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EYES OPEN - WALLETS SHUT
A Cautionary Commentary on Dahn Yoga and Ilchi (Seung Heun) Lee
by Lorie Anderson
Note: All bolding, enlarged fonts, italics, etc. on this web page were added by the author for emphasis. This page states and reflects the opinions and views of Lorie Anderson alone and not those of the hosting website, Selectsmart.com. Watch for updates to this site.
Jump to ALL LINKS to critical commentaries, media reports, legal documents, websites, blogs, discussions, etc.
Jump to LINKS to NEW LEGAL DOCUMENTS for cases against Dahn.
Jump to LINKS to NEW MEDIA REPORTS.
Jump to LINKS to NEW ONLINE COMMENTARIES and REVIEWS.
JUMP to LINKS to NEW THREADS on discussion boards and forums.
JUMP to critiques of BRAIN-BASED education programs: Cutting edge science or pseudoscientific mythology?
READ: Dr. Briggs' critique of Dr. Sung Won Lee's 2002 Weill Cornell study on Dahn Yoga; and, Dr. Briggs' and Dr. Sung Won Lee's test of the blindfolded "seeing" abilities of Brain Respiration trained children.
READ: What Bawa Jain says about Seung Heun (Ilchi) Lee's claim that he was designated by the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders as one of the top fifty preeminent world religious leaders. QUOTE: "Send a message from me to Mr. Lee: 'Mr Lee, Mr. Bawa Jain says please come out and clarify."
I started this webpage after a story appeared in my local newspaper, The Ashland Daily Tidings, Oregon, purporting that Ilchi Lee's programs are proven to give children paranormal abilities ("seeing" through blindfolds and mentally making metal spoons stick to their face), to be studied by the University of California at Irvine (UCI), and to be demonstrated at a conference held by James Twyman in Ashland. [Edited for clarity 2010]
This is a copy of my letter to the editor:
December 8, 2004
You should have investigated before publishing a laudatory article on Ilchi Lee's programs.
Behind this movement for peace and healing through meditation and yoga lies a controversial public figure involved with a number of tax-exempt organizations intermingled with dozens of for-profit businesses, e.g. Dahn World Company, BCC Consulting Company, Bell Rock Development Corporation, Vortex Inc. (which sells baseless healing devices, like a $4,500 turtle).
Lee conducts deceptive "experiments" demonstrating how his Brain Respiration (BR) program develops ESP in children: blindfolded and closed book reading, telekinetic spoon-sticking and spoon-bending. He reports that certain research universities are studying BR's ESP effects, but certain named researchers told me they are not. Meanwhile, BR, with its paranormal and religious underpinnings, enters public schools nationwide as a child development program.
Lee, founder of brain "science" institutes, conveys brain myths, e.g. that we use just a tiny portion of our brain, that "below-alpha" EEG readings reflect a healthy state, that EEGs can show ESP, that ambidexterity exercises increase creativity and innovation.
The Ashland "Dahn Yoga Gallery" Web site suggests that if serious hip pain results from Dahnhak exercises, continue, as pain indicates impure energy release - harmful advice from a "clinic." (Note: They have since taken this off of their website.)
Many former students report coercion and manipulation to spend thousands for all the must-have enlightenment trainings, to volunteer long hours, or worse: see links below
I see good reason here to keep our eyes wide open and our wallets zipped shut.
Flying on the coattails of credible research institutions: Saying that the scientific community supports certain paranormal and other claims lends an air of credibility to those claims, leading to a greater following and increased sales. I tried to verify some of Ilchi Lee's assertions of mainstream scientific interest in and mounting evidence for the purported outcomes of his programs.
[2004 Note: Many of the passages and references to doctors and institutions that I mention below were subsequently removed from Dahn site.]
Excerpt from several Dahn Yoga sites:Why I don't believe these claims:
"Brain Respiration (is) currently being researched and its results confirmed by scientific studies carried out under the auspices of the Korean Brain Science Institute and the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia in UC Irvine."
Excerpt from former Brain Respiration website, in answer to a question on May 28, 2004: "Can BR help to prevent memory loss and AZ (Alzheimer's Disease)?"
"Brain Respiration® was developed with aid from the Korea Institute for Brain Science. They recently began collaboration with the Institute of Brain Aging and Dementia ( Univ. of California, Irvine)...".
Excerpt from a media release on Ilchi Lee's April 2004 presentation at UCI said:
"Following his lecture, there were demonstrations by Brain Respiration trainees who have developed extrasensory perception through Brain Respiration. It is usually children 3 to 14 years of age, who are in the brain integration stage of brain respiration, who exhibit ESP capabilities. These children perceive outside stimuli through the skin as well as the eyes. For example, they can see colors and read letters with their eyes closed. During the demonstration, a 13 year-old girl surprised the audience by accurately reading letters written by researchers with her eyes blindfolded.
"The UCI neuroscience research center and the Korea Institute of Brain Science agreed to conduct joint research on Brain Respiration. The research will include extrasensory perception developed through practice of Brain Respiration. This research will investigate brain function of Brain Respiration trainees who perceive external stimuli through the skin. The research will occur simultaneously in Korea and the U.S. this summer, targeting children with extrasensory perception." (The report praised Dr. Cotman and showed a photo of them shaking hands in agreement to collaborate.)"
Excerpt from another Ilchi Lee web page said:
"Some children between ages three and fourteen who practice BR have displayed HSP phenomenon at the fourth stage of BR Meditation, Brain Rewiring. HSP is a phenomenon displayed at a different level from that of the five senses. It is the ability to perceive objects without using the sense of sight, through heightened somatosensory development. The Korea Institute of Brain Science and the Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility of University of California, Irvine are jointly researching this phenomenon. When children display HSP, their brain waves stabilize in the alpha and theta range. A proper environment, where brain waves are undisturbed, appears to be an important factor in manifesting HSP.
Excerpt from The Dahn Institute of Healing and Massage Therapy website (still there last I checked, as of 1/1/05, ) advertising Ilchi Lee's book:
"BR is also the joint research project of the Brain Science Research Center at the University of California, Irvine and the Korean Brain Science Research Center."
Excerpt from a December 7, 2004, article by Clint Witchalls, The Guardian (London), which presented a credulous, wholesale endorsement of Brain Respiration:
"...although the evidence is anecdotal at this stage, Cornell Medical School, the University of California, Irvine and the Korea Institute of Brain Sciences are currently comparing the effects of BR to stimulant medicine on one of the major cognitive deficits associated with ADHD - impaired working memory."
Excerpt from one of Ilchi Lee's websites dated July 13, 2004:
"Brain Respiration® is an educational method that maximizes the innate abilities inherent in the brain through integrated exercises for the body and mind. The enormous success of this methodology has prompted studies by the University of California-Irvine, Cornell Medical University, and the Korea Institute of Brain Science.
Excerpt from Ilchi Lee's Dahnworld.com website, dated 8/14/2004:
"Through this event we could gather and stimulate the research on Brain Respiration in the occasion of the inauguration Ceremony of Ilchi Center for Brain Research and set the standard as at international platform. Ilchi Center for Brain Research will study Brain, Brain Respiration and HSP in cooperation with Korea Brain Research Institute, Harvard Medical Dept., Cornell Medical Department."
Excerpt from a Korean newspaper article that was posted on a former brainrespiration.com web page, dated July 13, 2004:
"...a person who practices "brain breathing" (Brain Respiration) can read a book with their eyes blindfolded,' said Dr. Joseph Ingellfinger." And: "I'm not saying that 'brain breathing' can cure hypertension or diabetes. But doctors cannot ignore that patients recover due to 'brain breathing,' even though they cannot prove it,' said Dr. Ingellfinger." (Note: An Ilchi Lee website listed Dr. Ingelfinger as a speaker on Brain Respiration and HSP from Harvard Medical University (HSP is Lee's term for ESP).
Regarding Ilchi Lee's claims of research collaboration with Dr. Cotman and UCI's Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, I emailed Dr. Cotman's office and received a reply that (paraphrased):
UCI's Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia is not conducting any research on Brain Respiration, let alone studying and confirming any purported paranormal results.
