Power Games from The World of NKT

Maitreya Buddhist Centre

Maitreya Buddhist Centre, Sea Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, District of Rother, England.The NKT Maitreya Centre1– or better the charity trustees of Maitreya Buddhist Centre – allow to get some insights in the power politics within New Kadampa Traditon (NKT).

The common politic within NKT is to remove everybody from power who is not totally in line with the NKT policies. For being removed from the position of a NKT Teacher it was sufficient in the past to recommend a book not written by Geshe Kelsang or to disagree with the protests against the Dalai Lama.

I found the politics within NKT always arbitrary and undemocratic, and Geshe Kelsang as the autocrat par excellence. Usually those power games were rarely documented to the non-NKT world. But the charity trustees of Maitreya Buddhist Centre are courageous enough to reject the NKT power games. To help themselves they involved the Charity Commission. The NKT leadership plays all dirty tricks to get rid of the present charity trustees of Maitreya Buddhist Centre, which includes that John McBretney, the man who signed the “Open Letters to British Political Leaders“, falsely claimed to be the legally valid representative of the members of Maitreya Buddhist Centre. But since this didn’t work NKT now set up a fraudulent website, purporting to be the official site of Maitreya Buddhist Centre, using the charity’s registration number and using its registered address.

For details see: http://maitreyabuddhistcentre.wordpress.com/news and http://maitreyabuddhistcentre.wordpress.com/archives/

No Dharma Books written by NKT teachers

If one looks into the history of NKT one can see that in more than twenty years of NKT’s existence none of the close students of Kelsang Gyatso or any NKT teacher has ever written a Dharma book which reflects or comments on the Dharma.2 I remember that my NKT teacher told me that Neil Elliott, the former appointed successor of Kelsang Gyatso, wrote a book on Karma but it has never been offered within NKT nor could I find a copy of it outside of NKT. I assumed there was some trouble behind the scene, and Neil Elliott was forced to withdraw the book or its publication. It appears that one of the many unwritten rules within NKT is that as long as Kelsang Gyatso is alive none of his followers can write a Dharma book.3 It would be a case of heresy to do so. A recent trial to publish a Dharma book “Where Happiness is” by Nick Gillespie—who was NKT Resident Teacher for decades, in Florida and in the UK—is presently suppressed by NKT with threat of legal actions and by putting a ban on him which ceases the connection of him with all NKT centres, especially the KMC New York City. I wonder why on the 21st July 2009 the Education Council had removed Nick Gillespie from the position of an NKT Resident Teacher already. The year could indicate that he was critical with the Anti Dalai Lama protests but actual I don’t know.

The NKT fighters for religious freedom would do better to improve the NKT’s own oppressive system 😉


1 Update June 12, 2012: “The web domain meditateinbexhill.co.uk has been taken over by Chodor, so although it is still online, it is effectively immobilised and useless, for he has apparently changed the passwords thereby denying the website designer any access to the domain; therefore, please ignore that web domain as it is not relevant at all now.” (see Maitreya News Update on 24.5.2012)

2 Update and Correction, April 30, 2012: There is a translation of Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara by NKT’s printing house Tharpa Publications that names Neil Elliott as the one who “rendered” the translation from Tibetan into English “under the compassionate guidance of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.”

3 Update and Correction, April 30, 2012: Since the public establishment of the “Internal Rules” of NKT around 2008-09 it became an official NKT policy that “9§1. To prevent the development of confusion and disagreement among NKT students, no NKT-IKBU Teacher or Spiritual Director shall write books or other material that contain elements of traditions that differ from the New Kadampa Tradition or that in any way contradict NKT Dharma books.” + “11§3. Since it is heavy negative karma to do so, practitioners of Kadampa Buddhism shall not sell images of Buddhas (such as statues, posters, or cards), stupas, Dharma books or booklets or audio/visual recordings, for their own business and personal profit.”

Update May 17, 2012

Dispute closes Buddhist centre – Local News – Hastings and St. Leonards Observer (PDF)

Update July 17, 2012

Charity Commission and the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) 2012/07/17

Update Sept. 14, 2012