John Friend Update.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 7, 2012
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John Friend’s responses to my questions are coming tomorrow, Wednesday, I’m assured, by 3pm. I understand that he needs some time to communicate with his community first.

I’m not expecting much in the way of transparency, since I’m sure they wlll have had to lawyer up at this point, given the nature of jfexposed‘s anonymous accusations.

That said, I asked the simplest, toughest questions I could and am hoping to be pleasantly surprised by receiving earnest, forthright answers from John.

I will not be adding anything new to elephant, nor will our writers, since we won’t have anything new until tomorrow at 3.

You can click here to see information from “both sides.”

Statement of position: elephant is not partisan here—so far it seems to me that most of the anonymous jfexposed criticisms are a mixture of fact and agenda-driven assertions. Personally, my only loyalty is to giving John a fair hearing—and fairness of course has to include honesty and transparency—otherwise we will not be able to move forward as a community, nor will John as a teacher (or human).

For those who mistake elephant’s ongoing goal of fairness and fact-seeking (instead of rumor-mongering or anonymous-comment-slumming) for sycophancy, that’s your prejudgment. That was an awesome sentence.

On the other hand, for those fans of John who mistake my journalistic goal of fairness for support, you will be disappointed by my critical questions.

My interview questions should help to allay doubts on both sides. This is how we do it, and what we do: responsible reporting from a middle ground. It is my sincere supplication to John to tell his lawyer friends to leave the room and offer answers that will help us all learn from this as a community. If those answers are fulsome, then and only then can we all begin to move on.


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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


30 Responses to “John Friend Update.”

  1. I'd rather wait for a fair and balanced account than have to sift through sewage and guess which parts are true. Thanks for doing the right thing.

    • Exactly Kate. Like I said before, I have personally decided that unless whatever I am reading is fact-based from a non anonymous site I am not even going to give it a glance. Well said Waylon and thanks so much for your level of professionalism and maintaining respectful values through such a rough time. I'm sorry that you have had to take the brunt of so much negativity.

    • Tanya Lee Markul says:

      Amen sister!

    • avek says:

      When something like this happens. the only thing we must do is to PAUSE, SOFTEN, LISTEN and RECEIVE the TRUTH of the PRESENT MOMENT. No one has to speak. This piece of technology has been my best tool as a parent.
      FEEL. JUST LISTEN and the TRUTH FLOATS UP to the top like the best cream of the land. And IF the TRUTH is not pleasing to hear, then it will become an iteration– that each of us are still the HUMAN beings we were when we signed on to this plane of consciousness, embodied. . And life will still flow, with each of us a bit wiser for the wear and know that any downstream drama can happen to any one of us… Otherwise we would not be a part of this on any level-observer, reader, student, criticizer, employee, blogger….TRUTH=TRUST…LET IT ROLL and GET REAL, RAW and ROWDY!

  2. Emily Perry says:

    Thank you Waylon. As always, deep respect.

  3. Jennifer Fields says:

    That is an awesome sentence.

  4. Chelsea says:

    I love you, Waylon. KUDOS for your handling of this, and I look forward to reading the interview.

  5. macpanther says:

    I wish some of our mainstream journalists were as responsible.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Well, we're far from doing journalism, here, just aspiring to the ethics I was taught at BU, an amazing journalism school where some of my profs were from Christian Science Monitor, etc., great teachers. They hammered at ethics and at the time I had no idea why…I get it! As soon as I was released into real world, I got it. It's rare and there's a lot of pressure–legal, advertising, PR, publishing, deadlines.

  6. that was an awesome sentence.

    You Rock
    that is all

  7. Dear community, here is my heart-felt response to the current "controversy", and indeed to any confusion around the role of the teacher that ever arises. May it shine light. your, Hareesh

  8. Thank you, for handling this with Grace a dignity. We teachers have heard from John, but I definitely look forward to hearing what he says to you.

    Thank you also for the smile your “awesome sentence” comment produced. Writing is such an amazing experience and gift. You do it well.

    We’re still holding the light on all sides of this and amazingly holding love and appreciation for our fellow teachers on all sides. John has shown us that way and whatever happens now it has been a fabulous life in Anusara so far.


  9. Really? says:

    How does asking John Friend "tough" questions equate to fair & balanced journalism? Doesn't it just provide a platform for him to do PR damage control? Or reveal half-baked manipulated truths? Or flat out lie if he so chooses? Imagine if Woodward & Bernstein had just ignored the information that DeepThroat provided because of his need for anonymity and went directly to Nixon to ask him for the truth and then reported on what Nixon had to say for himself. Would the truth have ever been revealed?

    • elephantjournal says:

      Great question, anonymous. If he treats it as a PR opportunity, instead of a chance to be honest and forthright, that is his choice and will be apparent. In the case of Woodward and Bernstein, they had to find corroborating anonymous sources. My basic feeling is we shouldn't allege anything that can hurt people (many others besides John) without people willing to stand behind their statements.

      That said, it's about doing the right thing, which can be a gray area:

      “here’s the guideline NPR uses:
      “The grant of anonymity should be a last resort. When NPR journalists use anonymous sources to obtain information necessary for a story, the editor or producer of that story has an obligation to satisfy him/herself that the source is credible and reliable, and there is a substantial journalistic justification for using the source’s information without attribution. This obligation also pertains to situations where individuals ask that their real names be withheld. The editor or producer has a twofold responsibility to (1) make a judgment about whether it is editorially justified to let the person speak anonymously, and (2) satisfy him/herself that this person is who the piece says s/he is. An editor should never be in the position of having to verify these things after a story has aired and a question is raised about it. We should not grant anonymity if a person makes pejorative comments about the character, reputation, or personal qualities of another individual, or derogatory statements about an institution.”

  10. […] responses to my questions will be shared today, and represent the first public response, and hopefully go into some depth, allowing all who care […]

  11. Really? says:

    i do appreciate your thoughtful response and research on the subject. at the very least the guy should have the opportunity to tell his side of the story. at the end of the day, it is as the buddha once said: "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth."

  12. FREE says:

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave…..

  13. Jane C says:

    Isn't it Wednesday?

  14. YogiChaya says:

    3 oclock in what time zone?

  15. YogiChaya says:

    What I am finding really fascinating in this whole discussion is all the uproar and reaction to "gossip" and "accusations".. how indignant people became at what was made public. I will disclose that although Anusara is not my main practice, I have lots of friends who are Anusara teachers. I have taken probably hundreds of classes over the past decade, and have taken workshops with JF himself and had a couple of opportunities to meet him in smaller settings. I alwyas thought the practice was fun and physically challenging, and I like a lot of the people who are in the community and teach it.. .. but the organization had way to much resemblance to the Mary Kay cosmetics empire ( I sold Mary Kay for about two weeks when my first child was young). JF himself reminded me of a really, really good used car salesman. I am sure he is very sorry now.. but my impression is that this stuff has been going on for quite a while. So hopefully , Waylon, one of your questions will be.. hey, exactly WHEN did you start to feel sorry, John? Before or after the Sri hit the fan?

  16. Carolyn says:

    Would be very helpful to hear the accusations. Then we could hear both sides and develop our own understanding, May we see with the full moon's clarity and hold all in our hearts.

  17. just curious says:

    Will we see the responses today ( Wednesday) ?

  18. Dear community, here is my heart-felt response to the current "controversy", and indeed to any confusion around the role of the teacher that ever arises. May it shine light.
    yours, Hareesh

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