Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso

In the NKT doubts about the NKT leadership are explained to be very dangerous and negative, they are said to be

In the NKT doubts about the NKT leadership are explained to be very dangerous and negative. Doubts about the NKT and its leadership are said to be “doubts going into the wrong direction”, deriving from an “impure mind”. A “pure mind”, NKT teachers explain, doesn’t perceive faults. And faith is explained by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso – commonly called “Geshe-la” in NKT – to have the “function mainly to oppose the perception of faults in its observed object.” Such views encourage NKT followers to “be like a wise blind person who relies totally upon one trusted guide instead of attempting to follow a number of people at once.” (All quotes from the books of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.)

Someone sent me an excerpt from the book “The Novice: Why I became a Buddhist Monk, Why I Left and Why Learned” by Stephen Schettini (Published by Greenleaf Bookgroup, 2009), page 331, Epilogue:

Scientists aren’t the only ones with an agenda. In England, the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) has emerged as a player in the Dolgyal affair, a vocal opposition to the Dalai Lama and a cult to be reckoned with. Its founder, the Sera Jey monk Kelsang Gyatso, was installed as a spiritual advisor for Lama Yeshe’s Manjushri Institute back in the early eighties, and promptly commandeered it. That Tibetan imagery and lore can be turned to such forms isn’t at all surprising, but its growth is astonishingly so. The NKT is firmly established in more than two dozen countries, with assets running into the hundreds of millions. Back in 1982, I translated a seven-day course for Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in the Lama Tzongkhapa Institute in Italy. I found him a pedantic teacher and an irascible man, one of very few Tibetan teachers to whom I took a visceral dislike.

I’ve corresponded with several NKT members who initially took up arms against my provocative little web page on the topic. In the end, they admitted that they were in search of a sympathetic ear, and ultimately a way out. This is a guilt-driven rather than a military-style cult, making its web both insidious and sticky. Rather than challenging its members, it’s best to ask about their allegiance and let them formulate their rationalizations out loud. Given time, the skilful design of the Buddha’s teachings seems able to penetrate even such convoluted trips.

Hopefully  in the future there will be more books or public records which offer a critical insight into a life devoted to the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) and its founder, Kelsang Gyatso. This could help the public and Buddhists alike to better understand what risks there are or what harm people can experience who devote  themselves to the NKT.

Most reports about the harming effects the NKT can cause to followers are not public. Many of them appeared in the non-public New Kadampa Survivors Forum with its present 1,345 members. Some are stored in the archives of INFORM, Cult Information Centre etc. Over the past two years, 201more and more people felt encouraged to share their experiences and the harm they have

Here is a collections of reports by former members which are available online, please feel free to point out or to link other reports about experiences within the NKT.

Also the following letter from Sera Je Dratsang—though very polemical in style—lists at the end some stories of what former members reported: To the Tibetan Buddhists around the world and fellow Tibetan compatriots within and outside Tibet. Then there is Bunting’s The Guardian Article “Special Report: Shadow Boxing on the Path to Nirvana”.

* The videos are currently only accessible via YouTube. Originally the cartoons were posted under http://www.xtranormalbuddhist.co.uk

** The blog was run under New Kadampa Cult Watch but later it was deleted by the owner. To get a taste of what the person was saying at that time one can read some material on Dialogue Ireland. The current blog is unstable at the moment, sometimes there are posts, sometimes they are deleted again.

  Last edited by tenpel on October 19, 2016


  1. Tenzin-la,

    I agree that it’s important to get published material out about people’s experience with the NKT, especially considering the tactics the organization uses to silence their critics. I just hope poor Mr. Schettini doesn’t get threatened with a lawsuit!
    The truth is the NKT is so certain of its “peerless mission” that devoted members can’t believe anyone would have anything other than a fantastic opinion about it.

  2. Wisdom Moon says:

    You only ever show one side of the story, simply because it accords with your own unfortunate experience. You feel victimised and you want to show that there are people like you and NKT is therefore bad. You also want to support the Dalai Lama by declaring that the NKT is a cult, but there are thousands of people who are very happy with the NKT. There are thousands of people who attend centres and Festivals and who are deriving great benefit from Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings as presented by Geshe Kelsang.
    Why can’t you leave people alone to get on with their practice without feeling the need to criticise their tradition? I thought the Dalai Lama advocated non-sectarianism?

    It’s just politics.

    • For me the other side of the story is that I also learnt a lot in the NKT and that I try to feel gratitude for this.

      I do not feel victimised. I am the victim of my own ignorance and delusions. My lack of knowledge about Buddhism and my lack of knowledge about the complexity and depths of Tibetan Buddhism and its history, as well as my lack of knowledge about that there exist also Buddhist cults and that not everything advertising with “Buddhism” necessarily contains Buddhism and not every teacher claiming to be a master is a master etc. let me to be caught up in a spiritual trap. Also my Karma created that trap. So who’s fault is it? Its my fault. However, my belief is, because everything is dependent arising, also actions not done have their effects. If there had been some brave and clear minded Buddhists who had spoken up about that there are Buddhist cults and that one should be very cautious, and also what types of concern one should have meeting a group or teacher, maybe this could have protected me from the destructive experiences I made within the NKT. Hence, since I experienced a lack of taking responsibility by others, more knowledgeable Buddhists, to protect unprotected spiritual seekers, who suffer like I on a lack of Dharma knowledge and discriminating intelligence and who’s gut feelings or intuition can be easily manipulated, I finally (after a speech by another person who said “to protect even one person to fall into such a trap, oh, what a blessing this could be”), I decided to speak up in public of what I witnessed.

      That I focus only on the negative sides is one sided, but it is natural I think, because 1. NKT focuses on their positive sides (or what they think they are) and spread them very effectively around the globe attracting more and more new people 2. to warn about the dangers of drugs you won’t tell too much about the rather short term benefits of drugs and you would naturally emphasize the long term harm they do. Though it might be very good to acknowledge the short term positive effects of drugs too!!!

      I do not want to support the Dalai Lama by running this blog, the Dalai Lama has nothing against the NKT as far as I have seen. I could not find any negative statement by him about NKT though I tried. My main aim is to tell people that NKT has a dangerous side which can totally destroy a person’s spirituality and path (see e.g. Wass/Lodro/Elliot etc etc etc) and upon following it one will finally be totally separated from the Buddhist monastic community, as well as from really genuine Buddhist masters and the Buddhist scriptures, and vast and profound methods, texts and highly realized and inspiring Sangha. If people know about all of these things and weight it against the NKT’s own claims they have by far more freedom to decide if they want to follow NKT or not than if no such accounts telling the negative sides of NKT are available. These negative sides are not projections from my mind, they exist. Others and I just give them a voice, I think this is pretty fair with respect to new seekers of Buddhism but it is of course not welcomed by NKT leadership and NKT followers, I can understand this and I am sorry for this. But I feel I have to take that responsibility. There is NO lama supporting me or encouraging me to do this, it is my private decision and practice.

