Is 'Guan Yin Citta' (Master Lu) a cult? (Yes)

Greetings, people.

I am trying to seek clarification regarding the abovementioned organisation/movement in respect of the authenticity of their ‘Buddhist’ teachings. I had in the past, came across video clips of the founder, a Master Lu giving ‘totem readings’ on stage in front of a sizeable crowd of spectators. He would give readings to people with illnesses and/or disabilities and would usually attribute their misfortune to the presence of totem/spirits on them, and their present/past life karma or those of their parents’ or grandparents’. A child with what seems like cerebral palsy was attributed to the presence of ‘monkey spirits’ on him, and a child with what seems like eczema was attributed to her mother eating seafood. His staple ‘treatment’ is asking them or their immediate family members to recite ‘Little Houses’ (a collection of various suttas) with x repetitions.

I had ignored the video in the past but I could not do so now because a local Instagram influencer with 243,000 followers seems to have joined this organisation. She is just 19 years old and from what she had posted, seems to be suffering from depression. She had been posting a lot about the books and teachings of Master Lu which is a huge deviation from her usual posts and I am concerned about the soundness of this organisation.

I am not an expert in the various branches of Buddhism which is why I am here seeking clarifications because I feel like I have to do my moral part in advising (by dropping comments in her posts hoping she would read them) the Instagrammer if there is anything amiss in the organisation in question.

Something feels wrong with attributing every illness and disability to the presence of spirits and the prescribed ‘Little Houses’ is very rigid with specific ways of marking and burning the paper (pls refer to their website). The Master even asked the spectators to clap for him whenever he made any correct ‘predictions’ of symptoms.

However, there are those who defend the Master’s ways. One thorough write up is from Master Jun Hong Lu of Guan Yin Citta passed away on 10 Nov 2021- my thoughts on his teachings - Visit Malaysia where the author claims to be a “long time Theravada practitioner”.

By virtue of the Instagrammer being quite famous, there is always the risk of false teachings (if any) being imparted to her followers. I am also concerned if she is seeking quick comfort from people who might just be manipulating her vulnerabilities. She’s also started making weird posts labelling people as princes and princesses. So, I am inclined to think that totem is not only the questionable thing in that organisation.

I would also appreciate it if anyone could help me clarify certain points:-

  1. What amounts to a deviation from Buddhism?
  2. Is Guan Yin Citta reliable?
  3. Will there ever be situations where deviations are acceptable?
  4. What is true Buddhism?
  5. Does true Buddhism tolerate (or accept) cultural differences?
  6. Is there any ‘toolkit’ that I could use when faced with doubts about certain Buddhist teachings from certain Buddhist organisations?

Any input from anyone on this matter is greatly appreciated. I’m sorry if I did not phrase any of my questions properly. May you have a great day ahead :smiley:

Temporarily closed pending moderator deliberation.