Questions For Ching Hai

Author: R.A. Whritenour
Publisher: The Neural Surfer
Publication date: 1996 

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

Dear Dr. Lane,

This is a follow up to some previous correspondence we have had.
In following Ching Hai over the past 1 year I have come up with some
observations I would like to share with you in the hope you can shed some
further light on this woman.  As I mentioned in the past my wife is involved
with this group, and its effects on my and my daughters life have been quite
destructive, I would like to see the group exposed for what it is.


I have read in several places that there is a connection between Thakar Singh
and Suma Ching Hai i.e. he was her mentor.  In your book The Making of a
Spiritual movement you link Twitchell to the Singhs, if I follow the links
you make I come to some interesting conclusions about Hai.

She appears to have been a keen observer of Twitchells, she learned to
correct some of his mistakes by shrouding her lineage in mystery.  Twitchell
makes the mistake of claiming a lineage, which one assumes is designed to
give him credibility.  As his masters prove to be charlatans he simply
rewrites history as you so aptly demonstrate.

Hai solves this problem by claiming a unique lineage known only to her.  At
first glance this is problematic as it causes a loss of credibility, but to
her followers it is confirmation she is the supreme master, so supreme that
even her lineage is unique.  This leads very easily to the groups next
argument, all true masters represent a step forward in evolution and will
therefore be the subject of ridicule in this life.  As proof of this Hai
points to both Buddha and Christ, while one rarely sees hai claim directly
that she is both, her monthly magazine is full of these claims.

This brings me to what I think may be the more interesting point.  When I
first started researching this group, I had a tendency to look at what was
being offered by the group and try to offer logical arguments as to why this
appeared to be a cult.  As I suspect you know this rapidly leads to the trap
that there is a group party line for every eventuality.  This should not
come as a surprise to any of us who have been involved in a major corporation
which often times does the same thing.

What caused me to change my thinking was your approach to Twitchell i.e.  you
clearly demonstrated he lied about just about everything.  If we unfetter
ourselves from, our traditional belief that there must be at least some
element of truth in what people tell us we begin to see hai in a new light.

In the new light we ask questions like, where does a group composed primarily
of poor vietnamese immigrants, sell $10,000 dresses, and gold jewelry, where
is Hishu Center the supposed seat of power, what jewelry and fashion shows
have been reported outside of "master magazine".

And most interesting of all if I am a cult leader why I am I writing money
orders for my group members to sign ( it is fact that this happened) isn't it
more usually the cults purpose to extract funds from the group?

Further, how many members does the group really have?  The group has publicly
said they do not track them.  From personal experience I assure you the group
keeps very good records.  Not only on members but on their activity there is
even a system of sanctions for deviate group members a kind of probation
which is studiously tracked by electronic card reader according to master

Stepping back and asking ourselves what is this group really designed to do
offers some unique opportunities, to redefine our thinking.  If we try to
force ching hai into our traditional view of a cult leader we may well come
up with exactly the conclusion she wants us to.

"She is a cult designed to exploit the masses, by using slave labor to work
in her restaurants, make jewelry, manufacture clothes and generally collect

But every time I try to penetrate the infra-structure that can generate
this kind of revenue and support the number of members required to generate
100,000's of dollars I can't find it.

I have a business that generates 2 million in revenue and nothing like
100,000's of profit, but I can't hide my business it takes plant equipment
payroll and employees.

So my suggestion is I think we are looking at this upside down the cult is
not designed to generate revenue it is designed to launder revenue.  Rather
than look for the traditional murky ties to some past master maybe we should
be looking for the political ties to some current organizations.

In my mind this makes several things easier to reconcile, 1 the ethereal
nature of the alleged commericial enterprise, 2 the studied nature of the
groups manipulation, 3 the shear size of the group does not support the
contributions allegedly collected. 4 what in the world the unlikely trio of
tire, hai and wung are doing trying to donate money to Clinton's defence

Well I hope you find my ramblings interesting and I would love to hear your

R.A. Whritenour

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.