      I was one of the thousands people who felt happy in NKT but later I realized the problems of the group, it is better to go before one’s spiritual path is totally corrupted and one’s mind is totally infused by pride, hostility, confusion, sectarianism etc. Do you think others and I do not have the right to say what we have to say?

      I speak from my own experience, they were made in the NKT. These are not politics, these are a part of my and others’ existence in this world. They arose dependently, they are dependently originated.

    • Zopa Dechen says:

      Wisdom Moon

      Why doesn’t the NKT just let people discuss openly their problems with the NKT, just as in any civilised situation, discussion is welcomed so that change can happen. The NKT is closed to any suggestions from victimised ex-members. Many organisations would go towards the ex-members to offer apologies, etc.
      One moot issue would be – who is going to look after the monks/nuns who have spent 30-40 years working for the NKT once they are sick and old? There is no provision even for the most basic care of the NKT workers, no pensions, no security…

      However you imply that there are no problems whatsoever that should be discussed publically.

      I would suggest that the NKT have so much to cover up that they are terrified that the ‘real’ NKT should be exposed. Why aren’t there any researchers working in the NKT? Not allowed to. Why aren’t there any statistics about centre members/ordained, etc? Why hasn’t anyone published their ‘insider’ experiences? Because the NKT feels a need to completely squash any criticism.
      You could very easily ‘get on with your practice’ without spending so much time ‘criticising those who criticise’.

      • Wisdom Moon says:

        Zopa Dechen,

        NKT is honest – there is the NKT Truth site, and if you’ve got any problems with the organization or the individuals within in, you can simply write to them and they will address it. There is no secrecy, and no need to cover up anything.

        There is accountability, which is more than can be said for the Dalai Lama, for example, who can say and do what he likes and no one questions it. With the Dalai Lama, there is no discussion and no redress, simply authoritarian demands that people have to follow, but no one seems to have a problem with that! By contrast, NKT is a modern, Western democratic organisation governed by internal rules with elected positions. I’m happy to see that, I think it’s healthy.

    • Wisdom Moon,

      As someone who is quite familiar with the anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric put forth on various blogs (like Huffington Post, for example) by those who support and work for the CCP, I am repeatedly struck by the close similarity in tactics, misinformation, lies, propaganda, etc. employed both by them and the NKT’s defenders. Much of what I encounter on these sites is clumsy and obvious, if not outright laughable. Of course, it is impossible to engage with these posters because they can only repeat endlessly the same old party lines and are not interested in an open discourse.

      Yes, and there are thousands, even millions of people in China who would claim to be very happy, too. But everyone knows the CCP has a tight control over their lives and many only know what they’ve been told. These poor unfortunate people are incapable of thinking for themselves or having an independent thought. Censorship is ubiquitous.

      It’s odd to observe the same phenomenon in those who belong to the NKT because they are not constrained by an oppressive government. They have the freedom to think independently and yet they choose not to. I think it must be due, in part, to the power and sway of the organization to keep their followers in the dark.

      All the more remarkable that we now have the testimonies of many, tenpel foremost among them, who have managed to escape. We can only hope that their continued actions will act as a catalyst to bring more NKT followers out of the dark.

      • Wisdom Moon says:

        jigje, you are employing a familiar defamatory technique of lumping NKT in with the CCP, even though there is no connection between the two. NKT is not in the dark, we’re simply getting on with our Dharma practice, despite interference from supporters of the Dalai Lama who are intolerant and critical of something that is different to their understanding and practice.

  3. Wisdommoon,

    After the NKT threatens to sue the author of a book about to be published widely in the UK, has Amazon delete reviews unfavourable to Tharpa’s books, removes non-NKT books from all New Kadampa Centres, and establishes multiple websites about how wonderful NKT is and how bad HH Dalai Lama is, you feel comfortable accusing Ven. Tenzin of showing “one side of the story”. It’s almost funny.

    But, finally some honesty:
    “Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings as presented by Geshe Kelsang.”
    If only NKT’s promotional materials used this phrase, they might be more honest.

    • Wisdom Moon says:

      Hi Khedrup,

      I would hope that you would agree that if someone is about to publish something libellous about an organization, that organization should have the right to stop the publication? That’s what happened in the case of the book in question.

      Wisdom Books and many other Dharma retailers who are loyal to the Dalai Lama refuse to stock Geshe Kelsang’s books, so you can hardly accuse NKT of not having the books of other traditions.

      NKT does not publish websites criticising the Dalai Lama, I think you’re confusing NKT with the Western Shugden Society. The WSS is a response to an undemocratic ban by the Dalai Lama on a much loved and widespread Buddhist practice for political reasons. If the Dalai Lama did not try to restrict religious freedom and persecute Shugden practitioners, there would be no WSS.

      There is complete honesty as to the definition of NKT. In the Internal Rules of the NKT, it says:

      The New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union is defined as the union of Kadampa Buddhist Centres, the international association of study and meditation centres that follow the pure tradition of Mahayana Buddhism derived from the Buddhist meditators and scholars Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa, introduced into the West by the Buddhist teacher Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the Founder of the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union; and that follow the three New Kadampa Tradition Study Programmes; and that are guided by the code of moral discipline called The Internal Rules of the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union set out in this document.

      As the definition says, “introduced into the West by the Buddhist Teacher Geshe Kelsang Gyatso”. NKT has never made a secret of the fact that the presentation of the teachings of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa is different to that presented in Tibetan Buddhism, but the meaning is the same. Geshe Kelsang changed the presentation to be more suitable for Westerners after discussion with his root Guru, Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang.

  4. Just found this post “Dancing the dance of impermanence” from another former NKT follower:
    I like the way how this person lets go the past.

  5. Zopa Dechen says:

    Wisdom Moon- I find it absurd that you persistently ‘compare’ Kelsang Gyatso and the Dalai Lama. Whilst Kelsang Gyatso’s property portfolio might now be large – how many centres world wide? He has no responsiblity for even his ordained sangha – nothing is given to you for working for the NKT, and if you are sick or lose your benefits you will be asked to leave an NKT centre immediately. The Dalai Lama has taken on the responsiblity not only to teach Dharma ( have you heard any of his teachings – you would be delightfully surprised, which is why the NKT wants to keep their students away from him!) but to further the interests of a whole nation. It is therefore ridiculous to continue to compare these two people.

