How Far Domination?

“Dependence”… Sounds like a sub kind of experience. And addiction sounds like one more domination in a sub’s life. But according to kinksters, the S/M practice of domination is beneficial.

Thus in an online chat room, sub jojo_001 says, “the underlying rule for being a dominant is to support the submissive and help them live a better life, to push their boundaries and test their limits.[1]”

Pushing my boundaries: I value this for myself; I want to keep growing, to keep expanding my ability to deal with experience. But that’s my job; I want other people to respect my boundaries. If they arrogate responsibility for my sense of self, that’s abuse.

Jesse Meredith, an activist in the feminist bookstore movement, comments on “a frequent statement” by sadomasochists that “A ‘good’ sadist takes the masochist to her limits—and a little further.” Meredith asks “What is a ‘a little?’ And who decides? Where is ‘consent’ then?”[2]

SlaveMaster in SM as a Spiritual Path says “The purpose of my practice is to produce spiritual evolution – permanent change, not simply an experience. Authentic spiritual growth never comes from experiences that the ego can predict or control. So to empower destiny, I create situations that go beyond the ‘safety’ of [conventionally defined] SM and demand a surrender of the very egotistic controls that allow us to feel safe.”[3]

This dom takes the role further than any other I’ve read about — like some kind of guru. How much is appropriate in surrender to one’s guru? When a spiritual teacher exercises power over a student, what does that do to both of them?

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[1] jojo_001, 2012.
[2] Meredith, in eds. Linden et al. 1982, 98.
[3] SlaveMaster, accessed 1/30/2016.
[4] The list is long of spiritual teachers who have used their power inappropriately, especially in sex with their students.
For one notable example — Bhagavan Das — see the review by Lori Lothian of the film Karmageddon.
Some other notable examples, about whom it’s easy to find plenty on the Web:

  • Osho / Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
  • Andrew Cohen
  • Adi Da / Bubba Free John etc.
  • Swami Satchidananda
  • Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his student
  • Osel Tendzin
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