And, in December, 2004, I emailed UCI's Director of Media Relations to ask if any department at UCI is now researching Brain Respiration. James Cohen of UCI replied:
"Hi Lorie. Thanks for your e-mail. I checked with our medical communications officer and you are quite right; UCI is not conducting research into "brain respiration," so the reference in The Guardian would not be correct. My understanding as well is Dr. Cotman's office has been in touch with Ilchi Lee to make this point."
Why I think Dr. Ingelfinger was misquoted: I emailed Dr. Ingelfinger to ask if he is researching Brain Respiration and finding paranormal outcomes and healing effects on hypertension and diabetes. I also asked if he is doing research on Brain Respiration affiliated with Harvard. Dr. Ingelfinger responded that (paraphrased):
He is not personally aware of any scientific evidence supporting paranormal outcomes of Brain Respiration nor that Brain Respiration can cure diabetes or hypertension. He has not done any Harvard affiliated research in years, and he is not aware of any collaboration between Harvard and Cornell.[1/2010: Edited for clarity.]
[7/29/06. Note that online sources show Dr. Ingelfinger as devoted to Dahn Hak and to its founder Ilchi Lee. He offers Dahnhak instruction at his medical clinic. He reportedly helped initiate a "Dahn Healing Research Center" in Boston; and, a Korean Dahn website includes his testimonial that a necklace (that Dahn sells for hundreds of dollars) helps him connect with Grand Master Lee.] [1/20/2010 UPDATE: I have not seen Dr. Ingelfinger's name associated with Dahn for a long time now.]
Regarding Ilchi Lee's claims of research at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), I contacted Sean Kelliher, Public Affairs department, and he said that (paraphrased):
Weill Cornell Medical College is not sponsoring any research in conjunction with Ilchi Lee or the Korea Institute of Brain Science on Brain Respiration and ADHD, nor on any other aspect of Brain Respiration.He explained that anyone from WCMC who does conduct such research on Ilchi Lee's programs is acting independently.
Note that in 2009 Dr. William M. Briggs, PhD, of Weill Cornell described on his blog that his co-worker Dr. Sung W. Lee, MD, had in fact conducted an official Weill Cornell study in 2002 surveying before and after quality-of-life measures among a selected sample of community-based yoga participants. The community-based program Dr. Sung W. Lee used for his study was Dahn Yoga (Dahnhak; Brain Respiration), of which Dr. Sung W. Lee was a member. Dr. Briggs critiqued this study in January 2010 on his blog. See details below.
Note too that in September 2004 Dr. Briggs and Dr. Sung W. Lee conducted tests of the purported extrasensory perception abilities (ESP, or "HSP" as Dahn calls it - heightened sensory perception) of children trained in Ilchi Lee's "Brain Respiration," however both researchers declared acting independently of the Weill Cornell. Dr. Sung Lee resigned from Weill Cornell shortly afterward to work for Ilchi Lee. More details below.
Dr. Briggs Critiques Dahn's Mind-Body Weill Cornell Study
Dr. Briggs added this to his blog on January 19, 2010: "Dahn-Yoga Touted 'Peer-Reviewed Study' Stinks", where he critiques Dr. Sung Lee's 2002 Weill Cornell study that was published in 2004: "Prospective Study of New Participants in a Community-based Mind-body Training Program." Excerpts:
"Dahn yoga might not be of interest to you, but this review is larger than that. It will show you how easy it is to publish material in a well known journal that is poor at best."
[...]"From the abstract: “New participants in a community-based mind-body training program reported poor health-related quality of life at baseline and moderate improvements after 3 months of practice.” This means that several of the people had small increases in their three-month SF-36 scores. That is, some people went from answering “A good bit of the time” to “A little of the time” on the question “Have you been a very nervous person?” And so on for some of the other questions. From this, Lee was able to say that “Dahn worked.” Actually, the best that could be said was “Dahn didn’t cause too much harm.”
[...]"Regression to the mean is the most likely explanation for Lee’s results."
Dahn touts this very weak Dahn Yoga study conducted at Weill Cornell by Dr. Sung W. Lee as scientific evidence that Dahn programs work - even programs not yet promoted by Dahn until well after the 2002 study. For example, Ilchi Lee introduced a 2009 magazine article he wrote on his new "Brain Wave Vibration" exercises:
"There is a training technique designed for brain-body healing, so simple that it can be learned in minutes. And yet, it is profoundly effective. Don’t just take my word for it. A few years ago, research done at Cornell University in New York found that with just three months of practice, participants scored 15.5 points higher in a brain function test.*" [note: the asterisk cites Dr. Sung Lee's study].Really? A "brain function" test? I don't think so; those tests were simple, subjective before-and-after surveys, many conducted through interviews by Dahn staff rather than privately or anonymously, which could easily lead to biased results.
At this time, based on what I have seen on various Dahn websites, Dr. Sung Won Lee is the now former medical doctor at Ilchi Lee's "BR Clinic" in Sedona Arizona; now former Director of Research for Ilchi Lee's "Ilchi Center for Applied Neuroscience"; currently the Secretary of Ilchi Lee's "International Brain Education Association"; an Advisory Board member for Dahn Yoga; an Associate of Ilchi Lee's "BR Consulting" company; and public speaker/media reporter on Ilchi Lee's programs, such as Brain Wave Vibration and Brain Education.
A "Brain Respiration" ESP experiment you likely won't find on Dahn websites:
Publicly demonstrating the purported paranormal abilities of young students of "Brain Respiration," such as blindfolded “seeing," spoonbending, and spoonsticking, is not uncommon for Ilchi Lee, but on September 20, 2004, in Boston, something different occurred.
In front of an audience of thirty or so people, many from MIT and Harvard, Ilchi Lee permitted two university instructors/researchers from New York, Dr. William Matt Briggs(author of "So You Think You're Psychic") and Dr. Sung Won Lee, to design the experiment with some controls to attempt to eliminate the possibility of cheating, such as peeking around the blindfold or getting verbal clues from others.
Three young Brain Respiration students were flown in from Korea for the experiment, identified by Ilchi Lee as functioning at a particularly high level of HSP (aka ESP). They were to identify the color of cards that were sealed in envelopes in a number of trials. They were even given the opportunity to practice with colored cards in closed envelopes for two weeks beforehand, reportedly experiencing excellent HSP results. For the actual experiment, though, the envelopes were sealed with glue, as agreed upon beforehand.
The children were permitted to hold the envelopes, but in contrast to Ilchi Lee's typical HSP demonstrations, this time the colored cards themselves were not handed to the blindfolded children or held up in front of them prior to their answering, as I had seen proctors do in a video that used to be available on one of Ilchi Lee’s websites.
The children appeared to struggle once the controls were instituted. They took much longer to answer; the experiment had to end early due to their rising anxiety levels; one child developed a stomach ache. One child’s envelopes were consistently wet, possibly from sweat as he appeared visibly nervous.
The results, in a nutshell: When controls against cheating were applied, the blindfolded children who were trained in Brain Respiration performed no better in identifying the color of the cards than would be expected by chance, by simply guessing. The researchers found no evidence of paranormal ESP/HSP abilities.
Interesting aside: I asked Dr. Briggs for his opinion on why the children would be willing to cheat, and he said maybe because "it looks like fun, and they want to please the adults and fit in with the group. There is always tremendous applause whenever a kid demonstrates HSP, a lot of candy, praise, happiness."
Note: Although Dr. Briggs and Dr. Sung W. Lee were instructors/researchers with Weill Cornell Medical College, they conducted this experiment as independents, not under the auspices of Cornell. The information I provided here about this study was reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Briggs.
1/3/2009 Update: Professor Briggs explains the ESP/HSP experiment he conducted in a detailed five part essay on his blog, dated January 9, 2009: "The MIT Dahn Yoga Brain Respiration Experiment."
Some pertinent quotes from Dr. Briggs' blog report: [Note: content added 1/2010.]
"Dr S. Lee got involved, a couple of years earlier, with Dr Ilchi Lee (no relation), KIBS, and Dahn Yoga. As part of an official experiment he was conducting at Cornell, Dr S. Lee was teaching adults Dahn Yoga to measure their improvement in various quality of life measures. Sung had many close social associations with other members of Dahn Yoga."
[...] "I also suggested [to Dr. Sung W. Lee] that, if I was right, and brain respiration was false, then KIBS was doing the kids harm by encouraging their cheating and subjecting them to stressful situations that they might not understand. This warning fell, as it’s said, on deaf ears."