  6. Zopa Dechen says:

    Wisdom – in 12 years in the NKT I never saw anything that was ‘democratic’ or any ‘elections’. Candidates for ‘membership’ of the centres was by invitation only, and the people put up for the ‘posts’ on the centre committees were exclusively people that the resident teachers had recommended.
    Even comparing it with the ‘democratic’ political system in Britain, this would be the equivalent of government Ministers only allowing their own personal candidates to stand for election and only letting people vote if they are invited to do so.
    Any ‘recommendation’ by Kelsang Gyatso was immediately taken as ‘law’ – in 12 years I did not see any policy suggested by anyone below Resident teacher ever put into effect. The NKT in practice functions as an authoritarian organisation with far less ‘democracy’ than what even the Dalai Lama provides.
    As before I do not know why you ‘compare’ the ‘internal rules’ of the NKT with the task of the Tibetan Government in Exile. What are you trying to show? That Kelsang Gyatso is as powerful as the Dalai Lama? That he is so powerful, exclusively through his management of the NKT that he can be logically compared to a person with the huge responsiblities of the Dalai Lama.
    And I do not see members of the NKT being murdered on the streets…

    • I think your testimony as a former insider is extremely valuable. Thank you for your input.

      As for Geshe Gyatso vs. HHDL, lets not forget that Geshe Gyatso was expelled by his own monastery. And the Dalai Lama? Revered and loved the world over (except by the NKT and the CCP) for his message of peace, love and compassion. Awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

      • dorjeshugdentruth says:

        Geshe Kelsang was ‘expelled’ because he dared to disagree with the Dalai Lama over Dorje Shugden. The explusion was meaningless (how do you expel someone who’s not there anymore?) was a completely political action.

        It’s not Geshe Kelsang vs. the Dalai Lama as both Teachers have something positive to contribute to teaching Dharma in this world. Why does everything have to be a competition? We should rejoice in the teaching actions of both.

        • Geshe Kelsang was ‘expelled’ because he dared to disagree with the Dalai Lama over Dorje Shugden

          This is not really correct. There were different reasons: first of all his harsh speech against the Dalai Lama which was felt as being inappropriate for a Buddhist monk who is a member of the Sera Monastic Seat, one of the Gelug’s main monastic seats, which sees the Dalai Lama as their supreme spiritual leader; and because Tibetans and some Westerners understand that Kelsang Gyatso took initiations from HH the Dalai Lama who then is his Varja Master and in such a context the defaming speech (the Dalai Lama as the enemy of Buddhism, a “ruthless dictator” an “oppressor of his own people” etc) by KG is completely inappropriate (but not criticism in general) and deludes the purity of the monastic seat (which is also expressed in the “Sera Expulsion Letter”), which I included already in the post above. Another reason was that he took control of Manjushri Institute which was run by Lama Yeshe/FPMT and as the letter says that Kelsang Gyatso “usurped the FPMT centre and made it his own NKT”. This is related to the major rules of a monk who should not take what was not given to him. Because there was no act of giving of that centre to KG by Lama Yeshe—in which KG was invited as one of two resident teachers—this action too was seen as inappropriate for a Buddhist monk. (for the full story see Kay’s research 1997 & 2004). In fact KG wrote also a very polemical letter to all the Tibetans which upset the Exile community too. (see Sakya scholar Dhongthog Rinpoche’s reply*) The “Sera Expulsion Letter” also reports about complaints Westerners made about KG. Finally the amount of all these actions by KG, were felt by the monastic authorities, Buddhist masters, the abbots, and fellow monks as completely inappropriate behaviour for a Buddhist monk; and this led to his expulsion. So there were a bunch of activities on GKG’s own side which led to his expulsion.

          Again NKT / NKT followers want to offer a simplified and incorrect version of the events. You can do that on your own blogs or “truth”-sites but not here.

          *The Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word by Tenpai Gyaltsan Dhongthog

    • Hi Zopa Dechen, thank you for your contributions!

      I know from another source that Geshe-la himself gave the order that only fully devoted students can become members of the charity trusts in each country, and all others should be replaced by totally devoted followers. This policy was installed when the Kadampa Hotels project was established because there were too many doubts about this business project within NKT. But since Geshe-la didn’t want discussions (as usual) he made this new rule which was then spread to the core leadership of each centre.
      In one case this let to the situation that when a ‘semi-devoted’ person got sick and went to hospital, though nobody from NKT visited her, they used the opportunity, to strip her from membership of that NKT centre and replaced her by a 100%-devotee.
      Also—as far as I know—not only Lucy J but also Björn C, James B. were removed from position as soon as they didn’t do what KG demanded. From all reports, my own witness I got the impression he installs and removes teachers, directors, secretary etc as he wishes, nobody is secure in his or her position and can be removed at any time by him alone, or he protects them from consequences like in the case of Neil E. and Steven W. This is autocrat leadership but not democracy. I think the list of arbitrary removed power figures in NKT because they weren’t devoted enough to his commands will be quite long.

  7. Zopa Dechen says:

    Interesting how nearly EVERYONE from the NKT who posts ANYWHERE on the internet is anonymous. Who ‘is’ Wisdom Moon? You say that the NKT addresses issues ‘if you write to them’ and there is no secrecy. But you have a ‘secret’ identity.

    Wisdom Books is a book distributor. Again, you compare it to Tharpa, which is just a publisher for Kelsang Gyatso’s books. You are comparing objects that are not comparable.

    Could you please give an example of NKT ‘accountability’.
    It betrays an ignorance of the history of Buddhism to say that ‘the pure tradition’ ‘introduced into the west’ by Kelsang Gyatso. These teachings were available in Britain before Kelsang Gyatso arrived. He arrived at Manjushri as an invited teacher, not as a lone pioneer.

    • Wisdom Moon says:

      I write one post – you write three, and so it goes on…the endless debate and disagreement, going nowhere.

      My reason for writing on this blog is to point out the sectarian nature of an article like this. If you don’t like NKT – fine, no problem, but why can’t you let people who are benefiting greatly from NKT’s teachings and activities continue without criticism? I believe in ‘live and let live’ – did the Buddha encourage criticism of Mahayana traditions? No, actually it’s a downfall of the bodhisattva vows.

      This article attests greatly to the level of political pollution in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s simply a continuation of the infighting and backbiting between different traditions out of intolerance and jealousy, something that should have been left behind in Tibet and is going to seriously hinder the spread of Dharma in the world in this modern age.

      • WM you are spinning the facts all the time. Did the Buddha say ignore wrong developments in Buddhism? Did the Buddha recommend to take refuge in spirits? NKT claim to be ‘pure Gelugpas’, so if Gelugpas criticize other Gelugpas what has this to do with sectarianism? Or do you think you are ‘pure Gelugpas’ and others are ‘impure Gelugpas’ and while it is correct for your to criticize ‘impure Gelugpas’ it is inappropriate that ‘impure Gelugpas’ criticize ‘pure Gelugpas’ (NKT)?

