and are rarely heard from afterwards. Should we forbid our married members from living in outside apartments? Is education, spouse, where one lives or career really responsible for anyone choosing to leave? Perhaps in some superficial way one could make this argument, but what is the real reason? Even some of the most so-called senior members of our movement who appeared to be following very closely have departed. In some cases it was to start competing societies, ashrams, or philosophies not significantly different then ISKCON. What caused them to leave? I would like to suggest that it is summed up in one word.


2. Whenever there is a difficulty a concerned person will try to identify the source of the problem. But human nature, being what it is, usually ends up pointing the finger at external reasons to explain for those difficulties. The real issue here is a concern we all have about people falling away from Krishna Consciousness. If we are convinced that they fall away because of external temptations, or well masqueraded illusions, then an appropriate solution may be to lock everyone up in the ashram to protect them from their own foolishness. But if we were willing to consider the possibility that people drift away from Krishna because we have lost our own integrity in presenting Krishna properly, then we would have a whole different response. It may be easier to just confine the devotees in the ashram, but it may also be the first step to creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Landmark clarifies the concept of integrity. But that discussion must begin with the sad, but possible truth that devotees may leave our association because they have not been treated properly, with respect or human dignity. If there is any doubt of our own culpability in this matter we need only ask one of the Vaishnava Youth that survived one of the various flavors of our Gurukula System.

3. Devotees don't leave because they concluded that Srila Prabhupada failed to give us a comprehensive philosophy. Some less realized devotees may get blindly swept away by delusions or out of control addictive desires and those who have that tendency might be better off being locked up in the ashram. But even that radical approach to sense control can only be effective and properly carried out when the individual gives full consent to adhere to such a constrained lifestyle. Even under those circumstances it is imperative to acknowledge that the individual has the right to withdraw such consent whenever they wish to do so. But if this is the only way the leaders of our movement can maintain their own integrity then what does that tell us? It seems that the real reason people leave our association is because we have failed to act with genuine loving compassion towards each other. Our philosophy is so rock solid too many of our leaders tend to rely solely on it as the only means of relating to others. But acting like that does not comply with what Rupa Goswami instructed us to do. The hardest journey may not be the austerity of a barefoot parikrama in Vrindaban on a hot nir-joul ecadasi day. For many it seems to be the 18 inch trip between the mass of flesh located between the ears to the heart. Being able to make that trip is what the future of our movement depends on. That may be the real reason why people become disenchanted. That is where we are weak. That is where we are failing. That is where we need help desperately. That is why devotees humorously say things like "We have the most personal philosophy on the face of the earth but we go about presenting it in the most impersonal way." ISKCON doesn't need a different philosophy towards life because we already have that. What we do need is to become more aware of how we don't live the philosophy that we teach. We need to be willing to consider our own hypocrisy. We need to practice what we preach. Maybe we need to do a survey of all the devotees who have left the temple to find out factually why they left. We can not resolve a problem until we can define it and to define it we must be willing to consider how we have failed. That requires the type of honesty that Sukadeva Goswami dedicated the Srimad Bhagavatam to. Landmark is not for everyone. Those who become uncomfortable facing the reality of their own delusions of grander will not want to have anything to do with it. But, regardless of our own individual viewpoint, logic demanda that there can be no correction of behavior if there is no acknowledgement of shortcoming.

Everything Is In Srila Prabhupada' Books

1. In the Nectar of Instruction Rupa Goswami gave good advice regarding the loving exchanges between devotees. (NOI Mantra 4) Careful reading of the verse indicates the whole purport hinges on the concept of "Exchange". Love is only present when emotions, prasadam, and gifts flow in both directions. Unilateral autocracy is not love. Srila Prabhupada taught very emphatically not to commit Vaishnava aparada and Load Caitanya taught we should be more tolerant than a tree and act more humble then the straw in the street. All we need to do is follow these good instructions... but how many devotees actually live their lives and conduct their business in this frame of mind? We all acknowledge the validity of the instructions but why are some devotees better at following them then others? Is it really just a matter of re-reading the same instructions over and over again? Are we to expect that someday we will magically wake up and actually comprehend what it means to live those instructions? One can read about how to perform brain surgery till they are blue in the face but that doesn't qualify them to perform any operations! Devotional service requires the association of devotees to help us distinguish the valuable from the invaluable. When a large and diverse body of devotees concur on the value of a particular experience their collective voice should not be dogmatically rejected but thoughtfully considered.

