Spirituality Maynooth Event contacts for last minute booking

Maynooth conference on new religions in Ireland Friday and Saturday

Interdisciplinary conference on alternative spiritualities, the New Age

and new religious movements in Ireland: Maynooth, 30 – 31st Oct 2009

The largest ever gathering of academic expertise on new religious movements in

Ireland will take place in Maynooth next weekend. The conference will be opened

by Prof. Tom Inglis, Ireland’s foremost authority on the rise and decline of Irish

Catholicism. Emeritus Prof. Eileen Barker (London School of Economics), the founder of the UK government-sponsored “Information Focus Network on Religious Movements”, and Prof. Paul Heelas (University of Lancaster), the world’s leading researcher on the “New Age”, will give public lectures at this two-day conference, which is likely to be one of the most extraordinary gatherings of its type ever staged in Ireland.

Over fifty researchers from three continents and fifteen academic disciplines will be

presenting research papers and discussing the history and significance of the many

new religions and movements which now flourish in Ireland. Participants will discuss

everything from the organisation of Irish Islam to the multi-billion euro international

“alternative healing” industry and from Celtic Buddhism in America to the remarkable growth of Pentecostalism in Ireland.

Other papers will look at feminism in new religious movements, how “Celtic Christianity” has become mainstream, Traveller religion in the 21st century, the psychology of religious belief and “cults”, how spirituality has become a marketing device and how the Internet is being used to spread new religious and occult beliefs.

Prof. Brian Bocking, founder of UCC’s new department for the Study of Religions, will consider whether Catholicism itself should now be seen as a new religious movement, and will announce an important new initiative aimed at promoting the academic study of religion in Ireland.

The conference is open to the public and the evening lectures by Prof. Barker (Friday, on “Cults, sects and / or new religions”) and Prof. Heelas (Saturday, on “Spirituality and the New Age”) can be attended separately.

There will also be a conference bus trip to the Hill of Tara, Loughcrew Gardens and

Loughcrew megalithic cemetery on Sunday 1st November.

For the conference programme and registration information, please see the websites

at  www.nrmireland.net or  http://nrmireland.blogspot.com

All welcome.

Department of Sociology

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Co. Kildare

Republic of Ireland

Tel. (+353-1) 708 3985

email: laurence.cox@nuim.ie

4 Responses

  1. Cox’s presence is deeply disturbing. he invites as many academics in the NRM field as he can (apart from those who are known critics of the FWBO in Ireland) and then hob-nobs with this ‘alta sociedad’. Known to others as Lawrence ‘the Western Buddhist’ academic, he then speaks calmly of his views on NRMs (and sometimes perhaps why the FWBO is not a dodgy one!) thus legitimising his own stance out of the piercing laser beam of criticism from those who know better about the FWBO and its lengthy history of abuse (not the only sin by any means-read the FWBO Files). By association, Lawrence is discerining and dependable-the FWBO are squeaky clean spiritual adventurers and one need only pay a small fee to join(‘Just go behind the screen and take all your clothes off” ‘But Doctor Lingwood, I only have a cold)
    Anyone for a devious sub plot, concealing a definite though hidden agenda?

    If people are really interested in this person and the FWBO, take a look at the document on the Dublin Buddhist Centre document on this site. The shenaningans it refers to all took place while Cox was involved in the FWBO and indeed when he was heavily associated with the Dublin Buddhist Centre. he may even have witnessed the abusive behaviour which ‘only happened at Croydon’ and yet lo and behold, did not recognize the tell tale signs as to what constitutes systematised abuse. Reliable witness? Ask a junkie.


  2. I actually raised concerns about Cox’s role in all this right from the beginning. This is a devotee of a well known New Religious Movement, the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, a group which admits (reluctantly) to a prolonged history of sytstematic sexual abuse, helping organize a conference wherein the line between acceptablity and deviance is laid down for all to discuss. I have not seen much from Cox identifying his links to the FWBO-Cant think why!
    What I do know is that dodgy NRMs often endow themselves with credibility through their members association with the establishment ‘good’, like the Moonies and the scouting movement in the US. How much more so by offering their services as credible commentators in the NRM field? Next speaker? L Ron Hubbard, the well known, neutral academic on ‘Why all other groups apart from Scientology are dodgy’?