[...] "A reporter, either present at the MIT trial, or who had heard about it contacted Cornell’s Public Relations department. The reporter was concerned because there were rumors that Dahn Yoga was a cult. I did not know about these accusations before the experiment."
[...] "I was subsequently contacted by Lorie Anderson, who runs [a link to this site], which compiled evidence of Dahn Yoga’s less laudatory practices. I assured Miss Anderson, and my boss, that we ran the MIT [ESP] experiment unofficially, and that we did not involve Cornell’s name except to give our affiliations for the record. Sung also assured the Public Relations department and our boss of the same thing. This was accepted.
"But it was further discovered by officials at Cornell that Sung was running and planning experimental medical trials which used Dahn Yoga as a treatment. His interactions with the Cornell hierarchy became more acrimonious and he, about two months after the MIT experiment, resigned from the Cornell faculty."
Note: To date, 1/2010, I have not seen this failed HSP/ESP experiment mentioned on any Dahn-related website.
A doctor of...?
Using the honorific "Dr." conjures an image of several challenging years of post graduate study and licensing exams (although this is not always the case). I wondered, is Dr. Ilchi Lee a medical doctor? Did he earn a PhD from an accredited institution? Afterall, he speaks of healing and curing ailments with his powers and his programs; he has founded research centers and has authored research studies. He has convened international symposiums for prestigious doctors and researchers, and he founded a university in Korea that grants its own masters and doctorate degrees (in the fields of his own profitable self-improvement programs: Brain Respiration and Dahnhak, or in "Peaceology.") He announced plans to start an "Ilchi Graduate College of Education" in the United States.
But, Ilchi Lee's websites don't tell us from where or in what subject Ilchi Lee earned a doctorate degree. The closest I could find on his websites to a description of his formal education is this:
"Dr. Ilchi Lee majored in Clinical Pathology in college, in addition to gaining degrees in Physical Education and Oriental Medicine."
A quick read of this statement might convey that Dr. Lee is a doctor of Clinical Pathology (laboratory medicine), with additional degrees in PE and Oriental Medicine. But the statement is actually cryptic.
It doesn't say he graduated with a doctorate in Clinical Pathology. We don't know if he changed his major at some point, or withdraw from the college, or what? Is his reported doctorate in PE, or perhaps in Oriental Medicine, which could raise other questions, e.g. regarding reputation and accreditation of the school?
So, we (the public) ask for the facts, which is not much to ask of someone whose name, Ilchi, implies that he directs us to the truth: What is Dr. Lee's educational background? On what basis are we to understand that Ilchi Lee is a "doctor?"
"A GOOGLE RESEARCHER attempted to answer someone who asked the same question, and the researcher presents an interesting response at "Google Answers."
1/29/05 UPDATE: A formerly active Korean website of Ilchi Lee's listed this: (translated from Korean): "1999: Graduated California United States Yuin University with a doctorate in Eastern/Herbal medicine."
[Note: Yuin University in Compton California is state-approved but not accredited. Click on the Google link above to read some concerns raised in the past about Yuin University.]
5/18/06 UPDATE: March 15, 2006 Albuquerque article reported: "Lee is often referred to as Dr. Lee for his two honorary degrees: one in the philosophy of health education from a Korean university, the other in Oriental medicine and acupuncture from South Baylo University in California, Connors [Dahn spokesperson] said.
5/14/07 UPDATE: A 2007 Dahn website, www.IlchiLee.com, reports: "EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: As an undergraduate student at Dan-Kuk University of Seoul, Korea, Ilchi Lee majored in Clinical Pathology and Physical Education, which resulted in a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977. After graduation, he actively pursued independent study of human physiology and consciousness, from both the Eastern and Western perspectives. Consequently, two honorary doctoral degrees have been conferred on him, one from Yuin University of Los Angeles in 1999, and a second from South Baylo University of Los Angeles in 2005."
[Note: FYI, a short definition of "clinical pathology": "laboratory medicine that includes analysis of specimens such as urine and blood."]
[Note added 7/25/2009. To this day, while South Baylo's masters program is approved, the accrediting agency, ACAOM, does not list South Baylo University as one of their (pilot) approved doctorate program - in spite of South Baylo University's website reporting that it is. Moreover, "the ACAOM's accreditation of doctoral programs is a pilot program, as their "doctoral program reviews are not currently within ACAOM scope of recognition with the U.S. Secretary of Education." Furthermore, "Seung Heun Lee, PhD" is listed as a member of South Baylo University's Board of Trustees. [1/2010 UPDATE: His name is no longer listed there.]
Bottom line: Seung Heun (Ilchi) Lee does not have a PhD or advanced medical degree, and his claimed honorary doctorate degrees did not come from accredited doctorate programs recognized by the United States Department of Education. (Not having such accreditation should not be interpreted to mean it's a "diploma mill" but some other sources may reveal as much.)
The Korea Institute of Brain Science (KIBS) -- objective studies?
"Changes in EEG of Children During Brain Respiration-Training," published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2002, and "Spatio-temporal Pattern of EEG in Young Brain Respiration-training Children," published winter 2001. These studies were conducted by the Department of Brain Science at The Korean Research Institute for New Human Science, Seoul.
THE FACT IS, Ilchi (Seung Heun) Lee founded and directs The Korean Research Institute for New Human Science research center, which is now known as the Korea Institute for Brain Science (KIBS). Seung Heun Lee himself is listed as one of the researchers for these studies.
Another study, described on Ilchi Lee's Healing Plaza website: "The Effects of Brain Respiration on Stress Hormone Secretion," is reported as published by The Korean Society of New Human Science Journal.
THE FACT IS, The Korean Society of New Human Science is Ilchi Lee's organization.
Ilchi Lee and KIBS cannot be regarded as objective and independent researchers of their own brainchild, Brain Respiration.
Korea Institute of Brain Science fails to see the light: (This section added 5/21/06)
Findings of two blindfolded "seeing" experiments conducted by Ilchi Lee's Korea Institute of Brain Science easily suggest leaky blindfolds, but the experimenters fail to acknowledge this and, in fact, go on to claim these studies as evidence of extra ("heightened") sensory perception resulting from Ilchi Lee's "HSP" training (aka "Brain Respiration," "Dahnhak," "Power Brain Yoga," "Body & Brain," "Brain Education," etc.)
Two KIBS abstracts posted online at blackwellpublishing.com, "THE EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LUMINANCE ON COLOUR PERCEPTION IN HEIGHTENED SENSORY PERCEPTION (HSP) TRAINED CHILDREN" and "STIMULUS INTENSITY DEPENDENCE OF COLOUR PERCEPTION BY HEIGHTENED SENSORY PERCEPTION (HSP) TRAINED CHILDREN" reported finding that two HSP-trained test subjects performed significantly worse on blindfolded identification of colored cards when the lights were turned off and when filters were placed in front of the colored cards. The greater the filtering of the colored cards, the worse the subjects' performance.
The experimenters reported in the above abstracts: "...there is greater perception of colour with environmental luminance than without for HSP trained children," and "The results support the findings from our previous experiments (), and further demonstrate that when the amount of visual information available is reduced by the filters the performance becomes less consistent and then performance declines significantly."
The fact is, all humans normally require light for the cones in our eyes to detect color, and our ability to identify color will decline with less light.
Now, if they had found no diminished accuracy or greater accuracy in color identification in spite of truly blindfolded conditions with no light and/or objects obscured with filters, that would have been interesting, but these researchers found the opposite. Light would presumably not be necessary if the subjects were truly blindfolded and able to "see" colors on cards without using their eyesight.
Still, the experimenters conclude that the subjects scored better than chance (i.e. guessing) in identifying the cards' colors, with and without light. Are these scientists too blinded by their own biases from seeing the obvious implications of the subjects' diminished ability to see color in the absence of light, that the subjects were using their eyesight?
It just takes one very small pinhole or gap to see through or around a blindfold, a very credible likelihood in this experiment, especially in light of this research's findings.
A million dollar prize beckons Ilchi Lee/KIBS to demonstrate their blindfolded-seeing claims through the James Randi Education Foundation.