        When HH the Dalai Lama criticizes wrong developments in his own school what is that which constitutes sectarianism in this? There is nothing sectarian in this. Sectarianism is defined as having attachment to the own school and aversion towards other schools, usually such beliefs lead to the belief that the own school is superior to others, and a lot of pride, hate and attachment come up in a sectarian mind setting. It is not against the Bodhisattva vows to give others protection. To protect others from traps is actual the generosity of giving fearlessness.

        But I agree we circle, there is always circling when one discusses with NKT followers, hence some suggested to stop wasting time to do that.

        Can you see your own contradictions in what you demand from others but do not do yourself? NKT claim to be distinct different from Tibetan Buddhism, now if you claim about “political pollution in Tibetan Buddhism”, aren’t you criticizing other traditions and “actually it’s a downfall of the bodhisattva vows.”?

        Actual the circle, I think, is in your mind. Mind circling is much common in rather destructive NRMs. Maybe we stop here.

  8. william park says:

    i am following, or trying to follow, the teachings in books as published by the NKT. my first connection with the NKT was in 1995, well, technically, 1992. i think, when organisations become large, and when many people are involved, there are bound to be some who become unhappy.

    i read widely, in many areas, but i am increasingly aware that time is short, so it is wonderful that teachings are available in such clear and concise forms. so, my experience of the NKT is this: that it is not for everyone, but in my case, i have never before encountered a tradition which has presented me so clearly with methods which have definitely led to times of inner peace and a reduction in negative thinking.

    to me, this is wonderful, and a wonderful opportunity in this short, short life.

    • That’s funny, “…a reduction in negative thinking.” Really? Except, of course when it comes to all the anger, vitriol, and hatred leveled continually by the NKT at HHDL.

  9. Robert Thomas says:

    Dear jigje

    As strongly different as our views are, I think its unfair of you to assume that as Buddhists we in the NKT think there is a caveat that says “love everyone except the Dalai Lama” or “Anger is to be abandoned except with respect to the Dalai Lama”. Of course not – and I don’t imagine for a moment that your intentions or anyone on this thread has intentions other than what Buddha taught even though you express strong words and critiscism of our lineage, practice and tradition.

    We in the NKT practice patience and love to solve the inner problem of Anger that could easily arise from the harsh words and actions of the Dalai lama towards our beliefs and our Monks and Nuns, our temples and shrines, our teachers and lineage gurus. So inwardly we practice love and patience, outwardly, with a mind we believe is controled by these inner dharmas, we engage in actions we hope will stop what we understand to be negative and harmful.

    Did you think it was wrong to protest and write letters, get news items etc to try and stop the Taliban destroying the Buddha statues in Afghanistan? For us the Dalai Lama’s actions are simillar – so we use peaceful and legal means to try to stop him.

    I know many people, like you, have a different conclusion than us. They think it is we who practice Dorje Shugden or who practice within the NKT, that create harm, so naturally with a good intention they create web sites like this one to try and stop us. So as Buddhists we behave in more or less the same way – but just towards different objects, yet with simillar motives.

    In the end then I hope that despite our clear differnces of opinion, it is still possible to respect the sincerity and integrity of one another’s intentions.

    with very best wishes


  10. Robert Thomas says:

    Just to illustrate our perspective here is an interesting post from the Western Shugden Society.


    Of course it is tremendously sad that we feel these actions are necessary and that because of this people like you and I can’t talk and support each other as brothers, which is, after all what we really are! Only at the moment I think we need some family counselling ;-))

    • Robert, really. For me your link is a joke but not a perspective.

      The site starts: “Why we are exposing the Dalai Lama. We love the Dalai Lama.” reading this I can not help myself than laughing and stopping to read it.

      For you / WSS a person who loves another person calls that person in a international world wide campaign a hypocrite, liar, ruthless dictator, cruel, evil, safron robed muslim, a fraud who did not understand Buddhism, pretends to be a holy being, has stolen the teachings from his ‘root guru’, the wrong Dalai Lama etc. All those accusations are based on love and they have nothing to do with delusions but love (and wisdom)?
      I would call the claim or belief that these accusations are based on love ‘to cheat oneself.’ And in this analysis, I think, this time the wise would agree with me.
      Actual there is no master who follows KG but there are plenty of genuine masters who speak of HH the Dalai Lama in highest esteem and veneration.

      • Robert Thomas says:

        Dear Tenpel,

        Of course that is your perspective because you don’t see any fault, harm or needless suffering in or as having come from the Dalai Lama’s actions.

        I find your view naive and self deceiving, I say how can you be so blind, so proud? How can you stand by and allow this suffering? How can you support and perpetuate it? – you think the same of me!

        How sad!

        All the best


        • Yes it is the suffering of a child who has a beloved toy but later the mother finds out that the toy is made of poisonous substances and takes it away to protect the child.
          Some children understand this, and can accept this as a compassionate action, some can not understand nor accept this. those who do not understand might cry, some elder children even might go to court to sue the mother. which has been done by Kundeling Lama and the Indian based Shugden Society, but actual the Indian court found all those accusations baseless, this is a legal statement by independent judges. Still NKT/WSS continue to spread wrong accusations and you voice into that chorus.

          For me it is not sad that we both have a different point of view, I can accept that.
          I know that type of thinking NKT followers have very well from my own experience. I have recognized that the mentality behind it is infused by wrong views, wrong claims, pride, hostility, sectarianism etc, and a total absent of the teachings of dependent arising, the core of Buddhas teachings. Hence, finally I have renounced this and nobody can fool me with claims like those spread by WSS/GKG that the Shugden problem is solely created by the Dalai Lama alone. This is blindness. To understand dependent arising of that complex process is not blindness. You decide what you and whom you follow. I don’t follow teachers who teach the opposite of dependent arising and teach that single persons are guilty alone and oneself is completely innocent and has never done anything wrong.

          All the best for you too, Robert.

      • Robert Thomas says:

        Hey Tenzin! Nice to hear from you :-)

        I really admire the way you’ve had the courage and patience to be true to your deepest convictions. And i rejoice in the way you use dependent relationship to abandon dualistic views that cause only suffering. Thank you for showing that example.

        I don’t however for one moment accept your view that dependent relationship is not taught and practiced in NKT! That’s simply laughable :-))

        I also don’t accept that the Dalai Lama’s analysis of the nature of Dorje Shugden is superior to my own lineage Gurus analysis and experience. But we both no that’s not an argument either side can ever establish categorically; so wouldn’t it be nice to respect each others different views and simply rejoice in the good qualities our different teachers and teachings do display

        I like to think that’s how it was in that mythical time before the Dalai Lama decided that he knew best for everyone!

