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Meditation group in Bayside teaches to subtract distractions

TimesLedger Newspapers

When visitors walk through the front door and into the foyer of the unassuming, beige house on the residential 38th Avenue block of 216th Street in Bayside, they are asked politely, if they have not already done so, to remove their shoes.

Trepidations may also be left by the door, for slippers will be provided.

For about three years now, the house, numbered 38-15, has been the neighborhood’s center to experience Maum Meditation — a seven-step, guided method that encourages disciples to free themselves of the limitations their past experiences impose on their minds and bodies.

“The main thing here is not learning another thing, but subtracting,” said Amy Kim, an instructor who said she discovered the method for herself about 10 years ago. “At the time I was just going through a lot of stress. I just had a lot of questions about life in general. Everybody has that.”

According to the group’s literature, Maum was discovered in 1996, when Woo Myung became enlightened while meditating in the mountains of South Korea.

Kim said Maum rests on the principle that there are two worlds: the true world (great freedom, joy and eternal life) overlapped by the false world (lack of wisdom, endless hopelessness and despair).

In order to divest oneself of this false world, Kim said, Maum Meditation teaches adherents to subtract first their thoughts, then images of themselves and relationships and ultimately their bodies and the universe.

Once this is done, the self disappears and becomes the universe, the method teaches, and one can become the true world.

C.J. Le, an instructor in training at the center, was on Bell Boulevard earlier this month handing out pamphlets informing passersby of the free introductory lectures held every Tuesday and Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Kim said a monthly $150 fee allows members to visit the center for any length of time while it is open, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Michael Clarke said he has been attending an intensive meditation course for a few months now. The Rosedale resident visits the center four or five times a week for 12 hours at a time.

He said it was the concept of “getting to know your mind” that attracted him to the method.

Maum also has centers in Flushing and Plainview, L.I. The Bayside center’s phone number is 718-225-3472.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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Peter from Whitestone says:
Found this on the net about this place:

Maum Meditation = Death Cult

This new meditation in America is in fact a cult. They believe their leader,
the manifestation of "the Truth", is an enlightened being who can bring others
to enlightenment. However, the first practice and every day practice is to kill
oneself in the mind through graphic violent death visions. After time, this form
of brainwashing can remove inhibitions. Then throwing away every image in your
brain, even the ones that pop up at every moment, which is impossible because
our thoughts are infinite.

They purport that there are 8 levels, but after that you must continue because
you haven't reached enlightenment yet. The charge monthly is $150.00, with a
$1,000.00 "sky fund donation" required at level 5. They also suggest for members
to purchase reading material and other products.

The founder, Woo Myung, lives on Long Island even though the main compound is in
Korea. In either level 4 or 5, a hymn praising Woo Myung must be learned. All
levels are secretive unless you are in that level and level 8 members are only
privy to and granted access to the level 8 only web portal. There is a chair at
all centers reserved only for Woo Myung, no one may sit on it. His wife is only
allowed to meet with level 8 members although Woo Myung himself sometimes stops
by centers to critique people's attitudes and progress. The fanaticism and
devotion required to him and the brainwashing method is intense; thus creating a
cult.

The "helpers", people who guide your meditation and are 8th level, even though
reaching "enlightenment" themselves, show frustration, apathy, and dislike to
some participants, especially when asked questions they cannot answer. Many
helpers smile a fake smile and loving atmosphere, just to create a false sense
of acceptance. When not present for more than 2 days, the calls begin.
A person who doesn't fear death in a cult could be very dangerous person.

-Former practitioner with sense to know this isn't meditation, it's daily
brainwashing.

