Usually it is not the practice of Buddhists to denounce other religious schools or to point out weaknesses and faults of religious practitioners of other religions. To make financial business out of pointing out supposed weaknesses of other religious systems can’t be viewed as “Right Livelihood” either.
The New Kadampa Tradition strongly claim to keep such principles. However, as with so many other things that NKT claim, what is written by NKT needn’t be a fact. Former members often think the beautiful claims of NKT help them to be socially acceptable but if one investigates more deeply the beautiful claims don’t reflect the reality. Here is another story from the World of NKT.
Len Foley, who is said to be very high up in being responsible for the security of Kelsang Gyatso, and Rebecca Gauthier, who is an NKT Resident Teacher in America at Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Centre, have both written a book “The Celibate – Sex. Lies. Salvation.“, which reveals “A dark secret… the church is dying to keep hidden.. and others are killing to keep silent.” Foley states “Although the book The Celibate is a fictional story, the depictions of the author’s day-to-day life studying to become a priest were derived from REAL experiences.”
The promotion website does not state anything about the NKT background of the authors. The thecelibate.com website introduces Foley as having “spent three years studying to become a priest in one of the world’s most exclusive Roman Catholic seminaries.” and does not mention that he is a NKT teacher. Gauthier is introduced as having “spent three years preparing to become a Buddhist nun in various monasteries and Buddhist Centers throughout Europe.” and the website hides the fact that this is referring mainly – or even solely? – to NKT. Both are portrayed as “Combined, their commitment to celibacy spanned a decade”.
The Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Centre website states about NKT Branch Teacher Len Foley: “Len Foley has been practicing Buddhism for eight years. He currently teaches Monday evenings in Simi Valley.” and about Resident Teacher Rebecca Gauthier: “Rebecca Gauthier has been practicing Buddhism for fifteen years under the guidance of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.” Besides the dissimilar portraits at both websites, NKT expects from their teachers to have “wisdom, experience, faith, and pure motivation” otherwise NKT states “it will be difficult for others to develop faith in them or their teachings, and there will be little benefit.” NKT also warns “without proper training and preparation there is a danger of Teachers mixing worldly, samsaric activities with their teaching activities. Therefore we definitely need to train well if we wish to be a genuine benefit to others.”
I wonder how “A dark secret… the church is dying to keep hidden..” fits into the self-portrayal of NKT and is of “genuine benefit to others.”
A bit weird… maybe NKT teachers would do better to clean, clarify, and counsel NKT’s own internal celibacy scandals than making money with such a “fictional story” about Catholicism and celibacy? Though writing books is personal business and freedom of choice, as NKT Resident Teacher and NKT Branch Teacher both authors represent NKT. In the light of NKT’s baseless accusations against the Dalai Lama via the Western Shugden Society calling him a “hypocrite” and “liar”, also this story appears to be quite strange stuff – much more when one takes into account other strange events within NKT. For NKT there seem to be no contradictions with all of this. It is completely acceptable that NKT teachers publish such books, that Gen Thubten participates the Anti-Dalai Lama protests calling the Dalai Lama a hypocrite and liar, and that for example, the editor of Kelsang Gyatso’s books and his long-term student Lucy J. is being removed as a NKT Resident Teacher just because she had the courage to question the NKT protests.
NKT where do we go from here? Do you recognize how wide the rift has become between your self-perception, what you say to others and how NKT is actually perceived by others? How about making a U-turn?
In the context of the publication of the book “The Celibate – Sex. Lies. Salvation.” let’s remember the nice-sounding words of Kelsang Gyasto:
“We should concentrate on our own tradition and maintain the good qualities of our tradition, but we should always keep good relations with each other and never argue or criticize each other. What I would like to request is that we should improve our traditions while maintaining good relations with each other.”
There is also another statement by Kelsang Gyasto which he gave when it became known that his successor, Gen-la Samden, was engaged in multiple sexual misconduct and encouraged others to follow his example. As soon as NKT members tried to understand the internal scandals and asked questions to learn the facts about this in the NKT internet forums, Kelsang Gyatso ordered to close all NKT internet chat rooms and gave this message to his followers:
“Some small group in our NKT society engage in meaningless activity on the internet, not only Sangha, some lay. This is incorrect. We are Kadampa practitioners, Kadampa Teachers. Why are we enjoying meaningless activity, discussion? We can have a meaningful discussion with pure practitioners or senior practitioners, Teachers. There is no meaning in talking about silly things publicly on the internet. Instead, make meaningful discussion with our pure practitioners, senior Teachers. Please give my message to the individuals of this group. Stop this kind of actions. Gen-la Khyenrab, give my message in email or writing. Stop meaningless discussion on the internet. If you wish, do meaningful discussion with senior Teachers or pure practitioners, or meaningful discussion with your Teacher. No meaning engaging in silly question and answers on the internet. Please Gen-la Khyenrab, pass my message. I am telling you for your purpose and our society’s purpose. In this way, keep individuals and society pure and show very good example.”
Last edited on May 31, 2009 at 22:16 pm