        Always with best wishes


  11. It is a very good point that was brought up here. I know for example that in FPMT retreat land is being developed in the USA to provide free housing for senior sangha and laypeople who have provided minmum 10 years service for the organization. I’ve met several senior monks and nuns who are elderly but receive room and board free at centres in India and Europe in recognition of their service.
    I know that also in Shambhala senior monks and nuns live rent free and with food provided at Gampo abbey, for example.
    In a Chinese monastery where I stayed in the USA part of the duties of novices was to prepare food and take care of the elderly sangha members.
    It seems that GKG wants to keep the obedience of his Sangha even into future lifetimes (saying that ordination vows continue after death, a completely new development). But NKT doesn’t even want to provide basic necessities for lifelong practitioners in this lifetime. An interesting paradox!
    The way to judge the integrity of an orgazation is not to see merely how the young and able are embraced, but how the old and infirm who dedicated their lives to the “cause”, if you will, are supported when they are ill or elderly.

    • DudeLookLikeALady says:

      The excuse is always “that is not the purpose of the center”. Yet NKT expects its members to
      recruit new members under the guise of “gaining merit”.

      A direct quote from a 10-year NKT member from a conversation on the evening of Dec. 26, 2010:
      “Of course it’s a business, it has to compete with other religions.”

  12. I don’t however for one moment accept your view that dependent relationship is not taught and practiced in NKT! That’s simply laughable :-))

    ‘The sole source of all these problems is the Dalai Lama’, this has been said by Geshe-la different times and this is said on the WSS website. I witnessed him also personally applying this “understanding” and I read it in his statements to the press. When he has some problems he starts to blame others and speaks himself and NKT free of any fault. Of course NKT followers then comply to this “understanding” and say the same things—as one can witness here on the blog and elsewhere. Facts can be laughable but are still facts.

    Theory and practice in NKT are two different issues. We also do not talk here in this post about the Dalai Lama or a certain being by some called a ‘protector’ by some a ‘demonic force’, we are talking about the experiences people had in NKT.

    Thank you for your contribution but please lets stick to the topic.

  13. Wisdom Moon says:

    ‘Will I be cared for in my old age?’ – this is nothing but a worldly concern. Atisha and his followers didn’t have such concerns. It’s a privilege to be able to serve all living beings and the merit you get from dedicating yourself to others is its own reward, otherwise if you’re working for an organization with hope and expectation that they will take care of you, it’s nothing but a business transaction like regular employment; there’s no sincerity in that. I’m not aware of anyone in the NKT who has sincerely served others and has not been provided with what they need. Furthermore, Buddha dedicated all his merit that would have enabled him to take many rebirths as a Chakravartin King so that sincere practitioners would never go hungry. We need to follow the teachings, trust the Guru and Three Jewels and everything will work out. If we don’t believe what Buddha taught, how we call ourself Buddhist?

  14. Robert Thomas says:

    Dear Wisdom moon

    I agree with you that to become ordained or to perform other virtuous acts in expectation of material recompense is to dilute the sincerity of the action and such thoughts are certainly contrary to renunciation or universal compassion.

    However there are other perspectives to this point which are not necessarily opposed to and in fact support or enable people to sincerly engage in virtuous activity.

    First in a very simple way I would like to share my observation that many people paid to do jobs in all areas, can be seen to be extremely sincere. I understand sincerity in thus sense to be the wonderful qualities of dedication, focus, honesty, attention to detail, working in harmony with colleagues and really caring that what is done is done to the best of ones abilities. My experience is that I have much to learn from such people. The money they earn is definately a secondary factor and only serves a practical purpose. Often to support friends, family members etc. And not themselves becoming a burden. I think Geshe-la also encourages this.

    So my second specific point is that we in the NKT should also wish to support and enable sincere practitioners to give the inconcievable gift of sharing the Dharma realisations they seek to develop for the benefit of others. To do this we need to be able to offer practical support, just as the people I described earlier need money for practical necessity, not to ignite their sincerity. Also, as it is the special understing of Buddhists that Dharma jewels ar the very best way to help people solve their problems and find true happiness, it is of course we who should shoulder the responsibility of supporting the community who can share these jewels, and treasuring, and repaying their kindness by caring for them if they become sick or destitute.

    I see that throughout Buddha’s life, he encouraged lay practitioners to support and help the ordained sangha by giving material things. Geshe-la also explains the tremendous benefits of such activity and of course the NKT also shows this example and I agree with you that in my experience sincere practitioners are always able to find such practical help from our community of Dharma students when it is needed. We also sysematically sponsor teachers and resident center staff such as the Education Programme Co-ordinators etc.

    Personally I rejoice in the merit and virtue of the FPMT program described by Khedrup and trust to the sincerity of thier sangha, that the action will bear profound fruits of happiness. It may not be exactly the style of NKT, but I can’t see that we have any disagreement with the intention and principals behind it.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts

    With very best wishes


  15. An organization that promises nothing to members who have served for years shows a tremendous lack of compassion. According to your statement, for people to worry about such things is worldly concern. So, what, the people have to then turn to the taxpayer to support through government benefits instead? The organization’s responsibility becomes the taxpayers’ responsibility?
    I guess that monasteries that try to care for people in old age are wrong, then, it’s just worldly conern, right? Not an honest,compassionate wish to want to repay the kindness of those who have served in the organization.
    I know several stories of NKT members who in their old age or sickness were not cared for, including a nun in North America who had to move into public housing and go on welfare after “serving the guru” for many years.
    I think it shows a lack of compassion in the organization. If caring for devoted students is considered a worldy concern it’s all too convenient. Just have them work a daily job, give us as much money as possible, and then dress up in robes and be “monks and nuns”. Is this the ideal that is being strived for?
    And by the way, the Buddha said that those who follow the Vinaya will never go hungry. But since NKT (by its own admission) doesn’t follow the vinaya… does it still apply?

    • Well said, well said, Khedrup.
      Also the third type of Bodhisattva Ethic of helping sentient beings says clearly that one must repay the help and kindness one received either in at least the equal portion of help one received or better would be to pay back the kindness by giving even more. But NKT’s thinking is: NKT is kind to allow people to work for the organisation and helping them to accumulate so much merit, there is no need that NKT has to repay kindness but devotees should be grateful to NKT for such a great opportunity. The NKT applies the teachings only one sided and in a distorted way: what helps the NKT to grow and expand is taught and good, but that NKT has to do something for their members in return too is then worldly concern only and to be abandoned. A one way road only, no compassion as you said, no gratitude either.

      Everything which benefits the organisation should be done, everything were the organisation has to take responsibility and even pay for is to be avoided. While it is good for NKT members to give all their money and savings to NKT and even to “inspire” their relatives to give all their money and even their will(!) (which of course is not the negative action of covetousness but done out of concern for the worldly family members who would other wise spend the savings only for worldly concerns) there is no need to be concerned for older members or sick members of the community because due to their good practice and good karma—which devotees could accumulate by the kindness of NKT—all things will work out well for them, and if not, it is because they didn’t practice well, had impure motivations, worldly concerns or did not practice purely or have not enough faith; or NKT then say simply “it is a purification process for you.”