    I guess it also helps protect the FWBO’s reputation to have someone on the inside to calm his colleagues fears that anything could possibly have gone wrong within the FWBO (What suicides? How many nervous breakdowns? Surely the psychological damage of a little abusive sexual experimentation isnt as bad as all that MATEYS)


  3. I was surfing on the web and found a reference to a Laurence Cox’s involvement with a major Conference this week end. https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/conference-on-alternative-spiritualities-the-new-age-nrms-contact-details/
    He had a very important role in a debate I had and which intersected with my life. This was with regard to the (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) in 2007.


    Trying to recall Cox’s role in the Sanghapala affair which I report on above, I remember trying to sleuth out how my contributions to the Indymedia debate were being obstructed and eventually discovered that Cox was behind it. In fact he had my contributions removed and succeeded in having the debate frozen. Other contributors to that ‘ debate ‘ were not interfered with such as Lalatavira, an FWBO proponent and Sanghapala, his meditation teacher and the founder of the FWBO in Ireland.

    I read up some more on Cox’s activities and discovered that he was indeed seeking ordination to the FWBO and was earning ‘brownie points’ through his endorsement of the Dublin meditation Centre, now known as the Dublin Buddhist Centre where he facilitated Sunday workshops directed at children. In one particular article written by Cox he mentioned his aspiration to become a member, the piece was directed at no one in particular, but he says in a cloying manner “if you guys will have me.”

    I recall in my efforts to trace who was behind censoring my contributions to Indymedia that the editorial team were very defensive and unhelpful. I later discovered that Cox carried some influence therein and was involved with the anarchist side of the production. Some significant female journalist of the time had attempted to investigate the goings on of some event that Cox and some members of a British anarchist organisation were involved with and wrote about her experiences at their offices located somewhere around Mountjoy Sq. She described the experience as being one of the most frightening encounters of her journalistic career.
    I tried subsequently to discover if Cox had achieved ordination through FWBO people listings but could not establish if he had. The fact that people assume new names after ordination makes it all the more difficult. I sent Cox a copy of ‘Sanghapala in Ireland’ in which he was mentioned and suggested to him that if he was unhappy with anything which I had written to consider suing me. His reply was ‘never contact me again.’ I imagine Cox to be career minded and the potential sniff of a scandal probably threw him into a panic.

    Imagine my surprise when I went through all the information about the conference and see his hand all over it. That would fit in with my experience that he is ever the chief not the Indian. I was also amazed to see that they claimed this was the first such Conference of its type, but Dialogue Ireland had one in 1998. However, in the last missive he modifies this and now claims it is, “The largest ever gathering of academic expertise on new religious movements in Ireland will take place in Maynooth next weekend.”

    I’ve read most of the detail of the Conference. I can’t determine what the essence of the event is? Is it an event wherein various individuals are given opportunity to set up their stalls and influence or are opportunities created for debate? It seems to be post modern fest which really does not like the elephant in the room. That is actual groups that mess seriously with people’s heads.

    I note as well that the Director of Dialogue Ireland was not invited to participate and there is no mention of Dialogue Ireland’s site or Blog? What kind of academic standard are Cox and his committee setting? Talk about serious censorship, and we used to think of Maynooth as a place to get a belt of the crosier, now we are getting a belt from a post modern Buddhist sociologist. I would be sure that Mike Garde the Director of the Dialogue Ireland Trust who has welcomed the Conference and given it a lot of publicity on the DI blog, will take part and not let petty conflicts cloud his professional judgement and participation.

    I must come out to hear Laurence myself, that is if he will answer his phone, when I try to make a late booking?

    Friday 30th October, 2009

    4.30 – 6.00: Workshops, session 2

    Auxilia 1

    Laurence Cox / Maria Griffin (Dept. of Sociology, NUI Maynooth), The Wild Irish girl and the “Dalai Lama of Little Tibet”: Irish Buddhism in world-systems context

    John L Murphy (Humanities, DeVry University, USA), Imagining Celtic Buddhism

    Audrey Whitty (National Museum of Ireland / Dept. of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin), The Albert M Bender collection of Asian art in the National Museum of Ireland

    Department of Sociology
    National University of Ireland, Maynooth
    Co. Kildare
    Tel. (+353-1) 708 3985
    email: laurence.cox@nuim.ie


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