DISCLAIMER: I am not perfect. This "cult" may or may not be the way to the
truth, but the above observations are my opinions and mine alone. This has been
added due to the dearth of opposite information about the group and from my own
experiences. Do not judge this group by these words, but by your own
experiences.
March 21, 2012, 2:06 am
Peter from Whitestone says:
Also found this:
Destruction of the family by Maum Meditation 14 year olds testimony
My dad does Maum Meditation, here in Canada. He's a pretty stressed out person,
since he's the only one who has a job. My mom can't because she has health
problems, and is well on her way to getting better, and I'm too young(14). The
first few months, he was becoming a wonderful person. More relaxed, and kind
towards others. Few months later, my mom and I noticed obsession with this maum
meditation. He'd tell my mom to go there and he'll work, if not, then he's going
to quit his job. (he has a really tough job, and now he has back, hand and thigh
pain.) After few more months, he is CRAZY about this! I noticed the "cult
personality". It was scary. He'd be telling everyone to throw away all your
thoughts and feelings, because it means nothing.As more time went on, he'd be at
the meditation center EVERY chance he gets. He comes home only about every other
week for 3 days or less. (he's a truck driver) so when he's in USA, he'd attend
the maum meditation there. And when he comes "home", he'd be at maum meditation.
That's his home, and where my mom and I live is his second home. My mom just
recently found out about how their rent (or the payment of the rent, not sure
which one) was under my dad's name! He even made donations over a thousand
dollars there, and my mom packs his food for work, and it's this expensive
organic drink that my mom bought just for my dad. When my dad arrived from work,
my mom found them ALL to be in the fridge of the Maum mediation center! She
didn't even let me drink that, because it was for HIS health in mind! Also,
being his "home", he eats, sleeps and even SHOWERS there. He even has his own
little soap bar there. My mom got drunk one night, and just let out everything
she's been keeping in at my dad and told him that he should just go to Korea,
since the maum meditation is more important than our family(Maum meditation head
quaters is there). So he left. EVERYTHING. I called the meditation center after
he left the house asking if my dad was there. The helper said that he left 10
minutes ago. My mom and I ran to out car, and found his cellphone and a note
there to me saying he's sorry.So my mom called relatives in Korea and they
picked him up at the airport. They took him to their home and called my mom and
said he'll be back in 10 days. And I talked to him, and he said he's sorry
because we shoud've gone to Korea as a family. I didn't say much to him. Then my
mom and I had a relief moment because maybe seeing his parents in 11 years has
changed him. Few days later, (he went to the maum meditation headquaters) and
called saying that he wants my mom and me to come to Korea with him and live in
the maum meditation head quarters. He said that we can all meditate there. But
he said its a good place with lots of other kids and we pay them to live there.
He also said that we can all stay there until he becomes a helper, becuase the
max age you can be is 45 and hes 43. It's going to take a year for his training
to be completed, and he said that I won't be going to school during that time.
My mom told me something about them sending him to Brazil, Argentina... My mom
did some research and found out more about this. She found out that when they
say Brazil, they mean the dessert. And she know that while he's becoming a
helper, he's going to do the same with her and me. So my dad came back from
Korea. But, not to stay with us, but to sign the divorce papers, and sign papers
to sell his truck. Then he's going back to the maum head quarters. He doesn't
know the truth about this place. The only people he listens to is the helpers.
The helpers in my area have done nothing but bad to my dad. They show no concern
for my dad's behavior, and they enforce it. She tells him things like to stay
longer, and she cooked yummy food, etc. Also, when my mom was talking to her
that she's going to try her best to keep him with our family. The helper there
said, ''Why? So you can make him work again?''. Which was really offensive, and
sounded like she was implying that my mom's treating him bad. He's still at our
home, currently. I don't know what will happen next. My mom told him that he's
basically killing us, because we cannot survive here. He said that whether my
mom and me die or not, it doesn't matter to him. (that's not what he said when
he cheated on her with her best friend 5 years ago!). He keeps telling me to go
there when my mom's not around. I don't want him to go because I care about him
but I don't know how to tell him because I can't say anything had about maum
meditation because he always thinks that my mom is telling me this stuff, or the
Internet, and telling me it's not true and how would I know if I never
meditated. It's impossible to talk sense into him! My mom told him to stay here,
and we'll move to Toronto, and she'll do a homestay job, and he can become a car
mechanic (which he used to love so much) and he can come home everyday and go to
maum meditation in Toronto everyday and she'll do everything he wants. He said
not to try to change his mind, because he's going to the maum meditation head
quarter no matter what.

I'm not saying all this maum meditation is bad, just to be careful.
My mom heard me crying last night, and told my dad. (around 4am) He came in
crying a lot. He held my hands and kept tellin me that I grew a lot, and I'm so
nice and blah.. Then I told him that if he leaves, we'll never see each other
forever. He stays quiet. Then I say that he's leaving us behind because of the
maum meditation. Then he threw my hand away, got up and yelled at me, ''OKAY
THEN JUST COME TO KOREA WITH ME, OR YOU CAN JUST STAY HERE. I'M GOING NO MATTER
WHAT!''. It was devastating.. He changed so much.

I don't know what will happen next. Please email me at lakieas33@hotmail.com if
you have some more info on this! He is abandoning his family, and I won't be
able to see him for the rest of my life.. They've been married for 15 years, and
because if this, our family is gone. If he leaves, my mom said that we're going
to shut the maum meditation in our area down because we've got nothing more to
lose. It's mostly the helper there to blame. When it's just him and her, she's
telling him all these twisted words. He even told my mom that this world we're
living in now, is all a dream that we can't wake up from.