      Buddhism gone totally astray.

      BTW, more dogmatic crazyness you can watch here:

      • Wisdom Moon says:

        Hi TP,

        Your view of NKT is all distorted. NKT never says that people should be grateful to work for the organization. Have you ever wondered why NKT should expand? Who’s benefiting? All living beings, that’s who! You make NKT sound like a business, but it’s not. It’s a Buddhist organization whose sole purpose is to bring the blessings of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha into people’s lives. I’m happy for all genuine Buddhist organizations to expand because it makes this world a better place, as much as a samsaric place can be, anyway.

        There is no pressure put on anyone to give their money to NKT, if they do, it’s their choice. NKT is a charitable organization fully endorsed by the Charity Commission whose comments were incorporated into the NKT Internal Rules – it’s not unusual for charity to receive donations, but you make it sound like someone strange whereas it’s totally legitimate.

        As for dogmatic craziness, it’s not dogmatic craziness to force people to abandon their spiritual practice and basically outlaw it? Please get things in perspective :-)

        • Carol McQuire says:

          I wonder that you say that the NKT is ‘fully endorsed by the Charity Commission’! I am sure that recent events relating to Maitreya Centre now make this statement untenable.

    • Wisdom Moon says:

      Hi Khedrub,

      I think you misunderstood what I was saying. The FPMT caring for people in old age is commendable, I was not saying it was a worldly concern as you will see if you read my response to Robert. I’m not criticising FPMT or even those who work for the organization. The point I’m making is that there should be no expectation and that those who work sincerely for the benefit of others will be supported by their good karma.

      Of course NKT follows the Vinaya because it’s simply the practice of moral discipline. The function of the Vinaya is to enable us to gain control over our mind and actions. Lamrim, which is the heart of Kadampa Buddhism is the real Vinaya as it enables the practitioner to control their mind and actions. If someone thinks that the Vinaya is a book, or simply a list of rules governing physical and verbal behaviour or one of the three baskets of Buddha’s teachings, they don’t really understand the Vinaya or its function. I do think this misunderstanding is quite common.

      • Carol McQuire says:

        This reminds me of the parents who would go into teachings with Gyatso and leave their young children outside saying that ‘Dorje Shugden will look after them’! If a person has spent 40 or more years of their life as a Resident Teacher then surely it is justified for the NKT to pay for a pension for that person!!! Considering the property portfolio all over the world that the NKT now possesses, surely there would easily be funds to support elderly monks and nuns who have taught NKT Dharma all their lives? Some of these people have very little money – others will have investments, family money, etc that they can use. It is so deeply worrying that it will necessitate the elderly monks and nuns staying as close as possible to NKT Dharma so that they can depend on the kindness of Gyatso’s followers. I have known several NKT monks and nuns stay ordained because they received this help. (They told me this themselves) And they will teach as long as possible (even when they may have reached an age at which they should be resting or on retreat) so as not to lose the Resident Teacher’s stipend.

    • Jay Valentine says:

      I am writing about the NKT and am currently looking into the tendency to depend on government benefits. Would you be willing to share additional details about thee subject?

  16. Wisdom Moon says:

    Hello Robert,

    You have my admiration for always being clear, logical and even handed in your posts. The point I was making was that through the merit of their reliance on the Three Jewels NKT practitioners are supported. There are two aspects here: the attitude of the person who is working for NKT and the organization itself. What I was saying is that, if you work for any spiritual organization with the expectation that they will care for you in your old age, that is a worldly concern and something to be avoided. From the point of view of the organization, they have to examine whether they feel a debt of gratitude towards those who help the organization and how that should be expressed. It’s true that those in important jobs are modestly sponsored and I think this is wonderful because it enables those who really want to help centres to be given what they need without their wasting their merit by being given more than they need, or not being able to work for the centre because they need to get a regular job. I think it’s a perfect system. I agree with you that the FPMT system is wonderful, different to NKT but I don’t doubt the principles and intention behind it is sincere.

  17. Now even business people complain about NKT:


    $2.4 million…

    • What is unfortunate here is that the NKT, by their actions like this one out in the secular world, is giving Buddhism a bad name.

      “….not entitled to change its mind with impunity.” I couldn’t help but thinking, when I read this, that Geshe Gyatso and the NKT have done nothing BUT act with impunity. So, this is not a one-off as they say, but standard operating procedure for a very long time.

  18. Robert Thomas says:

    I was surprised to hear that Geshe Kelsang gave a course at Lama Tzongkhapa Institute in Italy. And after checking I now doubt very strongly that the author of your book is correct in his recollection. Certainly niether of the two close students of Geshe-la, people who have been with him since his arrival to UK, who I checked with have any recollection of such a visit. I will ask The author to corroborate his claims.

  19. Your quote from my book contains at least one typo and several small mistranscriptions. I’ve appended the original and hope you will correct it. I’d also be most appreciative if you’d append my quote with a link to the book’s website at http://www.thenovice.ca.
    Scientists aren’t the only ones with an agenda. In England, the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) has emerged as a player in the Dolgyal affair, a vocal opposition to the Dalai Lama and a cult to be reckoned with. Its founder, the Sera Jey monk Kelsang Gyatso, was installed as a spiritual advisor for Lama Yeshe’s Manjushri Institute back in the early eighties, and promptly commandeered it. That Tibetan imagery and lore can be turned to such forms isn’t at all surprising, but its growth is astonishingly so. The NKT is firmly established in more than two dozen countries, with assets running into the hundreds of millions. Back in 1982, I translated a seven-day course for Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in the Lama Tzongkhapa Institute in Italy. I found him a pedantic teacher and an irascible man, one of very few Tibetan teachers to whom I took a visceral dislike.
    I’ve corresponded with several NKT members who initially took up arms against my provocative little web page on the topic. In the end, they admitted that they were in search of a sympathetic ear, and ultimately a way out. This is a guilt-driven rather than a military-style cult, making its web both insidious and sticky. Rather than challenging its members, it’s best to ask about their allegiance and let them formulate their rationalizations out loud. Given time, the skilful design of the Buddha’s teachings seems able to penetrate even such convoluted trips.
    The Novice [p331] by Stephen Schettini; Greenleaf Bookgroup, 2009

    • Thank you very much Stephen. I added the correction. The link to both websites, to your personal website as well as to the book website is there right from the beginning and comes before the quote.

      Please excuse the small errors, someone sent it to me and I only checked the correctness and page number with Google Books but I didn’t check spelling & grammar. very best, tenzin

  20. Mathew stewart says:


    I am a novice lay practictioner of 3 years. I read this post and all the comments and it made me want to cry. We should be rejoicing in our opportunity to practice buddhism, not wasting vital mental energy and creating further bad karma by critising each other.