UC Irvine scientist says the term "pseudoscience" is too generous:
EXCERPT from August 7, 2005 article originally published in the NY Journal News by Shawn Cohen:
Though he calls himself a doctor, Lee has no medical degree —only an honorary doctorate from a California university.
Critics question his claim that "brain respiration" increases brain functioning and induces "hyper-sensory perception."
"Pseudoscience would actually be a generous term for what they do," said Brian Cummings, a scientist at the University of California at Irvine, where Lee gave a demonstration two years ago. "The real term should be that this is a cult or religion of some sort."
At the university's Institute for Brain Aging, Lee attempted to demonstrate the power of brain respiration by holding up cards and having his child "trainees" see through them and identify objects on the back side. It didn't work, Cummings said.
"He was there for two reasons: One, to advertise that he was invited to give a lecture at UC Irvine so he could have an official brochure saying he went there and, second, to convince us that there's something to this brain respiration and that we should study it," he said. "It was just silly."
Are Ilchi Lee's "BRAIN EDUCATION" programs (i.e. Brain Respiration; Brain Wave Vibration) cutting edge science or pseudoscience?
Dahn created a video explaining the purported scientific basis for their brain-based program ("Brain Education"), called "The Secret of Brain Wave Vibration." While it might sound scientific to many, I don't see anything resembling science in this video.
Links to critical reports about brain-based, neuroscience-based educational programs:
Brain-Training Products Useless in Study," by Dr. Steven Novella, neurologist; Science-Based Medicine, April 21, 2010. The Myths and Promises of the Learning Brain" by Kurt Fischer, Harvard Graduate School of Education, December 1, 2004. "Brain exercises are 'waste of time'- Professor says that nobody should be fooled by 'dangerous' myths about boosting creativity Buzz up!" by Paul Kelbie, The Observer, November 23, 2008. "Uncovering 'Brainscams' - In which the authors debunk myths concerning the three-pound organ inside our head," by Scott O. Lilienfeld and Hal Arkowitz, Scientific American Mind, Feb. 08, 2008. "Neuroscience and education: from research to practice?" by Usha Goswami, Nature Reviews Neuroscience | AOP, published online 12 April 2006; doi:10.1038/nrn1907. [Excerpt: "Owing to placebo effects, these programmes may indeed bring benefits to children in the short term. However, such programmes are unlikely to yield benefits in the long term, and so many will naturally fall out of use."] "Brain-Based Education" - Summary Principles of Brain-Based Research and Critiques of Brain-Based Education, by Bruce McCandliss, 2003. [Quote: "...some scientists 'cautioned educators to resist the temptation to … use neuroscience as a propaganda tool to promote a pet program' (Taher, p. 5). At this same meeting Joseph LeDoux, a prominent psychologist and neuroscientist, warned that 'these ideas are very easy to sell to the public, but it's too easy to take them beyond their actual basis in science.'"] "Do We Use Only 10% of Our Brain?" Website by Dr. Eric H. Chudler; Dept. Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. "The Ten-Percent Myth." Article by Benjamin Radford at CSICOP Online. Relevant Articles from The Skeptic's Dictionary, published by Robert Todd Carroll: "Energy Healing: Looking in All the Wrong Places" "Alpha Waves" "Altered States of Consciousness" "Brain Gym® (educational kinesiology)" (Ilchi Lee's Brain Education and Brain Wave Vibration are of the same ilk. Brain Gym's founder finally admitted his methods were not based on scientific findings as he had claimed.)
Did the 2000 Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders (held at the United Nations building) recognize Seung Heun Lee as one of fifty preeminent world religious leaders? [Section edited and updated 3/2010]
Quote from Lee's Healing Society website (similarly stated on other Dahn affiliated websites): "2000: On August 28th, Ilchi Lee was recognized as one of the fifty preeminent spiritual leaders in the world, at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, in the United Nations."
Not so fast.
Here it is, straight from the mouth of Bawa Jain, the Secretary General of the 2000 Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, in an interview by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) for a March 2010 investigative report(accessed online at Dailymotion.com):
"Most certainly he was not one of the fifty most important religious leaders in the world; absolutely not."
... "Certainly because he had been kind to us, generous to us, we were asked if he could offer a brief prayer, and we accepted."
... "Send a message from me to Mr. Lee: 'Mr Lee, Mr. Bawa Jain says please come out and clarify."
The first two days of this historic August 2000 event were held at the UN building in the General Assembly hall, but the UN did not officially organize or sponsor the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders.
The official Summit website does not provide a list of the top most important religious/spiritual leaders in attendance, or in the world, but rather refers to "two thousand of the world's preeminent religious and spiritual leaders" who were invited or attended the Summit. The official site does mention several especially prominent religious/spiritual leaders and groups that were invited or who attended, but Seung Heun Lee's name is not included among them. Seung Heun Lee is present in a group photo of about 45 attendees, and he did offer an interfaith prayer at the Summit.
While this was an historic interfaith event of immense proportions, those in attendance did not include all the world's preeminent religious leaders. Many did not attend the Summit for various reasons, e.g. the organizers did not invite the Dalai Lama to the UN activities under pressure from the Chinese government; the Pope did not attend; Archbishop Desmond Tutu protested that it was "bizarre" to not invite the Dalai Lama; and evangelical Christians complained of gross underrepresentation, etc.
Seung Heun Lee's Healing Society website stated that an organization that Seung Heun Lee founded with Neale Donald Walsch (of "Conversations with God" fame) was a sponsor of the Summit: ... "The New Millennium Peace Foundation (NMPF) was a proud sponsor of the recently concluded Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders opening held at the United Nations from August 28th to 31st."
In sum: It appears that Seung Heun Lee had provided some kind of material and/or financial contribution (sponsorship) to the Summit; he requested (or someone asked on his behalf) to offer a prayer to the assembly. He presented the prayer; he was photographed with a relatively small group of attendees; and he then proclaimed that the Summit recognized him as one of fifty preeminent world religious leaders. Ten years later (2010), the Secretary General of the Summit, Bawa Jain, openly refuted this contention in a Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) interview, indicating that Seung Heun Lee leads a new religious movement and not one of the larger established S. Korean faith groups; he has called for Mr. Lee to come out and clarify his contention.
The likeness is uncanny, and Alison Bourne is not happy about it!
Ilchi Lee's "Healing Chakra" product (copyright November 2002) looks suspiciously like Alison Bourne's previously patented (UK patent October 2000) and published (February 2002) "Colour Breathing" package.
Watch for updates to my webpage.
LINKS TO OTHER CAUTIONARY COMMENTARIES ON THIS TOPIC:
Legal documents regarding cases against Dahn (those I found, accessible to the public online):
2002 Lawsuit brought by a former Dahn member/Dahn Center operator against Seung Heun Ilchi Lee and associates alleging "indoctrination and brainwashing" leading to her divorce and to coercion to engage in sexual relations with the Dahn founder, among other charges. It appears the case was settled out of court. To view all public documents filed in that case, go to Alameda County Superior Court Public Access page, Click on "DomainWeb: Access to General Civil, Family Law, and Probate Cases." Then, click on "Case Summary." Then, enter case # AG2002068156. (01/08/2010 UPDATE: That access may have been permanently disabled.) July 11, 2005. Copy of the $84 million civil complaint against Seung Heun Lee and Dahn related corporations alleging wrongful death of Julia Siverls, Dahn Healer School trainee.[The allegation, per summons: "Dr. Siverls was drugged and killed by the Dahn Hak Cult during a Masters 'training' retreat at the Dahn Hak Cult's headquarters in Sedona, Arizona on July 12, 2003."] 4/8/09 NEW (to me) info on the Siverls lawsuit: November 13, 2006, Memorandum and Order of the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. Judgment for the Defendants regarding NY's jurisdiction over the Siverls' lawsuit. [In sum, as I understand it, the plaintiffs failed to show that NY had jurisdiction over this case, as the plaintiffs did not show to the court's satisfaction that Ilchi Lee and (most of) the other named Dahn entities had a business presence in NY nor that Ilchi Lee and the other defendants exercised any management control over Dahn Center activities in NY. [Interesting, to me, is that the judge refers to Ilchi Lee as "Dr." Lee.] 9/3/08 UPDATE - Case Dismissed or settled? According to Wikipedia's article on Ilchi Lee, the $84 million complaint filed on 7/11/05 against Seung Heun Lee and Dahn related corporations for Wrongful Death, on behalf of Dr. Julia Siverls was "dismissed" on August 1, 2008. 01/08/2010 UPDATE: The attorney for the plaintiffs has indicated in online media reports that the case was settled out of court. (Note: Without seeing the documents myself, I propose the probability that perhaps some Dahn entities were dismissed from the case on jurisdictional grounds while other entities may have settled out of court.) NEW!Lawsuit filed May 22, 2009 (Case 2:09-cv-01115-SRB) in Arizona U.S. Circuit Court on behalf of 27 formerly devoted Dahn "Masters" against Seung Heun (Ilchi) Lee and associated corporations alleging, among other things: Fraud in the inducement; undue influence; intentional infliction of emotional harm; unfair business practices and including "sexual assault" in one case. [01/08/2010 UPDATE: According to a Dahn website: "...on November 3, Judge Susan Bolton dismissed 8 out of 10 of the claims in the current lawsuit which applies to 26 out of 27 of the plaintiffs." According to other sources, such as Campbell Brown's CNN broadcast (2010), the court gave the plaintiffs some time to present their case again.] NEW!Complaint filed February 16, 2010 in UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA (Alexandria Division) by former Dahn "master" Andrew H. Myers. Excerpt from a 2/19/2010 Press Release: "Myers' lawsuit asserts violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, as well as claims for fraud, unjust enrichment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress."
