Kadampa Primary School Derbyshire – A Happiness Cult?

The controversial New Kadamapa Tradition (aka Kadampa Buddhism, NKT) is going to run a Primary School in Derbyshire (UK) – “the first in the world to follow the works of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism who established the new Kadampa tradition”.

Well, since they are already in the NHS, chaplaincy work etc. why not getting even kids from the age of 3 to 11 into the NKT? The earlier they are introduced into the group doctrine the better followers they might become, and NKT can grow even further.

Some suggested parents should be alarmed about this development, and I agree with them.

The New Kadampa Tradition is outside of mainstream Buddhism and is accused by former members as well as by critics to be a rather destructive cult (for details see Controversies). Former members of this organisation support each other at the New Kadampa Survivors Forum with presently 1110 members. Someone from this self-help forum compiled the main concerns that former members share:

What should ring the alarm bells for concerned parents?

Be happy, all of the time

The main motto of the school is a classical “happiness cult” issue which is rather common in controversial NRMs or cults:

“Everyone can be happy, all of the time.  Sounds unbelievable?  It’s true!

What is the problem with such an ethos at the heart of the Kadampa Primary School? It’s just unrealistic. Only enlightened beings can be happy all the time. Contrary to what the Buddha has taught (that life is pervaded by the three types of suffering) the NKT is promoting a happiness cult which suggest instead that one can be happy “all of the time”. Through such an attitude the kids might be urged to “be happy” “to behave happy” and they are either directly or indirectly blamed it would be their own fault if they are unhappy, thereby installing feelings of guilt and shame in them. The children might then gradually repress their negative feelings (like anger) to conform with the ethos and they might urge themselves to show happiness even when they are unhappy. Which leads to many kinds of problems. This type of happiness cult and the repression of negative feelings or the denial of them can be found within the NKT (spiritual bypassing). It goes along with a pressure to show happiness to the outside world as a sign of a good (“pure”) Dharma practice. And this happiness cult produces feelings of guilt if one is not happy because this is seen as a sign of a bad Dharma practice – of having failed. This happiness cult culture is already very present within NKT, and the NKT teachers will transfer this culture to the kids with the respective psychological damage. Such a “happiness cult” is extremely unhealthy because it goes along with feelings of guilt, the suppression of feelings and a dissimulation of happiness which is enforced by the group dynamics. It would be by far better to help the children to understand that they cannot be happy all of the time and how to deal in a healthy way with feelings of jealousy, anger, hate, unhappiness, pain and suffering etc., and to accept those feelings as a part of our human life and human nature. Negative emotions must be first accepted as a part of our life and based on this acceptance they can only gradually be diminished, and only an Arhat or Buddha is completely free of them and “happy all of the time”.

Contradictions in the presentation

The “Dharma Scheme of Work Policy”(see Dharma-Policy) states

Dharma Scheme of Work Policy

2012 – 2013

‘The International Kadampa Schools will be the gateway through which children of the modern world can enter the great treasury of wisdom and compassion that is known as Kadam Dharma. I would like to encourage every child to enter this treasury so that they will find a meaningful and happy life’. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

The Dharma Scheme of Work at the Kadampa Primary School Derbyshire is offered as an optional subject and is entirely dependent on parent and pupil choice.  There is one KS2 class weekly and one KS1/FS class weekly.  It’s aims are to provide pupils with the opportunity to begin the process of fulfilling their full spiritual potential.  The essential aspects of how to lead a happier and more meaningful way of life will be taught in a practical ways to ensure the pupils have the necessary skills to deal with all the challenges of life.

We see the Dharma Scheme of Work as an integral part of the education experience as a whole.

Objectives for the children
Children should aspire to be able to:

  • Enjoy the Dharma Scheme of Work.
  • Develop their good qualities by putting Dharma into practice in their lives.
  • Reduce their negative qualities by putting Dharma into practice in their lives.
  • Benefit others by putting Dharma into practice in their lives.
  • Wish to continue practising Dharma throughout their life to benefit both themselves and others.

What are the problems here?

The announcement makes the strategy of the NKT visible. On the one hand it is claimed that the Dharma Scheme of Work would be optional but then it is clearly stated to be an integral part and one should aspire to enjoy the Dharma Scheme of Work. Through this it becomes clear that what was announced in the beginning as optional is finally becoming  compulsory and one is potentially pressured to joyfully submit oneself to this work. This is exactly how NKT is operating: in the beginning rookies are told they don’t need to worry, e.g. they don’t need to be anxious about the HYT commitments and finally after they have received the HYT empowerment (or just some teachings) them is told (directly or indirectly) that “Geshe-la” is now their “root guru” and leaving the root guru will lead one to the hells.

