Eastern Religions & INspired Groups
Eastern spirituality is often thought of as a favorable alternative to Western religion. Any group, no matter its origin, can turn destructive. Cultural practices like forced marriage and honor-based violence are prevalent in some countries with an eastern religion majority. If your background is Hindu or Buddhist, or you're from another eastern philosophy-based group, the following resources are for you.
AHA Foundation ~ Are you in danger of honor-based violence (HBV)? Whether your life is threatened for not believing in your family's religion or you're trying to escape FGM or a forced marriage, this nonprofit's free textline and resource directory will help you find safety.
Unchained At Last ~ Helping girls, women, and anyone else in the U.S. facing a forced marriage or child marriage, Unchained will help you plan your escape (including international escapes), find safe shelter, provide emergency financial assistance, and provide you with psychotherapy and career counseling - for free.
Orinam ~ Based in India, this organization aims to provide resources for LGBTIQA+ individuals and their loved ones. They are atheist-friendly and also offer Sikh and Hindu perspectives of gender and sexual fluidity.
Karma Nirvana ~ This UK-based nonprofit offers help for those facing abuse, threats of disownment, and arranged marriages. Their Survivor Ambassador Programme gives you practical life skills to rebuild your life. Call their helpline if you need urgent assistance.
Leaving Buddhism ~ This online forum has threads cautioning about the dangers of meditation, psychologically manipulative teachers, and how to recognize a cult.
Ex-Hindu Reddit Community ~ An online support group for ex-Hindus.
Nirmukta ~ Promoting secular humanist values across India and South Asia, Nirmukta aims to support freethinkers and atheists through their forum, online magazine, and fascinating blogs covering philosophy, pseudoscience, and activism. They also have regional groups in five major cities.
The Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan ~ Yogi Bhajan popularized Kundalini yoga in the West, and while this blog site is primarily for ex-Bhajanists, it also has an active forum covering topics of Sikhism, Kundalini Yoga, and 3HO.
Skeptic Meditations ~ This site explores the hidden dark side of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Its founder, a former monk of Self Realization Fellowship Monastic Order (founded by famous yogi and author Paramahansa Yogananda), pens thoughtful critiques of "enlightenment" and gurus, and also sheds light on the adverse effects of yoga and meditation.
Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole ~ Former Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher Joe Kellet delves into the darker side of TM on this site Suggestibility.org. He boldly asserts that, "Saying 'TM is just a relaxation technique' is much like saying that 'Scientology is just a personality test.'" If you've had unpleasant or suspicious experiences in the TM world, you may appreciate learning more .
TM-Free ~ This blog site is co-moderated by Gina Catena, who grew up in the Transcendental Meditation movement after her parents joined when she was a child. Her site offers a skeptical look at the inner workings of TM and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, including the expensive courses teaching you to "fly." Gina is also a member of the Advisory Council International Cultic Studies Association.
Journey Free ~ The term Religious Trauma Syndrome was originated by Dr. Marlene Winell, who maintains a therapeutic practice leading an online support group and weekend retreats for those looking to rebuild their lives after religion. Book a session with her over phone or Skype, or visit her office in Oakland, CA.
Books, Articles & Media