2. Although it is a common fallacy to think that leadership is a natural born characteristic one is blessed with at birth, numerous studies have shown that this just simply is not true. Good leadership skills have been identified and can be successfully taught which is why college graduates with MBA degrees command higher salaries then normal undergraduates get. What does seem to be true is that those who fell into leadership positions by dint of anything other than good leadership training are usually the most resistant to accepting this well established fact. They are also the ones most likely to try to sabotage any attempts to provide leadership training. The devotees of Krishna must be careful not to use the time worn emotionally packed argument that: "Everything we need to know is available in Srila Prabhupada's books and we need not look elsewhere for anything else!" an excuse for academic laziness. The devotees of Krishna should become as vigilant about managing and distributing Krishna Consciousness as McDonnalds is about selling hamburgers. How can we ever expect to serve 10 billion BBT books worldwide if we aren't willing to become as trained as the corporate executives at McDonnalds? Krishna will help us undoubtedly, but only a fool would lie down in the middle of the freeway and say they want to be solely dependent on Krishna for their safety. Krishna will help those who have the alacrity to help themselves. This type of enthusiasm begins by taking advantage of the things we could learn from well respected organizations like Landmark Education.

3. To teach that one need only read Srila Prabhupada's books is not a guarantee of anything. This is actually good because it also means one who can not read is also not incapable of becoming Krishna Conscious. Our success is based on developing a consciousness of wanting to serve Krishna in any condition or capacity. That is how we should undertake anything we set out to learn. If a devotee approaches Landmark Forum as an excuse for not being a devotee then that is the result which we can expect to see. But that outcome is inevitable sooner or later, in one form or another, if a person has that type of consciousness. However if one is clear about the purpose of life, then attending a Landmark Education Forum could be to his Krishna Consciousness like jet fuel is to a lawn mower.

4. Landmark identifies the distinction between what is known and what is not known. It is similar to the Jarhari Window used in traditional behavioral sciences for the purpose of helping one become more conscious of the different fields of knowledge. This is diagramed below.

The Jahari Window Of What is Known

Personal (Private)
Public (Others)
What we know we know.
What we know about ourselves & share with others.
What others know about us & share with us.

Kept Secret.
What we know about ourselves and don't share with others.

What we know we don't know
Information not known but conceived of as knowable.

*What others know about us but don't share with us.
Don't know. Inconceivable.
Not known or even aware of existing.
*What we don't know we don't know. That which we are completely unaware of even possibly existing.

5. Landmark Education provides tools for discovering the two unknown quadrates of the Jahari Window. They offer ways for learning more about what others know about us but aren't inclined to share with us as well as discovering more about what we don't know we don't know. Growing in these areas first requires that we acknowledge the value in knowing more about these quadrants and a willingness to step out of our comfort zone to attain it. Devotees are familiar to the concept in what we refer to as surrendering. As easy as it may sound many are enamored by their own intellectual prowess. The end result is they often get so entangled in trying to think their way through everything they are incapable of benefiting from a process that initially sounds like a lot of word juggling mumbo-jumbo.