Discovery Channel Videotape:
"Best Kept Secrets of Mysterious Societies - VHS" (Segment on Dahnhak is about 5 minutes.) Quote from the video advertisement: "Go inside several secret societies, including Danhak Tao – the mysterious Korean organization. On the surface it appears to be a popular, new age fitness club; but behind this facade lurks a darker secret that some say involves cult-like coercion and mind control." 2000.
James Randi's Commentaries:
October 1, 2004: "More Korean Psychics" November 19, 2004: "A New Moon" November 26, 2004: "Expensive Turtle" December 10, 2004: "The Situation in Korea," from a Korean resident. December 17, 2004: "Ilchi Lee revisited" (re: scientific proof)
NewDahn.com/usa Documents translated into English from Korean are provided as questions and serious concerns are raised. [This site is sometimes unavailable.]
[12/07 Note: A couple of Korea-based sites have incorrectly attributed a long comment to me, Lorie Anderson, that starts: "I'd like to clear something up about Dahnhak and I intend to do it in an unbiased way!..."]
The Rick A. Ross Institute (Search Group Information Database for "Dahn Yoga") Steven Alan Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center. Apologetics Index - Apologetics Research Resources on religious movements, cults, sects, world religions and related issues. (Scroll down past the ads to see the content.) "Dahn World and Ilchi Lee Discussion Board," Korean based site with some articles/discussion posts in English. NEW"NoDahnCult.com" A broad variety of critical commentaries about Dahn; links; and discussion forum. Since 2009.
Online News/Media Reports critical of Dahn:
"Brain Sensitising," by Ben Goldacre, The Guardian - Bad Science, October 28, 2004. "Guardian Reporter Unquestioningly Promotes Cult Therapy," The Daily Ablution, December 7, 2004. [Note: Original article was archived.) "More on Guardian Promoted Cult; Terence Blacker Responds," The Daily Ablution, December 8, 2004. (Note: Original article was archived.) "Is Brain Respiration yet another New Age-y hoax, or what?" AskMetafilter.com question and comments, December 7, 2004. "Stepping Into the Dahn -- I believed Seung Heun Lee was the key to enlightenment – until I started asking questions," NowToronto.com magazine, March 31-April 6 issue, 2005. "Dahnhak sued after member dies trying to master art," by Shawn Cohen, The Journal News, NY, 8-7-2005. (12/07 note: Original link no longer available; now linked to same article at Rickross.com.) "How yoga class got personal," by Shawn Cohen, The Journal News, NY, 8-7-2005. (12/07 note: Original link no longer available; now linked to same article at Rickross.com.) "Holistic Horror Lawsuit," by David Hafetz and Philip Recchia, NY Post Online Edition, 9-4-2005. (Link to article at Rickross.com.) "I-Team Investigates Yoga Club That Some Call A Cult; Group Promises Peace, Healing through Yoga," by Joe Bergantino. CBS Channel 4, Boston, Massachusetts, February 3, 2006. (Video clip and transcript no longer available on CBS4; link to transcript republished on Rickross.com.) "Critics Compare Dahn Yoga to Cult," by Morgan Loew. CBS News, KPHO Channel 5, Phoenix, Arizona, February 7, 2006. (7/06 Note: This article is no longer available on KPHO's website, but is posted at Religionnewsblog.com.) PART 1 "Yoga Cult: An I-Team Investigation," by George Knapp. CBS affiliate, KLASTV Channel 8, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23, 2006. (video clip and article.) PART 2 "Yoga Cult: An I-Team Investigation," by George Knapp. CBS affiliate, KLASTV Channel 8, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 24, 2006. (An article only.) "Dahn Yoga Stretches into Controversy," and "Mountain enlightenment leads to yoga empire"by Maggie Shepard, Tribune Reporter, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 15, 2006. Reprinted by religionnewsblog.com. "Media spotlight grows brighter on Dahn Hak," Cult News from Rick Ross - A news perspective with analysis from cult expert Rick Ross, 03-16-06. "UNM Club Recruiting for Cult," Daily Lobo, University of New Mexico - Independent student newspaper, March 23, 2006 issue. (Click on title under News/Student; free registration required.) "Letter: Body and Brain article misrepresents student," Opinion section, Daily Lobo, University of New Mexico, March 27, 2006. "Dahn Hak: Yoga Program Or Dangerous Con? Some Say Controversial Yoga Program Is A Dangerous Con ..." video investigative report by Pam Zekman; CBS Channel 2 News, Chicago, May 22, 2006. "Dahn Yoga Questioned After Woman's Death -Specialized Yoga Described By Some As Cult," WFSB Channel 3 Eyewitness News, Connecticut, UPDATED June 7, 2006. Detailed article about Julia Siverls' death at Dahn "Fatal Trek - The mysterious desert death of a Brooklyn yoga devotee" by Kathryn Belgiorno, Village Voice - NYC Life, July 11, 2006. Comment on this article here: "Your Turn: Anyone Done Dahn?" Read Dahn's spokesperson's (Charlotte Connors) letter to the editor, "Great frustration," and the reporter's reply. "Dahn Hak: Korean Spiritual Movement Claims to Have “Ki” to Global Enlightenment," CHRISTIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE (originally published by the Christian Research Journal) by Holly Pivec, August 28, 2006. [Note: This article reports that the Julia Siverls case was "dismissed" by the NY Supreme Court in September 2005 when actually the case was sent to Federal court where, according to Wikipedia's article on Ilchi Lee, the case was dismissed on August 1, 2008.] "The New Fallsview - Allegations Regarding Business Practices Surround New Ownership," by Stefan Spezio; Ellenville Journal; November 23, 2006. "Group Buys Ellenville Hotel," recordonline.com, from the Times Herald Record: serving New York"s Hudson Valley and the Catskills, December 7, 2006. And, Letter/commentary from close Dahn affiliate Michael McCann, Sedona, AZ. "The Other Side of Enlightenment," by Catherine Elton; Boston Magazine, August, 2007. (Read the comments also.) "September 7th declared special day by San Francisco mayor to honor “cult leader”, by Rick Ross; Cult News from Rick Ross, September 7, 2007. "Newsom Honors Cult With Its Own Day," by Matt Smith; San Francisco Weekly.com Blogs - The Snitch; September 18, 2007. "Dahn Yoga: Path to Enlightenment or Religious Cult?" by Jennifer Claerr; Associated Content: The People's Media Company, published October 15, 2007. "New Questions About a Controversial Yoga Group,"investigative report by Joe Ducey, ABC15.com, KNXV-TV, Phoenix, Arizona; transcript republished by Cult Awareness + Information Center. "Dahn Yoga Centers Accused of Questionable Business Practices"Fox News Investigation by Mark Saxenmeyer; available on Google Video, February 20, 2008. "Bad Vibes? Officials backpedal from 'brain-training' endorsement,"by Corey Pein; The Santa Fe Reporter newspaper; 03/18/2009. [Quotes: "City spokeswoman Laura Banish says Coss doesn’t recall signing the proclamation, though it bears his signature. 'This was done, I would say, inadvertently,' Banish says." [...] "Denish Chief of Staff Joshua Rosen says a 'certificate of recognition' was issued by a junior staffer, following an email request from former Secretary of State Stephanie Gonzales. In no way, shape or form does the lieutenant governor (of New Mexico) endorse this system,' Rosen says."] "Brain Wave [Vibration] Education Draws Heady Praise in D.C.," by Brigid Schulte, Washington Post, March 21, 2009. [Quote: "Lee's followers approached local governments seeking to have their method of brain vibrating validated by official declaration."] "Suit against Dahn Yoga alleges ‘psychological manipulation,’"ABC15 investigative report by John Ducey, 2009. Transcript, video, link to previous video report, link to legal complaint, and visitor comments. "Dahn Yoga Centers Called an Abusive Cult," article on Courthousenews.com by Jamie Ross, May 28, 2009. "Yoga Group Accused Of Coercion, Sex Assault" - transcript and video, by Beth Germano, WBZTV 38, Boston, June 11, 2009. "Lawsuit Claims Dahn Yoga Is A Cult And A Con" - transcript and video, by Pam Zeckman, CBS2 Chicago, Jun 17, 2009. "Rape Claim Against Yoga Guru," News Brief by Corey Pein, the Santa Fe Reporter (SFR) June 