    I am a NKT practicioner, Geshla has brought great meaning to my life and has created a presentation of Buddhism which I can understand and work with (I have read other presentations as well which I found more difficult to understand and apply). My mind today is still rough and untammed but compared with 3 years ago there is no comparison. No one at NKT has ever pressured me about anything, I have only ever had kindness and help in my practice; and then been left to practice at my own pace. My heart is full of love and gradititude for Geshla who has brought great meaning to my life. I have nothing against the Dalai Lama, and have not entered into the debate, nor have I been hassled by NKT practitioners to do so.

    I am as I said a novice, but Geshla’s teachings must be authentic as I can see progress, and can feel blessings at empowerments and teachings. I am starting to realise that many students of Geshlas have high realisations. I am not interested in the politics, just greatful to have such a wonderful opportunity to continue to practice buddha’s teachings. Thankyou all the lineage guru’s for your kindness.

    Please let this fighting stop and lets all just practice in peace, angers only function is to harm.

    • Dear Mathew, fine that you are happy in NKT. I had the same benefits initially as you describe them and used them too to underline that NKT is an authentic path. However, there are some grave faults – mainly elitism, sectarianism, wrong views and an extreme, naive pride – poisons that unfold their effects only gradually. The situation is a bit like hungry dogs getting poisonous meat. In the beginning the meat satisfies their hunger but gradually the poison starts to harm. At a point there is benefit (not being hungry) and harm (being poisoned) at the same time, finally the poison takes one over. The situation within NKT is similar. When the poison of pride, elite thinking and sectarianism, gets stronger and more confusion arise NKT will tell “this is your negative karma” or “a purification”. People writing here (or in the New Kadampa Survivors Forum) have experienced the harm and they don’t turn a blind eye on it but speak up.

      I don’t know what is fighting and anger in speaking out harm one received or making others aware of the disadvantages of NKT. The many people who have lost faith in the teachings of Buddha due to the NKT and have given up the Dharma totally are worth your tears too.

      • Carol McQuire says:

        The reason you find the teachings ‘easy to understand’ is that they are highly simplified. Buddhist teachings are complex and sophisticated – there are 2,000 years of scholarship – in the NKT this is reduced to 22 books and none of the teachers are allowed to study anything else! Just imagine – they can never read the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni – the sutras – or the works of Je Tsongkhapa even though they say they possess the only ‘pure Dharma of Je Tsongkhapa’. The contradictions are immense. You probably have no knowledge of other Buddhist groups, not necessarily British but Tibetans teaching in the UK to know what a genuine relationship with a spiritual guide is like. You cannot go and discuss your spiritual life with Gyatso -he is simply not available! Compare this to the astonishing teaching programme the Dalai Lama gives – I suggest you listen to the many free teachings on http://www.dalailama.com to find out what the Dharma could be for you.

        And most importantly, the good feelings you have will have come from previous practice in other lives (know the teaching that says – look at your life now to see what you did in the past?) and from practising moral discipline, giving, etc. This is the Buddhist path but unfortunately Gyatso and his organisation have mixed many other things with the Dharma. Of course the NKT has good aspects – otherwise why would you be there – but the fall out and suffering he has created is immense – there is such a rift in the Dharma in the UK because of this.

        I and many other friends were deeply traumatised by our experiences in this group and it is the responsibility of a Bodhisattva to state that there is harm where harm exists. We do not say these things lightly.

        • Lineageholder says:

          Hi Carol,

          NKT teachings are simplified, yes, but that’s to make them practical. There’s a lot of scholarship in Buddhism but being a scholar doesn’t liberate you from suffering. You can have difficult to understand and impossible to practice teachings if you like, be my guest! You can receive as many teachings on Commentary to Valid Cognition as you like, but the point is we need something easy and practical to end our suffering quickly. Modern Buddhism is a presentation of Dharma for busy people with many responsibilities who want to solve their human problems and none of the profundity or sophistication of Buddha’s teachings is missing.

          I’m happy that you’ve found your path with the Dalai Lama, but why interfere with other people’s paths by casting aspersions? Why engage in sectarian actions? Surely it’s better to let people follow their path and get on with your own? This whole anti-NKT thing is so old, it’s time for people to move on and stop focusing on their pasts.

          • Maybe a bit more scholarship in the Vinaya and Tantras would have helped to avoid that both of Kelsang Gyatso’s successors – one of them a fully ordained monk – engaged in sexual relationships? Or were it more “practical” to engage in these sexual relationships? “You can have difficult to understand and impossible to [understand] teachings [and practice] if you like, be my guest!”

            “You can receive as many teachings on [Kelsang Gyatso’s books] as you like, but the point is we need [to understand first the teachings before we can engage in] something easy and practical to end our suffering quickly. [NKT’s self-proclaimed] “Modern Buddhism” is a [superficial] presentation of Dharma for busy people with many responsibilities who want to solve their human problems [in a quick and easy way – or “in your armchair”, as Geshe-la has put it] and [a lot] none of the profundity or sophistication of Buddha’s teachings is missing.”

            “I’m happy that you’ve found your path with the [Kelsang Gyatso], but why interfere with other people’s paths by casting aspersions? Why engage in sectarian actions? Surely it’s better to let people follow their path and get on with your own? This whole anti-[Tibetan Buddhism and anti-Dalai Lama] thing is so old, it’s time for people to move on and stop focusing on their pasts.”

            BTW. I fully agree with what Carol and John said. This type of reply is just a game for me: I use your NKT-add and polemics and turn it around. I think it doesn’t lead us any where to post comments like this.

            • Lineageholder says:

              That’s just your distortion Tenpel, which you’re welcome to. All the best for your spiritual practice, I’ve had my say :)

          • maybe less polemical and more food for thoughts:

            »The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an inner voice, but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with his own heart … And if the sheer force of his own self-confidence communicates to itself to other people and gives them the impression that he really is a saint, such a man can wreck a whole city or a religious order or even a nation. The world is covered with scars that have been left in its flesh by visionaries like these.«

            Thomas Merton

            • Lineageholder says:

              You’ve just described the Dalai Lama. He rejected his Teacher’s views and so he is guided by nobody, unlike Geshe Kelsang who is following his Teacher’s views and is therefore guided by the Lineage.

              • Sorry, but you are wrong, LH – but I fear you cannot admit nor see it.