6. Not everyone is willing or capable of practicing the austerities required to become expert in a particular field of knowledge. The student must be willing to submit to the instructions of the teacher and make many sacrifices if the desired skill is to be gained. In the case of Landmark Education a devotee must be truly willing to look at his own personal shortcomings. This requires real humility and not everyone is comfortable admitting to himself, what to speak of publicly, what his or her shortcomings are. The potency of Krishna Consciousness is so strong it's very easy for us to start thinking that we already know it all. This is not only a very dangerous way of thinking but it is often perceived as arrogant and leads to falldown. When we are responsible for someone thinking of the devotees like that we are responsible for a very serious offense to Srila Prabhupada

7. We have been taught not to preach the glories of the Holy Name to the faithless and that milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects. Some people read Srila Prabhupada's books for the soul purpose of criticizing them or to find petty faults. So to conclude that one need only read Srila Prabhupad's books to become Krishna Conscious may be true in one context but it is simply misleading when considered in a different context. This is like saying that Krishna will always protect his devotee and therefore a devotee can walk into a rain cloud without an umbrella and not expect to get wet. It is true that Krishna does protect his devotee but it is incumbent on the individual to act with 100% integrity at all times. To act irresponsibly or below one's ability to reason, understand, or perform carries it's own consequences. Just reading the books is not a guarantee of anything. The heart must be changed. We are not fanatics. We teach the principal of dovetailing.

8. Landmark Education teaches how we can put our past in the past where it belongs. What's wrong with doing that? Isn't that what we are trying to achieve when we practice Krishna Consciousness? We say we unplug the fan of materialistic thinking when we take to Krishna Consciousness and start to replace our karmic conditioning with Suddha-sattva behavior. As long as we continue to allow our previous way of thinking to infect our soul we are not clear for becoming Krishna Conscious. Srila Prabhupada liked the analogy of having the brain washed clean of silly mundane thoughts. Landmark has an effective way of purging the past. By assisting individuals in the process of letting go of past mistakes, regrets, hurt, pain, disappointments, emotional scars and difficulties there is room for new growth that is positive, healthy and genuinely good. This is very relieving for devotees who have been mistreated and it empowers them to move into a stage of forgiveness and cooperation.

9. Good management understands that the nature of the world is that it is always changing. Those who will survive in the future are the ones who are able to adjust to outside changes without compromising their own mission or purpose. Close examination reveals that Srila Prabhupada was expert at knowing how to make the necessary adjustments in establishing Krishna Consciousness without losing the essence of it. One could argue that if Srila Prabhupada were here to ask about outside institutions he would never consent to allowing the devotees attend a Landmark Education seminar. But this is a very intimidating way for a senior devotee with management authority to coerce a junior devotee. If Srila Prabhupada were still here our whole society would be different in so many ways it's impossible for any of us to comprehend what things would be like. The fact is he is not here and devotees are attending Landmark programs. That is the reality that ISKCON managers must deal with today. How they choose to do so has the potential to divide our movement further or bring us together in deeper ways then we have ever been bonded before.

10. In 1980 the Smithstonian Institute granted ISKCON $1,000,000 to fund the Matsya project in India. In 1981 they renewed the grand and doubled the funding. The only reason whey this ever happened was because a devotee called Varuthapa Dasa made the commitment to attend a six-month class at UCLA to study how to write a grant proposal. He underwent the austerity of attending classes and studying many "OTHER" books. The simple fact of the matter is that the process of applying for a grant is not taught in Srila Prabhupada's books. Had Varuthapa prabhu adhered to this rigid cliché the grant would have never been won and project Matsya would have never happened. This is just one of many examples of how an intelligent devotee can utilize everything in the service of Krishna. It's hard to image how much more our movement could prosper if we were more willing to get properly trained in other mundane fields like Law, Accounting, Management, Fundraising, Public Relations, Advertising, Strategic Planning, and International trade just to name a few. Again we should remember that our philosophy is dovetailing, not fanaticism.

To Taste the Contents You Must Open the Bottle

1. Management can continue to approach organizational problems by passively relying on Krishna to sort everything out but that approach is not clear and leaves a lot of room for personal interpretation. Every devotee would obviously agree that this is a good foundation for how we manage our society, but the foundation alone is not the same as a complete working model. It's not incorrect to objectively consider how many serious problems our movement currently faces and consider that maybe this is the way Krishna is trying to tell us we need to grow up a bit and be open to good advice regardless of who it comes from. This is the reason why so many rank and file devotees are taking a stand for what Landmark Education has to offer.