*Also, my mom even contacted former maum meditators, or helpers in other areas.
They thinks he's insane. They've tried to talk to him, but he just has one thing
in his mind: maum meditation*

Posted by: Rozina | January 05, 2012 at 12:12 AM

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/knowthemaum
March 21, 2012, 2:08 am
Clara Jacobson from Bayside says:
Maum Meditation = Subtraction

I Google'd 'maum meditation' to see what people are saying about it and found a conversation that had been going on for a couple years now. Reading through the comments, I felt compelled to write my own. I tried leaving a comment, but I don't know if it takes some time for it to be published, but I felt it's worth writing about in my blog as well.

Maum Meditation is a method of subtraction. Imagine a whiteboard completely filled with all the thoughts, emotions, feelings, and everything else preoccupying our minds. What Maum Meditation does is erase all of that so that we can return to the original, clean, clear state of mind, un-dirtied by all the things in our mind created by our life experiences.

There are no gurus, no rules, no regulations, no coercion. The only thing that Maum Meditation does is subtract. Subtract everything in my mind, subtract the rules and regulations. Subtract any doctrines, beliefs, prejudgments, preconceptions, notions. Subtract everything. The helpers are not instructors; they just guide you through the subtraction method. You're the one who subtracts the junk from your mind because only you know what's in your mind. And when that junk is thrown out, you'll be the one to know that junk is gone. Thinking about it mathematically, there is no end to addition, but there is an end to subtraction. Instead of continuing to draw more and more and more on the whiteboard, why not subtract and erase all the junk and return the whiteboard to the clean, original state? Only you know the state of your own whiteboard. Every human being does have his or her own concept of the truth, but after throwing all of that out as well, only what's real should remain, right?

If Maum Meditation were a cultish organization that only brainwashes people with no positive results, I seriously doubt that this organization would be growing at the rate it currently is. In July 2007, there were about 140 centers worldwide, in October 2010 about 290 centers. As of June 2011, there are more than 300 centers world-wide, with about 4-5 more centers scheduled to open all over the world at the moment. There also should have been some kind of media coverage already on how Maum Meditation is a scam and fraud if it really were. There is some coverage about knock-off organizations in Korea but not of Maum Meditation. To-date, there are only negative personal experiences on forums such as this one and no negative media coverage about Maum Meditation. (If you find any official negative reviews or media coverage, though, please provide the link so everyone can see. People have a right to know the truth, right? Check here for various media coverage about Maum Meditation.)

Yes, I do practice Maum Meditation, but I tried to give as objective an opinion as possible. I probably would have quit myself if I had noticed any cultish intentions. But there was something sincere and true behind the helpers' earnest requests and persuasions for me to complete all the levels. They really seemed to want to help me find truth in my life and wish for me to live well. That's what kept me there and helped me continue to subtract to find the truth.

Once I started subtracting, the changes that came along with getting rid of the junk in my mind made the helpers' persuasion unnecessary. I knew that I was at a place where the method actually works. No more dirtying the whiteboard. Anytime there's something to deal with, I can approach it with a clean slate, instead of an incredibly muddled one with no more space to use.