                The Dalai Lama has many teachers (plural) as also Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa had many. The Dalai Lama prostrates not only to (or venerates) dead teachers (who cannot oppose him) but also living teachers. He still requests and receives teachings from living masters. The Dalai Lama lives among the wise and learned and he is venerated by the wise and learned. He also did a proper Geshe examination and is a Geshe Lharampa. The Dalai Lama is also actively opposed by many and has to live with this – not only with respect to Shugden but also other views, e.g. Bhikshuni ordination […]

                Contrary to this, Kelsang Gyatso lives isolated from all living masters and teachers for about 20 years. He lives in an isolated world of less knowledgeable (naive) Western followers. He has not even mentioned to them that his main teacher is Geshe Lhundup Sopa and that he himself went to the US in the beginning of his stay in the West to serve his teacher, Geshe Lhundup Sopa. KG cut all connections and isolated himself. And by today he could not clarify what type of Geshe degree he has. However, he claims Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche said this or that – however, Trijang Rinpoche is dead since many years (KG has only received some teachings and empowerments from Trijang Rinpoche) and Trijang Rinpoche’s incarnation is not accepted by Kelsang Gyatso either. So KG can do what he likes. Nobody can object or oppose him. He is the sole king in his NKT kingdom with 22 NKT books, NKT temples, NKT centres, NKT teachers, NKT hotels, NKT cafes. […]

                The difference between HHDL and KG couldn’t be bigger. From that pov of course the Dalai Lama must be wrong (for you).

                When I understand you correctly it is a grave fault to reject your teachers’ view(s) [again plural]? It is not.
                Also Atisha rejected the view of Serlingpa with respect to emptiness. Its a common and correct practice of Buddhist practitioners to accept only teachings and practices which they have proved to be valid. There are many stories about this. See the comment here.

                You can also see – if you wish to see – how the holy masters have mutual respect for each other:

                If you are interested, don’t miss the other parts of this moving video.

                Unlike NKT tells you, one can have many teachers, and many root gurus. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was ‘only’ one of two tutors the Dalai Lama had, the younger one, ond ‘only’ one of his many great teachers. The Dalai Lama has many root gurus. Though NKT editors were keen to remove this from Wikipedia, and inserted that the only one root guru of the Dalai Lama were Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, it’s still a fact that the Dalai Lama has many root gurus, and that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is ‘just’ one of them. Unlike NKT claims (e.g. the “green brain” claim) the Dalai Lama has of course great respect for Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche but he doesn’t accept his and Pabonkha Rinpoche’s view on Shugden [see footnote 90 here]. There is nothing wrong with this approach – accept for NKT followers and some fanatics who think Guru devotion would mean to become a sheep and an obedient slave of the guru.

                BTW, Je Tsongkhapa gave also many examples of rejecting many of his teachers’ [plural] views. e.g. while Rendawa didn’t accept Kalachakra Tantra as being authentic, Je Tsongkhpa accepted it as being authentic. (There are more cases similar to this.) But according to your view it follows: Je Tsongkhapa “rejected his Teacher’s views and so he is guided by nobody.”

                If you can, a reading of Je Tsongkhapa’s biography might be very useful. There you find also that Je Tsongkhapa had no problem to give to one student at the same occasion Mahamudra teachings from the Kagyue school and then Lam Dre teachings from the Sakya school. He was an utter non-sectarian master who questioned everything and everybody, who was also utter critical with views of his teachers – very often he disagreed with them.

                Since you are not here engaging on the blog to investigate things but to spread NKT pov, there is no basis for sincere discussion with you. That’s why no further comment will be approved. You had your say – as you said yourself. Thank you.

                (I don’t say this to convince you, LH, but for some people new to NKT who are still open to see and to question things. Thank you for this opportunity and all the best.)

  21. john swainson says:

    Read the history Matthew.
    You say are ‘starting to realise that many students of Geshlas have high realisations’. My question is, how do you know?
    Many people admired the ‘profound’ teachings given by the previous ‘highly realised’ holders of the post Gen La. A bit, (excuse the pun), like finding horsemeat in your burger!

  22. Ignorance is bliss in the naivety of youth and inexperience
    In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king

  23. Note:
    The videos made by xtranormal Buddhist about her experiences as a nun in the NKT are currently only available under YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyioONrBQPXSf832XN6iiUw?feature=watch

    The links in the post were updated.

  24. I’ll post this here for NKT followers who are confused about why their tradition may be seen as it is by outsiders and ex-members. I’ll also add it as a comment here as it should help ex-NKT members better understand what it is that is so troubling about the organisation:

    Critical thinking, creativity & the problem with beliefs: The NKT, Rigpa and SGI

  25. “Feet of Clay: Study of Gurus” by Anthony Storr


    Amazon Review:

    Avoid the NKT and read this book!
    Having lived in a Buddhist centre that slowly revealed itself to be a cult I think book is invaluable – in the NKT (New Kadampa Tradition) one learns that the most important thing in the world is to promote the organisation and that dissent or questioning is to be silenced – I, for one, was placed ‘on coventry’ and other residents (previous friends) instructed not to speak to me or face censure themselves. In the States someone was killed for simply belonging to another order. One can see the shadow side of Buddhism operating now in Burma where a predominant Buddhist school has a penchant for clearing Muslims out of certain areas – involving the burning of their property, routine murder and the dissemination of posters akin to those in nazi Germany comparing non Buddhists as akin to rats (don’t take my word for it – it’s all over the net and there was feature recently on C4 news). The Dalai Lama seems a relatively benign Buddhist leader and I wonder to what extent his having very limited power has contributed to his benign myth – if he still was ensconced in Tibet he would be the head of a feudal kingdom with absolute power and more prey to the seductions of veneration. What is fascinating is that like worker ants the members of the NKT (who previous had popped in for a bit of meditation and sympathy) run around working for the organisation for nothing, paying exorbitant fees for various ‘transmissions’ and residential teachings. A few seem to benefit financially – like the venerable monk at the spiritual apex of the Brighton centre who had his hand in the till and had run up 5k on his own Bodhisattva credit card with £300 night stays in Amsterdam before running off with the nun he’d been knocking up. The higher despots are placed the greater their ability to s*** on us from a great height.


    • Thank you for calling my attention to this book, Tenzin! I am quite familiar with Anthony Storr, having read his excellent book, Solitude, some decades ago. He is a doctor, a psychiatrist, and a Jungian analyst who brings a lot of insight to his subjects. No doubt the same holds true with this book. My only regret is that he wrote the book back in 1997, still probably a little to early to consider Kelsang Gyatso (and his NKT) for inclusion in his book.


  1. […] an excerpt from the book “The Novice: Why I became a Buddhist Monk …” by Stephen Schettini was posted on this blog. In it Schettini writes about his experience of Kelsang Gyatso and about the New Kadampa […]

  2. […] Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso – Buddhism Controversy Blog […]

  3. […] Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso 2011/01/07 […]

  4. […] list of testimonies see: Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso […]

  5. […] For list of testimonies see: Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso 2011/01/07 […]

  6. […] NKT Agit Prop like Facebook groups and people at Wikipedia who challenge NKT activities and edits. A lot of testimonies by former NKT teachers and NKT students were posted. People wrote testimonies under their real […]

  7. […] For a list of testimonies see: Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso 2011/01/07 […]

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