10, 2009. NEW RELATED PIECE: "Dahn Yoga Supporters Respond To SFR Item On Claims Against Founder,"reporter responds to Dahn supporter comments, by Corey Pein, the Sante Fe Reporter (SFR), June 16, 2009. "Former Members Claim Dahn Yoga Harmful,Hurtful." Video and transcript, reported by Sue Kwon, CBS 5, San Francisco, California. Jun 22, 2009. NEW! "Marin lawyer accuses yoga group of being a cult," San Francisco Chronicle online feature "Scavenger," posted by Aileen Yoo, June 23 2009. Article brief and visitor comments. NEW! "Former employees suing Dahn Yoga and Health Centers," by Laura Nelson, MercuryNews.com, June 23, 2009. Dahn responds to an article published by the Korean Arizona Times (article in Korean only). June 17, 2009. [Letter to the Editor by Joseph Alexander, Spokesperson and Vice President-Communications, Dahn Yoga & Health Centers Inc. - places the blame for the lawsuit on one plaintiff, saying that "after over 1 year of coercing others, she assembled 23 friends as followers."] "24 Sue Dahn Yoga, Calling It Cult - Dahn Yoga Accused Of Fraud, Brainwashing," article and video report, KPHO Phoenix, AZ. July 14, 2009. "Dahn Yoga: Body, Brain and Wallet," article by Kai Falkenberg, Forbes Magazine dated August 03, 2009. Subtitle: "The Dahn Yoga Centers don't sell ordinary yoga lessons. They captivate their customers." Posted at Forbes.com on July 15, 2009. "Forbes Picks Up On Dahn Yoga Lawsuit (Updated)", Posted by: Corey Pein, The Sante Fe Reporter (SFR), July 16, 2009. [Includes e-mail response from Dahn spokesperson saying new information regarding illegal and unethical activities of the plaintiffs will soon be communicated calling their credibility into question.] "Un-Dahn," Editor's Desk, posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Aug 25, 2009. [The editor of this California paper expressed regret for endorsing Dahn Yoga. Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga of Mountain View commented on her proclamation of Brain Education Day.] "Cult Program in NYC Schools," by Yoav Gonen, Education Reporter, New York Post. November 9, 2009. "The Scary Yoga Obsession," by Catherine Elton, A Glamour Magazine exclusive, Glamour.com. December 9, 2009. NEW! "Lawsuit alleges yoga chain a 'high-demand cult" by Campbell Brown, CNN. January 5, 2010. Article based on a 3-part series broadcast on CNN January 5, 6, and 7, along with numerous comments both defending and supporting Dahn and Ilchi Lee. View these segments on YouTube. [Excerpt of interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta regarding Dahn's programs as treatments for ailments: "It is probably a little bit dangerous because people may not get their actual treatment that could work that could be beneficial." Excerpt of interview with Dahn attorney and spokesperson, Joseph Alexander: "We do not have scientific evidence but we do have the anectodal reports from our members that their pain has disappeared or diminished."] Interesting to me is that they would lack scientific studies to back their claims yet Seung Heun Lee (Ilchi Lee) operates brain science research institutes, such as the Korea Institute of Brain Science (formerly Korean Research Institute for New Human Science), Ilchi Center for Applied Research, BR Research Institute (now defunct?), IBREA ("sponsors and conducts research on the brain and Brain Education," says a Dahn website), and the Brain Education University in Korea. NEW! "Mago zoning matter draws a huge crowd but no resolution" by Jon Hutchinson, Staff Reporter, Verdenews.com, December 21, 2009. "Mago statue a towering presence in Verde Valley" by Jon Hutchinson,Staff Reporter, Verdenews.com, December 11, 2009. Includes links to many related letters to the editor and comments. NEW! ,"Earth Park must take down Mago statue," by Jon Hutchinson; January 26, 2010. NEW! "Letter: Somebody Missed the Mother Ship," CVBugle.com, Camp Verde, Arizona area news. January 7, 2010. NEW! "Defending their Honor - Local Resort's Parent Company Sued, Alleged to be 'Cult" by Brian Rubin, Shawangunk Journal (formerly Ellenville Journal); January 14, 2010. NEW! "Dahn Yoga Controversy," news video produced by Healthvideo.com; broadcast on NBC11 News, Bay Area, California; posted on redorbit.com. January 12, 2010. QUOTE: "It began as a path to serenity..." NEW! "Tao Fellowship faces land use violations," by Jon Hutchinson, Staff Reporter, Verdenews.com, February 3, 2010. NEW! "Mago Retreat hearing delayed," by Jon Hutchinson, Staff Reporter, Verdenews.com, February 6, 2010. NEW! "The Yoga Cult - A Greedy Guru and his New Age Creep Show," by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Original article published in Rolling Stone Magazine, Issue #1098, February 18, 2010. Original article no longer active; however excerpts and a link to cached version are provided by Freedom of Mind Center website. Excerpt from original article: "Inside the world of Dahn Yoga, a fanatical group led by a Korean guru that's part Moonies, part New Age boot camp — and pure profit." [Note: This 8 page expose is very detailed; includes many testimonials from former Dahn insiders; and is almost completely critical of Dahn. The ending is thought-provoking, if not disconcerting. The reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdelya, is a prolific, award winning investigative journalist who uses a non-fiction narrative style. Read more about this journalist HERE and HERE.] NEW! "Man Calls Yoga Centers Front for a Cult," by by Ryan Abbott, Courthouse News Service. February 22th, 2010. NEW! "Fraud, Racketeering Action Filed Against Dahn Yoga," Press Release on Forbes.com; SOURCE Holland & Knight Strategic Communications, for Andrew Myers. February 19, 2010. Excerpt: "Myers' lawsuit asserts violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, as well as claims for fraud, unjust enrichment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress." NEW! ‘He was sort of like a zombie,’ by Austin Danforth; Alexandria Times. March 12, 2010. Excerpt: “I want to help others who have been manipulated by Dahn Yoga,' Myers said in a written statement. 'I learned the hard way that contrary to their public statements, [Dahn Yoga] is not an organization dedicated to healthy exercise and lifestyle but one that operates a scheme that identifies vulnerable people and uses sophisticated techniques to defraud them." ... "In a written response to the civil complaint posted on the website dahnyogavoice.com, Joseph Alexander, the corporate spokesman for Dahn Yoga, said the company 'categorically denies the allegations,' calling it a 'copycat suit' to pending legal action in Arizona." NEW! "SBS Dahn Yoga Scandal 1-7," Dailymotion.com; video clips from a Seoul Broadcasting System investigative report; March 2010. [A Korean broadcast, but some dialogue is in English.] NEW! "Dahn Yoga Founder Ilchi Lee Resigns Amid Suits Alleging Brain Washing and Sex Abuse," Forbes blog post On the Docket, by Kai Falkenberg (Forbes' editorial counsel). April 6, 2010. NEW! "Yoga That's Not So Mainstream" by Virginia Prescott; an audio interview with Rolling Stones article reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely. April 20, 2010. NEW! "Dahn Yoga allegations move forward in court," by Michael Maresh, Sedona Red Rock News. October, 27, 2010. [Quote: "Eight of the 10 allegations dismissed against Sedona businessman and Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee and others by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton in November 2009 have been reinstated."] NEW! "Tao Fellowship hearing set Tuesday in Prescott," by Jon Hutchinson, Staff Reporter. November 21, 2010. NEW! Tao Fellowship agrees to land use stipulation" by Jon Hutchinson, Staff Reporter. December 21, 2010. NEW! "Guru Steps Down," In Brief, by Corey Pein, Santa Fe Reporter online. April 2010. [Mentions the Korean SBS investigative television report.] NEW! "The final strains," Haaretz.com, January 11, 2011. Introduction: "What led the brilliant violinist Matan Givol to throw himself in front of a moving train? Was it the physical pain, or coping with his father's death, that doomed the Tel Aviv wunderkind? Or was it his involvement with the controversial Dahn yoga movement in the U.S.?"
