FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Kenja?
Kenja is a training facility for people who want to develop their ability to be more effective or ‘cause’ over their lives. It is based on the very simple principle (common to most cultures and separate to the specifics of religion) that while we live in a physical world, human beings are something other than just physical - thus the line on the website that summarises the training: 'Spiritual understanding in a physical world'.What was the purpose of forming Kenja?What is Kenja's attitude to women?Does Kenja have a code of ethics?
As Kenja is a training ground for the improvement of communication skills, the many people involved in Kenja classes and activities over the years developed and evolved Kenja's own code of ethics.Click here for the ethics of Kenja since the inception of Kenja in 1982 What does the name mean?
Kenja is a combination of the names of the co-founders Ken Dyers and Jan Hamilton.Who runs Kenja?
Kenja Communication began in 1982, founded by Ken Dyers and Jan Hamilton. Ken passed away in 2007, but Jan continues to be involved in a consultancy role which includes giving classes and lecturing. The Kenja centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra are owned and operated by centre Directors.
A large number of cultural and sporting activities also take place through each centre – and these are run by people doing the training. Professional coaches and tutors are employed for specialist areas such as sport and music. What does spirituality have to do with communication?
Spirituality has everything to do with communication because it is our common ground: Most cultures of the world have their basis in some kind of spiritual understanding. They accept that we have a body, but we are not the body or the mind – we are spiritual in nature. The Kenja training appreciates that communication is a spiritual action and therefore, further exploration of the practical realities of our spiritual heritage leads to increased levels of perception, honesty and happiness.Is Kenja a religious group or a cult? – "Why Kenja is not a religious group or a cult"By Allen Meynard
Maha Chulalongkorn Buddhist University, Bangkok
Labelling an organisation as a 'cult' is the quickest and most effective way to smear it, and even in the absence of a scintilla of evidence will still poison the minds of all who hear it. Just as one may throw mud at a person and stain a white shirt, so it is almost impossible to erase the mark of the epithet 'cult'. But let's try anyway.
The online dictionary gives this definition, which is relevant to our discussion: 'A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members.'
A moment's reflection will reveal that this definition is completely without meaning. Who are these 'others' and by what divine fiat does their looking upon the practices of other people as strange make the group undesirable? Anything which is new will obviously appear strange to those who encounter it for the first time. Every major new scientific discovery faces resistance from those still wedded to the old paradigm of the universe.
Naturally, every group will be 'relatively small' in its early stages. It takes time for any organisation to grow. No doubt Jesus and his followers were a 'relatively small group of people', and would have been labelled a cult by this definition.
What about the last part, 'imposing excessive control over members'? Once again, the statement appears logical, but in reality is devoid of meaning. What is excessive control? A sergeant in the army has complete control over the enlisted soldiers, but this is regarded as appropriate where they face situations of life and death.
In truth, the word 'cult' has little meaning other than as a pejorative term to describe a group that you don't like, and which is probably small enough that it can't defend itself effectively. For the word 'cult' does definitely carry a strong significance of something at the very least undesirable, and at worst, evil.
What, then, is the motive for describing Kenja as a cult?
We live, supposedly, in a democracy, where people are free, within the limits of the law, to do what they want and to believe what they choose. In practice, various institutions still seek to gain power over the rights of others, in particular, over the freedom of belief. On one side there is what we might call the 'cult of scientific materialism', which seeks to reduce mankind to slavery by propagating the idea that the material world is all that exists, since it is all that can be proven by scientific instruments.
And on the other, fundamentalist groups of all religions, who believe dogmatically that theirs is the only path to Truth, and seek to prevent others from making their own explorations. Small groups form an easy target, while larger ones are generally more difficult to attack. Yet history is littered with illustrations of the horrors that are unleashed when religious authorities get their hands on the machinery of State, but we don’t need to look further than our own time to see plenty of examples - the Islamic theocracy of Iran, the resurgence of Hindu nationalism in India, the collusion between the senior Buddhist hierarchy and the junta of Myanmar, and the rather more subtle - and therefore more pervasive - influence of fundamentalist Christianity in the United States, Australia and other Western democracies.
But why attack Kenja? The answer is simple: Kenja helps people to learn to think for themselves. This is a threat to those who desire to control how other people think. Freedom to think exists only to the extent that one knows one's own mind and the forces which control it. Energy conversion, the technique of meditation developed by Ken Dyers, enables people to become aware of the influences to which they have been subject, sometimes from an early age. By becoming aware of them, we are able to do something about them. This generates greater self-confidence and self-determinism.
Those who seek to control others perceive this as a threat to their power, which it is. It is not, however, a threat to the well-being of others in society. People who become more aware of themselves, naturally become more aware of their connection with others and of the world and society generally. Self-awareness is the key to all knowledge. This leads to a greater concern to help both individuals and society as a whole.