I encourage anyone and everyone to give this method of subtraction a sincere chance, and approach it with some patience and an open mind.
Aug. 11, 2012, 9:05 pm
Katrina from Everett says:
I liked the idea of the "false mind" can be thrown away through the method of Subtraction in Maum Meditation. Since I am living in the world where my illusions are attached, life was so much in stress and agonies.
And I usually don't buy others' own point of view on anything for that can be very subjective and limited only based on the extent of the experiences on their own.
Anyways, whatever it is said underneath my comments, regardless of that, Maum Meditation sounds very interesting place to meditate and explore my inner peace.
Dec. 18, 2012, 2:50 am
Jim from Long Beach says:
When I saw the pamphlet of this meditation in one restaurant, the word “Subtraction” hit my head. At that time, I was going through difficult time relationship-wise, and felt suffocated by the pressure and anxiety from the daily life. Even if I couldn’t understand what “Subtraction” meant, it came to me as a fresh air. I thought it could be the way out of my situation.
So I attended one of their free intro lectures to find out what exactly “Subtraction” means. According to the instructor, I have been accumulating pictures taken by 5 senses into my mind throughout my entire life. The accumulations of pictures have formed the false mind world, and I’ve been living in that world instead of living in the true world just as it is. Then he said, “In Maum Meditation, you are going to subtract those pictures in your mind that are false”, and added, “You are so much attached to those pictures which are the source of stress and burden.”
After the lecture, I decided to do this meditation right away. Since then, the pressure on my shoulder from my life has lifted and the relationship with people has improved much. Most of all, I can breathe truly now.
I’m so thankful to this meditation to help me overcoming the difficult situation. I’ve never thought about that it was possible to throw away the stress and burden I’ve been carrying around. Furthermore, by subtracting them I can find my true self IN MY LIFE. Thanks!
Dec. 18, 2012, 3:30 am
Mary from Bogota says:
Im starting my first meditation tmrw, so i can really say much yet. But i think u can find the word cult or fraud or scam if u use those words with anything. Everyones perception is different. To the kid up top that lost his dad to maum, thats just weird, but could happen to anything. Work, lovers, religion, drinking, drugs, etc. Seems like ur dad has an addicitve personality n i do believe maum would love to have u completely commited to them, what organization wouldnt?
Im not sure what to expect, but i hope i dont whind up losing my family n moving to korea for any reason. I am seeking truth, do i k ow this is the answer? No but i really am on a mission to meditate really well. I cant pratice at home and for $100 a month its a hell of a lot cheaper then theraphy. Fings crossed they dont eat my brain lol
Jan. 11, 2013, 8:05 pm
jack from offenhand says:
keeram shag shodeh
Sept. 6, 2013, 6:08 pm
Tom from Mandurah says:
My wife joined Maum Meditation in Western Australia 2 years ago. It become more and more important for here. The last 2 months she is there from 6 AM in the morning to 10 PM nighttime. You can imagine i am not very happy with the situation because i don`t see her anymore and life together gets more and more difficult . Also our kids are there some time during the week and on weekends. She was now asked to spend half of our savings for a 2 week stay at some center in Argentina to find the final enlightenment. For me it looks those people are more interested in finally getting your money even if they have to destroy a family. There is no guidance of what is considered a healthy amount of weekly participating hours. Helpers in the centers should be aware that problems in family's occur if the allow a married woman the be there 16 hrs a day 7 days a week if it is managed properly. I am looking forward to get some replays to this post from couples where only on of them joined Maum Meditation and / or if they have the same issues or not. English is not my language so there could be some funny mistakes in the text above but i think you know what my concern is. Thanks anyone who takes the time to answer with a few words.
June 11, 6:44 pm
Unnon from Baltimore says:
I went to the free lecture/recruitment session today. It was very suspicious and underhanded. The speaker Michael Treacy made it sound really hunky dory. Most of the lecture was dominated by testimonials from satisfied customers and the helpers interspersed in the audience. Erasing images and thoughts? How is it different from erasing memory and knowledge?
At the end came the not-too-subtle pitch: $100 a month for two years; $130 a month for one year at a time and $150 month to month basis! Pretty steep price. At the end all stops were pulled and the Maum staff tried to sign up gullible people in a hurry.
Remember: the gold standard of any transaction for a product or service is the consumer cannot be forced to make an on the spot decision. You see the same tactics at one of those seminars that teach people to make millions of off the internet in a couple of weeks.
Far Eastern businesses like restaurants and even dental offices having S.Korean staff (dentists and hygienists) have these bogus booklets in their waiting areas. Trash them. These people are liars, cheats and thieves.
June 21, 10:17 pm
gabriel from az says:
Ok
July 3, 4:51 am
Joahnna from New York says:
In a few words I want to tell you; If you want to lose the true help of heaven, keep going to maum meditation, and give to them everything you have, which one it is the purpose they have, even your soul.
Oct. 11, 3:16 pm
JJP from Singapore says:
My girlfriend and I had an identical experience to Unnon. Went to a seminar. Lots of testimonials about what an amazing experience maum meditation was and how it can change your life. Then a lecture from Woo Myung himself, lots of general stuff about 'subtraction' and throwing away your false self but no actually tangible information about the process. Lots about how he's won prizes and best selling books and then BAM just like that he is TELLING you to take out a form and fill it in with the pen provided, the form is a subscription to Meditation classes costing over a $100 a month. This did not feel like a suggestion or a choice, it was almost an order, we were then hounded by smiley and polite but very pushy 'helpers' urging us lots to fill in the forms to the point as if they thought we didn't know how to use a pen and paper. We felt cheated and a little bit embarrassed that we had even attended the lecture, it felt very much like a scam.
Oct. 21, 11:59 am

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