BOWIE, Ariz. — The rescuers had rappelled from a helicopter, swaying in the brisk April winds as they bore down on a cave 7,000 feet up in a rugged desert mountain on the edge of this rural hamlet. There had been a call for help. Inside, they found a jug with about an inch of water, browned by floating leaves and twigs. They found a woman, Christie McNally, thirsty and delirious. And they found her husband, Ian Thorson, dead.
The puzzle only deepened when the authorities realized that the couple had been expelled from a nearby Buddhist retreat in which dozens of adherents, living in rustic conditions, had pledged to meditate silently for three years, three months and three days. Their spiritual leader was a charismatic Princeton-educated monk whom some have accused of running the retreat as a cult.
First off, this is just another piece of evidence that there is no safe religion and that Buddhism is just another load of superstitious bullshit fraught with danger and thought-termination designed to appeal to the weak-willed searching for easy answers about morality, death, and the nature of reality.
But also, it’s more evidence that the more orthodox and inclusive a secretive religious sect is (the other day’s example was Orthodox Jews and the Amish, both of which have problems with sexual abuse) the more likely they’re hiding dark secrets.
These are not institutions to be respected or to be appreciated. We ought to view them with suspicion and demand transparency. Claiming religion or culture doesn’t preclude a group from following the law. That means the insular Orthodox Jewish communities and Brooklyn and the “good simple” Amish folk and Buddhist retreats don’t get to have a little corner of the country where the long arm of the law and the prying eye of the 4th estate are barred.