The work of Kenja is deeply rooted in the wisdom of the ages. Yet it is not necessary to study ancient philosophies (which were written in a different culture). One of Ken Dyers' exceptional skills was to present what one writer has called 'Ageless Wisdom' in modern, everyday language, grounded in his own experience and contemporary Australian culture. It is thus incredibly practical, enabling any person to grasp a concept that is relevant to them, take it and apply it immediately to any situation in their lives, with positive results.
The concept of spirituality discussed at Kenja is not aligned to any religion. Nor does it conflict with religions - apparent when you realise that people of diverse religious beliefs do the Kenja training. Neither is Kenja a cult. People doing the training come and go as they like and have widely varied lives - some are extremely high achievers, others are just happy to create more balance. It is entirely up to each individual how much of the Kenja training they apply to their life.Kenja is in fact, the opposite of a cult - which by definition eliminates self-determinism. Kenja training views self-determinism as an imperative for personal growth.European Court of Human Rights says government references to ‘cult’ in describing minority religions is damaging and a denial of human rights
The European Court of Human Rights recently decided that government authorities should not refer to minority religious groups as ‘cults’, as the term is misleading, derogatory and a denial of the rights of members of religious communities to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. The case, Tonchev and others v Bulgaria 2022
, arose from the complaints by three evangelical and pentacostal churches in the Bulgarian city of Burgas. The city’s education authorities had sent a letter to all schools, requesting that schools tell students that the groups were ‘cults’ and were dangerous, and that essentially the Bulgarian orthodox church was the only legitimate religion.
The European Court relied on an earlier decision it had made in 2021 against the Russian Federation, where the Russian government had declared Hare Krishna a ‘dangerous and totalitarian cult’. In the Russian case, the Court, referring to the Guarantee of Religious Freedom under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, stated; "the Court has considered that the use of hostile or derogatory terms in referring to a religious community in documents issued by public authorities, insofar as it is likely to have negative consequences on the exercise by its members of their freedom of religion, is sufficient to constitute an infringement of the rights guaranteed by Article 9 of the Convention".
The decisions of the Court in relation to the Russian and Bulgarian cases overruled earlier precedents of the Court in 2001, which had permitted the French government to refer to a religious minority as a ‘cult’. The Court decision clearly marks significant progress in the recognition of the rights and freedoms of people who participate in non-major ‘new religious movements or community groupings’, which might otherwise be described neutrally as ‘sects’. The Court clearly disapproved of the negative repercussions on the exercise of religious and cultural freedom on members of organisations labelled in that way. The Court accordingly has sought to enshrine the right of minority groupings and religions not to be the subject of slanderous and prejudicial language by public authorities.Click here for information about the attacks on KenjaClick here for Kenja Communication media statement regarding the “Stateless” mini-seriesClick here for intolerant fundamentalism in the historical attack on KenjaWas Ken a guru?By Allen Meynard
Maha Chulalongkorn Buddhist University, Bangkok
Since a favourite slur of the opponents of Kenja is to label it a ‘cult’, with Ken Dyers as its ‘guru’, it might be worth taking a brief look at what a guru actually is.
The word guru comes from two Sanskrit root words, gu, “darkness” + ru, “that which dispels”. The literal meaning of the word, therefore, is ‘dispeller of darkness’. Anyone who listened to Ken for any length of time is well aware that he spoke frequently of shining the light of Truth as the way to dispel darkness, and that he only ever used ‘stable data’, by which he meant data that worked a hundred percent of the time. This is surely a good definition of ‘truth’, which is elsewhere defined as ‘the exact time, place, event or form’.
By analogy, the guru, or dispeller of darkness, means a spiritual teacher. Ken himself rejected the label of guru, claiming that he was no more than a fellow-traveller on the road to freedom of the spirit and the human. But the term has become grossly corrupted in the modern world, and we need to look first at what a true guru is.
In ancient India, where the term originated, it was always the custom for spiritual aspirants to seek out a teacher who did not teach from books, but rather from his or her own experience and realisation. They would go from teacher to teacher, until they found one who, to their perception, was genuine. Obviously, this would depend on the perception of the seeker, and there were likely always good teachers and bad teachers, just as there are in any form of study today.
Paramahansa Yogananda, whose Autobiography of a Yogi was rated one of the top 100 spiritual classics of the 20th Century, went further in his definition of a true guru. He said that a guru was a person who had attained spiritual realisation for himself, and had then been authorised to go and teach others. Authorised by whom? Yogananda says ‘by God’; we might equally say ‘by the Spiritual Universe’. I recall Ken telling a story, and to my knowledge I heard it only once, of a time during his own journey when he reached a stage of being free from the physical body, so that he was capable of leaving this dimension and not returning. However, when he decided to do so, he was reminded that he had made an agreement to help others on this planet, and so he returned. This seems a fair description of ‘being authorised to teach’.