Critical Blog Commentaries and Reviews
"cults and zen," "Dahn Hak Qigong: Cult or Plantary Salvation" Healing Tao USA Discussion, 2005 and 2006. DEAD LINK "Cult of Personality," 3/11/2005. "CRON Diary," 5-16-05. For subsequent commentaries by this Blogger about Dahn (and her readers' comments), see 12/2 and 12/6, 2005, and 1/12, 2006. DEAD LINK "Dahn't: A Look Back in Anger," 10-5-05. "Dahn Hak in Town?" Sarah's Blog, 10-13-05. "World of Trouble." Scroll down to: "You Have to Be Kidding Me," 10-27-05. DEAD LINK "Completely Geeked. Scroll down to: "On Corporate Yoga," 12-23-05. DEAD LINK "The Skinny on Being Skinny," Blogger journalistically shares her Body and Brain Yoga/Dahn Yoga experience and opinions. Search her 2005 archives for 9/15, 10/1-18, 11/15,17,19, and 12/1 posts and visitor comments. DEAD LINK Scroll to: "Pseudoscience, Pseudocult?," Blog: Welcome To The Sanctum Sanctorum, August, 2005. "Damn, I almost got snagged by yet another cult," message posted on HolySmoke.com, November 27, 2005. "Dahn Yoga - A Cult?!" Blogger: "Lady Cutie Troublemaker" shares her impression, February 3, 2006. Blogger: "Dahn Member" includes content of a "1999 Story," written by a former Dahn Master and a press release issued by Kim Jiha, renowned Korean poet (both originally posted by www.newdahn.com/usa). "How much does 'Dahn Yoga' classes cost?" "Yahoo! Answers" (closed to new answers), January 2006. "Dahn is a cult," Blogger, "woman," invites comments about Dahn. Started May, 2006. "A New Way to Spend Your Disposable Income," Blog: Ministones. June 3, 2006. "Dahn Hak be Damned," Blogger: Guruphiliac. July 13, 2006. (Click on "Show Original Post") "Dahn Cult," Blog: Goddess in the City. July 17, 2006. DEAD LINK "how i almost joined a cult last night," a MySpace blog, July 27, 2006. "Dahn Hak Yoga Cult" Blogger: "Ohmtastic," March 1, 2006, with many comments 2006-2007. "Dahn Yoga: What You Should Know," commentary and comments on Brooklyn Heights Blog, January 23, 2007. "Dahn Hak Center User Reviews," on Houston.citySearch.com, reviews from June 12, 2006. "no critics allowed," Dahn Hak Center User Reviews, Houston.CitySearch.com, April 10, 2007. "Damn Yoga," a short cautionary post on GlideUnderground.com, April 19, 2007. "Dahn Yoga," HelloHouston.com, business review, February 27, 2007. "Dahn Yoga," consumer reviews; Yelp.com, Georgetown, Washington D.C.; July 9, 2007. "Zen & Fit Yoga," consumer reviews; Yelp.com, Brea, CA; 9/12/2006. "Dahn Yoga & Healing," consumer reviews: Yelp.com, Backbay, Boston, MA; 9/30/2006. "Dahn Yoga," consumer reviews; Yelp.com, Arlington, MA, 7/30/2006. "Dahn Yoga and Healing," consumer reviews; Yelp.com, Brookline, MA, 6/6/2007. "User Reviews for Dahn Yoga" on Houston.citysearch.com, 2007. "Dahn Yoga - Cult?" blog on Alibi.com. Words of caution offered by concerned former member's sister; Dec. 11, 2007. "Dahn Holistic Yoga," consumer reviews; Yelp.com, Newton Center, MA. March 2, 2008. "I Accidentally Joined a Cult" blog by The Life and Times of Clevergirl1. April 8, 2008. "Yoga in the Heights," A Brooklyn Life. [Read the comments.] 2007 - 2008. NEW! "Dahn Yoga’s hardsell is a turnoff," blog by Nikkeiview - The Asian-American Blog. March 22, 2008. Reader comments Sept. - Oct. 2008. NEW! "I Wonder if I Should Start Dahn Yoga," blog by Jessica. August 31, 2008. Reader comments Sept. - Oct. 2008. NEW! "Mago Earth Dahn Yoga Center," consumer reviews; Yelp.com; Mountain View, CA. December 12, 2008. NEW! "DAHN YOGA IS YOGA WITH A BAD NAME FROM KOREA," warning posted by Naturalhealthybody.com, 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga - a cult?" - question and comments posted on blogs.yogajournal.com. Yoga Journal; 2007. New posts 2008, 2009. NEW! "The MIT Dahn Yoga Brain Respiration Experiment." William M. Briggs, Statistician, Cornell University, NY, explains the experiment he conducted in a five part essay on his blog. January, 2009. NEW! "Is Dahn Yoga Linked to a Cult?" blog by Restlesslimbs, Squidoo.com, 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga Scandal Might Be Creepiest, Cultish Yet," a blog on Yogadork.com. June 4, 2009. NEW! "Brain Wave Vibration (pamphlet I got in Subway)," Facebook discussion on the pseudoscience of Ilchi Lee's "Brain Wave Vibration" claims. Started January, 2009. NEW! "DC Celebrates Pseudoscience," blog called "The Scientific Activist - Reporting from the Crossroads of Science and Politics," by Nick Anthis, "a graduate student and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford pursuing a D.Phil. (Oxford's equivalent of the Ph.D.) in biochemistry." [Nick criticizes a Washington D.C. Council decision to issue a Brain Education Day proclamation honoring Ilchi Lee, describes Lee's Brain Wave Vibration exercises as bizarre and his studies as pseudoscience. About a graph on Lee's Brain Science website, Nick says: "They also adjusted the graph axes in a way to make the data appear as favorable as possible."] NEW! "Open letter from Dahn Hak “baby” master to YEHA." [QUOTE: "When I first started going to the Body and Brain Club at UIC, I couldn’t believe how awesome the training and practice was." ... "Dahnhak uses a thought reform model borrowed from many other abusive cult organizations, and many of you are being subjected to ABUSIVE MIND CONTROL."] 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga's Distrubing [sic] Lawsuit Cites Sex and Toilet Water," commentary and comments, L.A. Mandala, Living LA Vida Yoga blog. June 12, 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga Alleged to be a Cult," Inner Light Outer Peace Yoga Blog, June 24, 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga," consumer reviews: Yelp.com, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA. 2008-2009. NEW! "NoDahnCult.com" A variety of critical commentaries about Dahn, e.g. "What's going on in Arizona with Korean AZ Times Newspapers?" and discussion board. NEW! "Dahn Yoga Controversy Continues," blog article by Kelly Golden on Yoga Basics website, plus visitor comments. July 2009. NEW! "The Woo Around Us: Dahn Yoga," Boston Skeptics. August 18th, 2009 by Jared. [Commentary and visitor comments, including about Ilchi Lee and Brain Education Days in Cambridge, MA, and about a Dahn Yoga Forum held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.] NEW! "Aggressively marketed enlightenment," [A Massachusetts blogger's list of what she viewed as influence techniques used during her first day at Dahn Yoga.], October 8, 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga & Healing," consumer reviews: Yelp.com, Boylston Street, Boston, MA. 2006-2009. [Excerpt: "This was a HARD sell, she asked over and over again... I repeatedly told her I was on a tight budget and she said they had PAYMENT PLANS and that it was worth it for the safety of my aura or something."] NEW! Dahn Hak,Dahn Yoga & Ilchi Lee," The JMS Cult Forum; forum discussion threads on Dahn. August 2009 - 2010. Watch the "Korea: Dahn Master in Training" video (scroll down to find the active one), posted 2010.[WARNING: Some might find this video clip very disturbing.] NEW! "Dahn Yoga Called “Cult” in Lawsuit," published by Dr. William M. Briggs, January 12, 2010. NEW! "Dahn-Yoga Touted “Peer-Reviewed Study” Stinks", published by Dr. William M. Briggs, PhD, January 19, 2010. NEW! "My experience with Dahn Yoga," Posted on "Enslaved Mind - political blog," January 15, 2010. [QUOTE: " I was indoctrinated, as much as my mind could have been, and I tell you straight up, it is scary." NEW! "Attack of the 39 Foot Woman!" Posted on Blogspot by Ellen Jo Knows. January 26, 2010. NEW! Part I - "Brainwashing or Enlightenment? A Memoir" Originally published in the 2006 edition of DDD Magazine. And, Part II - "This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven—the cult of Ilchi Lee," 4/26/2010. Articles on "The Three Wise Monkeys" NEW! "Dahn Yoga=Exploitation," Facebook group.