2. The leaders of our society should be open to the possibility of actually getting some training in specific tangible management strategies. After all management is not a transcendental science, it's really just a mundane skill like accounting. It can either be done by a well informed wise individual, or not so well by a self appointed so-called expert. In regards to how to resolve the Landmark controversy a lot could be gained if it were approached head on and some ISKCON managers simply enroll in the course. To do this may requires a paradigm shift from what many would call a crisis based, coercive, or hit and miss approach to managerial problem solving. It might even require a willingness to do what the experts in the field of organizational management would suggest if the intent is to make a well informed policy decision about Landmark Education. It may in fact require that ISKCON managers stop speculating about something they know little about and just take the Forum Seminar.

3. Many devotees sincerely feel Landmark offers us a valuable opportunity to enhance our ironclad approach to self-realization with valuable skills for navigating through the plexus of material illusions. Others simply rubber-stamp this idea as nothing less then heresy. If professionals trained in behavioral sciences were asked how to cope with this division of allegiance they might very well recommend that ISKCON management attend the Forum. By doing so they would then have a first hand experience of what the Landmark teaches and could then best determine if it is their nemesis or just an inconsequential latent subliminal fear. They could then speak about the Landmark Forum from a truly knowledgeable position and not base their statement on what is no more then just hearsay or a few short things they read with the intent to discredit. The alternative would be to continue to approach the controversy in the usual political way and run the risk of making things worse by sounding unreasonable, fearful, dogmatic, or personally motivated.

4. Even Srila Prabhupada used the example of honey in this regard. Honey can only be appreciated when it is tasted. Discussing it and arguing about what it might taste like is similar to just licking the bottle. The only way ISKCON management will ever really understand what the Landmark Forum is all about is if they participate in it. Until then they must be careful not to make the mistake of creating a problem where one doesn't already exist. It seems that there are far more serious issues jeopardizing the sovereignty of our movement at this time then a few professional business seminars.

5. ISKCON managers who are struggling to make the monthly mortgage payments might be wise to consider what might be possible if they approached Landmark with a whole different point of view. If they did they might realize that our sankirtan devotees could be twice as effective if they were trained by Landmark Education and actually learned how to communicate more effectively, powerfully, and without fear.

Landmark Education: Related Costs and Worldwide Offices

1. Landmark Education has regional offices all over the world: The cost for the three-day Forum in the US is $325. (In third world countries like India it is as little as one third of that cost.) This includes ten weekly follow-up sessions that last about three hours each. Compared to other professional training, therapy, family counseling, or general education the cost is extremely reasonable. Because of the nature of this program and Landmarks corporate mission statement Police officers can usually get a full scholarship and attend free of charge. Scholarships are also granted to individuals on a case by case basis and many devotees have already received them in the Los Angeles Area.

2. More information can be attained from the Following partial list of prominent Landmark Offices.

a. Corporate Headquarters, San Francisco, California, USA, (415) 981-8850
b. Los Angeles, California USA (310) 642-1997
c. Denver, Colorado, USA (303) 779-4774
d. New York, USA (212) 447-2100
e. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (215) 574-4600
f. Miami, Florida, USA (954) 964-3375
g. Tampa, Florida, USA (813) 884-7188
h. Washington, DC, USA (703) 823-2255
i. Atlanta, Georgia, USA (770) 986-1140
j. Montreal, Canada, (514) 874-9811
k. Vancouver, Canada, (604) 482-8000
l. London, England, 011-44-171-580-1997
m. Frankfurt, Germany, 011-49-69-975-8600
n. Paris, France 011-331-4482-7555
o. Stockholm, Sweden, 011-46-8-6430780
p. Auckland, New Zealand, 011-64-9-366-0163
q. Sydney, Australia, 011-61-2-9261-2511
r. Bangalor, India, 011-91-80-551-3438
s. Delhi, India, 011-91-11-644-2800
t. Bombay, India, 011-91-22-305-3040

Landmark Education and ISKCON - Some Points To Consider.
c/o mayesvara dasa (William Robers) Ojai, California (805) 640-0405 Dec/97



© 1997 VNN