In the Indian tradition, the bond between guru and disciple, as they are known, is not only spiritual; it is also eternal. This bond is created when the disciple applies, and the guru accepts. Hence, it is never granted lightly. The guru assumes responsibility for his student through however many lifetimes it takes to achieve spiritual freedom. I only recall Ken stating that his commitment was never to withdraw his friendship, once he had given it. I do recall him relating a conversation with someone, who claimed that Ken had accepted responsibility for “clearing” him, to which Ken replied, ‘but not necessarily in this lifetime’. However, Ken often had more than one purpose in mind when he told a story, and it is dangerous to take comments out of context.
The disciple also commits himself or herself to absolute obedience to the guru’s instructions. Of course, this is another of the perversions of modern understanding of the relationship. It does not place the guru as the all-powerful leader of a group of blind followers. No true guru could ever possibly desire such a position, since it would be way below his spiritual reality. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the fact that the guru, by virtue of his very developed spiritual perception, is able to see into a person’s character and history – through more than one lifetime, if necessary. I recall Ken looking intently at me on one occasion and commenting, ‘you had a lot of abilities once, and then you got clobbered’. I have heard him give similar insights to others.
In this context, the commitment of the student to follow whatever his teacher says makes perfect sense. Dabbling in spiritual techniques can lead to insanity, which is precisely why guidance from an ‘enlightened’ teacher is necessary. Just as one would give obedience to an army officer teaching how to use explosives, so would the spiritual student be well advised to follow his teacher’s advice, knowing that his teacher understands him better than he knows himself.
Ken never demanded obedience to his advice. He always gave a person freedom to come or go, and freedom to follow what he said or not. Hence, many people learned far less from him that would have been possible for them. But then again, he eschewed the term guru right from the beginning.
My own conclusion, based on accurate definitions and my own experience, is that, in the real meaning of the term, Ken was a ‘spiritual teacher’, which is the essential meaning of the word ‘guru’. The term guru cannot be used in modern discussion, because it has been twisted, firstly by charlatans from India claiming spiritual status which they did not possess, and even more so by organisations in the West, particularly religious fundamentalists, who have succeeded in turning it into a slur. It is a sign, perhaps, of the degree of spiritual degradation into which modern society has sunk, that the false is exalted and the genuine is denounced.
Nevertheless, those fortunate enough to have seen Ken with the ‘eye of wisdom’ know that he could see into a person’s ‘case’ and so know what their next step was; he had the compassion to lead a person along the path of spiritual growth; and his life’s work was devoted unconditionally to seeking freedom for the human spirit and nothing else.How can I join? Is there a joining fee?
There are no ‘members’ of the Kenja training, therefore there’s no joining fee. You pay for classes and workshops as you arrive. How does Kenja work?
A remarkably diverse range of Australians and international visitors have used and continue to use Kenja training to increase their spiritual perception and awareness and as a result, increase effectiveness. Kenja classes, public lectures, workshops and Energy Conversion Meditation appointments are available as one-off trainings. These are booked in advance and paid for individually on attendance. Ongoing training is available, but because no joining fee or course payments can be made in advance, there is no long-term locked in commitment. You come because you want to and you’re getting something out of it.I don’t have a problem, why do I need Kenja?
Kenja is not a therapy or self help group. There are professional organisations trained to help people with specific problems. Importantly, the Kenja training cannot 'solve your problems'. It helps individuals help themselves by increasing a person's ability to perceive and make positive ‘life decisions' for themselves. Only the decisions we make ourselves can ensure a more positive, happy and certain future.How often should I go?
Kenja is like a gymnasium. You can use the training as much or as little as you choose. Like any effective training programme, you get out what you put in. You work alongside a Kenja Meditation consultant to develop a personalised timetable to suit your own needs.Why can’t I drink alcohol and do the Kenja meditation. Does that mean not even socially - not at all?
Energy Conversion Meditation relies on very subtle and sensitive personal perception. Our bodies have an energy field and this meditation is used to clear blocks or negative energy from the energy field. Consuming alcohol or drugs (including certain forms of prescription medication) while you’re doing the training can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the work. Medical drugs are needed at times to help with physical problems, and most are usually fine. Sometimes, depending on the medication, it may not be appropriate to pursue the training whilst on a treatment. (This is reviewed individually). It is unethical to take money for training and not deliver results, so we’re very up front about this issue.What other trainings are like Kenja?
We believe Kenja is unique. There is no dogma, no belief system, and there are no courses. The ancient wisdoms that are openly communicated in Kenja alongside the contemporary vision of how a spiritual viewpoint can be a ‘working reality’ in today’s world sets Kenja apart as a training.
The Energy Conversion meditation and Kenja Klowning developed through Kenja are very effective tools for personal growth. Experienced professional meditation consultants can train you in the effective use of these techniques for yourself.
Another element unique to Kenja is its ethics: The Kenja ethics provide the framework for the training. People doing the training really appreciate the integrity with which it is provided - and the trust this creates allows people to maximise their personal gains.Click here for the ethics of Kenja since the inception of Kenja in 1982