While there’s no denying cults can stem from many different beliefs or ideals, Buddhafield is one that truly leaves people baffled due to the way its leader Jaime Gomez uses the New Age movement. This much has actually been explored in not just the 2016 documentary ‘Holy Hell’ but also Netflix’s ‘How to Become a Cult Leader?,’ especially as they both shine a light upon member experiences. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the founder himself — with a specific focus on his background, trajectory, as well as current standing — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who is Jaime Gomez?
Although reportedly born in Venezuela as the son of a wealthy rancher with a myriad of opportunities available to him, Jaime only had a single dream — he wanted to be a world-famous star. Therefore, he relocated to Hollywood as soon as possible but couldn’t land more than a nonspeaking role in 1968’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ a brief stint with the Oakland Ballet, plus a few explicit adult films. That’s why he eventually chose to evolve into an acting teacher in Florida, which is where he first realized he had the innate charm to lure people in with his words and faith-based new principles.
After all, according to this Netflix original documentary series, Jaime’s “classes wound up being more spiritual” than anything else since they touched upon God plus the ways one should exist. The teacher (aka Andreas or Michel Rostand) hence garnered a few unconditionally devoted disciples before returning to California to “capitalize on the superficiality of everyday American life.” In other words, he gradually established Buddhafield as a commune by placing himself in the position of God while encouraging his followers to think of themselves in the same divine manner.
However, there was one major difference; Jaime ostensibly did not lift a single finger, whereas every other member was required to perform daily labor services to reach the point of all-knowing. This was because he’d apparently been “spontaneously enlightened” upon coming across a guru, only to realize he “needed to become a leader of other people to raise their consciousness.” As per the original production, the leader further insisted this transference of power/wisdom was done through nothing more than his fingers, yet it was still relatively rare to see much less experience.
But alas, the alleged truth is Jaime had no master — according to some of his former followers, he just read up on other cult leaders as well as their practices to figure out his own unique pattern. Still, by the mid-1990s, he had total control over a group of hundreds of individuals, all of whom gave up their loved ones, sexual intercourse, gluten, dairy, drugs, and alcohol to be beside him. Though arguably the strangest aspects of Buddhafield were the urging into plastic surgeries, getting abortions, and not being allowed to say bye to relatives before their deaths for religious reasons.
Where is Jaime Gomez Now?
Jaime purportedly thrived as Buddhafield’s leader for more than two decades (until 2006) since he was great at keeping secrets while also ensuring members stayed weary of one another. In fact, as per the show, “Nobody knew what was going on behind his closed doors [both figuratively and literally]. He even put two doors for his privacy and his protection, and nobody asked why because it was never assumed anything bad was going on.” That is, until they all received an e-mail from a former high-ranking community executive alleging Jaime had lied about his past and his metaphysical training, all the while evading taxes, emotionally manipulating everyone around, and being a sexual predator.
Per ‘How to Become a Cult Leader?,’ Jaime actually portrayed himself to be as celibate as his most devoted followers, yet the truth is he had long-term sexual relations with many of them. As for the other claims, although they have never been confirmed in any way, shape, or form, most of his supporters walked away by the end of the year because this cult was not what they’d signed up for. Furthermore, it’s imperative to note some of his victims have since come forth to express that the leader often used AIDS to instill fear in them to keep them from calling their affairs quits.
We should also mention that following the release of ‘Holy Hell,’ Jaime issued this statement: “It is heartbreaking to see how history has been rewritten. Holy Hell is not a documentary, rather, it is a work of fiction designed to create drama, fear and persecution; that is what sells. I am saddened by this attempt to obscure the message of universal love and spiritual awakening. It is devastating to see these friends, who were once so filled with love for the world, become so angry. I wish them only the best, and hold each one close to my heart. If any of my actions were a catalyst for their disharmony, I am truly sorry. May all beings find peace, Michel.”
As for Jaime Gomez’s current whereabouts, despite everything to have transpired over the past four decades, it appears as if he continues to lead Buddhafield to this day. Though he’s reportedly doing so while being hidden away in his new base in Hawaii, which means the cult now resorts to recruiting members through yoga sessions/studios.