Online Forums and Discussion Boards:
Yoga.com; several discussion threads (Watch for newest Yoga.com posts for all subjects here): "dahn yoga exposed" "Dahn Yoga" "Shim sung (Dahn yoga)" "Dahn Yoga - always speak up!" "experience w/dahn yoga" "Dahn Yoga Experience" "Dahn Healing Institute" "Dahn Yoga Info" "Individual Energy Evaluation Test" "dahn yoga" "Dahn Yoga" "Just Joined Dahn Yoga" "Dahn Yoga or don't yoga" "Brainwashing a hoax?" "Dahn Yoga Experience, Seattle" "Dahn Yoga (Detroit area)" "Former Dahn Member" "Don't Make My Mistake" The Ross Institute's Cult Education Forums, search on "Dahn" and "Dahnhak." YogaBasics.com Click on "Connect," then "Discussion Forum," then "Types, Styles, and Schools," then "Dahn Yoga." Qigong Association Discussion Board, "Anyone got the scoop on the Healing Society-Dahn Institute?" (Note: Here is the archive for the previous discussion.) Dave's ESL Cafe - Korean Jobs Discussion Forum. Asian Mu do Message Board. On IE menu, click on "Edit," then "Find" on the term "Dahn." Pinecam.com "Dahn Yoga and Tai Chi Centers," Bullshido.net/com ("Fighting the BS in Martial Arts") forum. (Scroll down to see discussion.) "Damnit," posted on theflowingofthedao.com, 10-14-05. "Dahn We Now Our Creepy Yoga?" Discussion on AskMetafilter.com, October 19, 2005. "isn't this a high price for a yoga membership?" discussion thread on NYCityWeddings.com, started December, 2005. "Anyone experienced dahn yoga??" discussion topic at Allyoga.tribe, started April 8, 2006. "Dahn Hak Qigong Centers: Cult or Planetary Salvation? Healing Tao.com discussion forum; thread started April 14, 2006. "Dahn Yoga - Does anyone have personal experience with the Dahn Yoga center in Davis?..." discussion thread on LiveJournal.com - Davis Square; 2006. "Dahn Yoga on 23rd Avenue," discussion thread on Astorians .com, July 2006. "Is DAHN Yoga...a cult or a con?" Discussion on NexusCafe, The Reiki Cafe; started October 12, 2006. "Shim Sung Yoga Class this Weekend," and "The Dahn Yoga/Healing Society Cult"; Discussion forum on Freedom Crows Nest; March-July, 2007. July 2007 postings include a former Dahn devotee's emotional struggle in breaking away from the group. "Dahn," posted on FreedomCrowsNest.org by a former devotee of Dahn's Body and Brain club (aka Body & Brain club; aka YEHA; aka Phoenix Club, aka Dahn Yoga, etc., etc.); July 25, 2007. Quote: "peace be to my friends still caught in the spiders web." "Dahn Yoga - I need your advice," discussion thread on LiveJournal - Las Vegas Community; August 12, 2007. "Dahn Yoga," discussion topic at Allyoga.tribe, 2004 - 2007. "Dahn Yoga and O2 Yoga," discussion thread on LiveJournal.com - Davis Square; 2007. "What's going on with the Dahn Yoga place?", discussion thread on LiveJournal.com - Davis Square; 2007. "Dahn Yoga leaves Davis Square", discussion thread on LiveJournal.com - Davis Square; 2007. New! 2009 discussion: "Dahn Yoga and Tai-Chi Centers," Bullshido.net forums - new discussion 2008 - 2009. Includes report from former Dahn Masters; first new post entitled: "I know a thing or two about Dahn Yoga + Dahn Mu Do." NEW! 2009 cautionary messages at the Qigong Association Discussion Board. NEW! "Dahn Yoga is a Cult," [Quote: "I started this thread because my brother seems to be brainwashed by the Dahn Yoga organization."] Forum discussion on Realjock.com. Started June 11, 2009. NEW! "Dahn Yoga - Korean [sic] Coporate Cult," a thread on forums for SomethingAwful.com. Started March 14, 2010.
RELATED ONLINE CONTENT OF INTEREST
YouTube video: "How to Become a Cult Leader"
NEW! "Xenophon vows to pursue 'cults," article published by The Age, Australia, by MICHAEL BACHELARD; March 13, 2010. [EXCERPT: "Addressing a conference of cult survivors in Brisbane today, Senator Xenophon said the new motion might include a push for police to take criminal action against cults. Under this provision, cult leaders could be prosecuted for assault for causing psychological harm to their adherents."] "Welcome to the CULT TEST,"by Alleee and Franc's INSOLITOLOGY. "Cults in South Korea on the Rise," by Factnet. "How Cults Work," by Cultwatch.com. "How to Determine if a Group is a Destructive Cult," by Factnet (check out their links also). the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). "A Korean Skeptic's Report: New Ager-Occupied Territory." Center for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal (CSICOP). "Reader Michael Hopkins shares this with us," a letter published at James Randi's website illustrating how some children can be harmed by a paranormalistic upbringing. (Scroll down to see article.) "Research Demonstrating Harmful Effects From TM [Transcendental Meditation]," by www.behind-the-tm-facade.org. (I believe this article would apply to various types of meditation, not just to "TM." "Warning: Meditating May Be Hazardous to Your Health," by Sandy Brundage; originally published by the San Francisco Weekly on August 28, 2002; republished online by the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). "Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work," by Barry L. Beyerstein, Ph.D. "A Greasy Psychic Is Cleaned Up." Scroll to "A brief report from Korea," about metal coin-sticking. James Randi Educational Foundation archive, February 21, 2003.
OTHER COMMENTARIES BY LORIE ANDERSON:
"The Vaccine War," produced by Frontline, PBS Broadcasting. [I was honored to be interviewed for this important documentary, as my community (Ashland, Oregon) has an alarmingly low vaccination rate: "It's an outbreak waiting to happen." My proverbial 15 minutes of fame consists of about 1 minute, in the first segment.] Indigo - The Color of Money Bert Hellinger's "Movements of the Soul" Therapy Applied/Specialized Kinesiology; Applied Neurogenics DID JAMES TWYMAN REALLY SPONSOR, ESTABLISH, OR FUND A CHILDREN'S HOME IN IRAQ? Pre-diabetes Exploding Toastmaster Toaster Oven "Children are not Colorblind," Letter to Editor, Ashland Daily Tidings, November 14, 2006. [Note: The paper entitled it: "Methods to Block Racism."] "A Cheerleader's UNbelievable Flu Vaccine Reaction" - Applying Critical Analysis column. December, 2009. "Transmit the Facts to Radiate Calm," - Applying Critical Analysis column. September, 2010. "My Response about the Gardasil Vaccine for HPV," Applying Critical Analysis column. November, 2010.
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