There is another potential danger. The statement above and the influence of the NKT teachers on the kids will make sure that the encounter with the NKT teachings of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and his Western devotees will issue forth a life long commitment to the NKT, Geshe Kelsang Gyatos and his books. The rather innocent appearing point Wish to continue practising Dharma throughout their life means in the context of NKT (and the Kadampa Primary School will be “pure” NKT) that the kids must wish to practice the NKT teachings throughout their life (which is only possible by binding oneself to the NKT). So, the kids must finally (in the deepest sense of the context and meaning) wish and aspire to read and to study exclusively the books about Buddhism written by ‘Geshe’ Kelsang Gyatso, and to rely totally on him, his protector (Shugden), his NKT tradition, his NKT teachers, his NKT ordination, his NKT study programmes, his NKT temples, his NKT centres, his NKT cafes, his NKT hotels … and now also his NKT schools throughout their life. Why? This is the real understanding the NKT teachers will infuse into the minds of the kids. This understanding was well expressed by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso himself in his “bible” on “Guru devotion”:

“Experience shows that realizations come from deep, unchanging faith, and that this faith comes as a result of following one tradition purely – relying upon one Teacher, practising only his teachings, and following his Dharma Protector. If we mix traditions many obstacles arise and it takes a long time for us to attain realizations.” (Kelsang Gyatso: Great Treasury of Merit: A Commentary to the Practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide, 1992, p. 31)

Separate from all government influence and control

And if these hints aren’t sufficient to alert concerned parents maybe this statement by the official Kadampa Primary School Derbyshire website rings some alarm bells:

” … it was decided to create a school separate from all government influence and control”


Update 15 October 2016

Last edited by tenpel on Oct 16, 2016


  1. an old friend says:

    Local leafleting campaign would help, though i expect that the intake will primarily be from NKT converts and centre residents

  2. john swainson says:

    ‘The object of the Centre is to promote the Buddhist faith of the New Kadampa Tradition. The Centre shall work to fulfil its object through the activities of study, practice, teaching and observance of moral discipline based upon the implementation of the three NKT Study Programmes.’
    Also,’Tara is established, organised and operated exclusively for religious purposes’.
    In the Internal Rules we find this. ‘Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Centres is to spread New Kadampa Tradition Buddhism, all the assets shall be used only for this aim.’

    The Charity aims to provide a tranquil environment to enable students to study, practice and observe the moral disciplines as set out in the objects…offering meditation classes to Buddhists and non Buddhists through the three study programmes.’

    They then state
    ‘General Programme is concerned with ‘Basic Buddhist view.’
    The Foundation Programme is when ‘Students deepen their knowledge and faith in Buddhism.’

    The Tara Centre Charity Commission Accounts show this intention. ‘Plans for future periods. In order to further the charity’s objectives…there are plans to develop the first International Kadampa School.’
    The Ethos of the New Kadampa School is they ‘teach the skills of how to be happy, not to turn them (the children) into Buddhists.’

    From their own mouths then we have statements about the purpose of the Charity. Then we have ‘Tara is established, organised and operated exclusively for religious purposes’.
    So, how is a charity with a specific object, ‘exclusively for religious purposes’ establishing a school where the ethos is not to turn the children ‘into Buddhists’?

    • ‘Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Centres is to spread New Kadampa Tradition Buddhism, all the assets shall be used only for this aim.’

      exactly, also the Kadampa school will be exclusively for this aim. though for the sake of attracting people they might say just what people like to hear (to “increase their faith”), hiding the real agenda and belief …

      however its not black and white.

      they mean it seriously in a way that the main purpose is to “make people happy with ‘Kadam dharma'” but sadly this idea is based on sectarianism (only NKT Dharma is pure and outside NKT is a degenerated world) which will have the effect that the kids are bound to the organisation (by increasing their attachment), that they become dependent on it (only NKT is pure and has the final solution for happiness) and the kids will finally be disconnected from main stream Buddhism / religion and society (or all those who are not NKT) because the outside NKT world is potentially dangerous, not pure or degenerated (concepts which will increase their aversion and fear). How it functions can be seen with the adults already, kids are by far more vulnerable and easier targets for such manipulations.

      it might sound cynical but this is how nkt is operating and how i experienced them: the kids might also learn there that it is important to make their will for NKT. the nkt broshure “where there is a will there is a way” will be presented then for kids too (sooner or later); and if they discuss death it will be said that to accumulate merit you must give your savings / belongings to the three jewels (which is NKT of course) …

      • My daughter attends this school. We are not Buddhists, neither is she. The ethos is to learn how to be happy, a skill many people find hard to achieve these days. Negative feelings are not repressed. My daughter loves the school. They have a unique approach which involves really listening to the children and learning from them how to make lessons interesting and fun yet informative. They encourage children to think through their actions and how they impact on others, basically they learn to be kind and respect each other. There is lots of learning through outdoor classrooms and hands on experiences and rather than learning by rote (as occurs in most schools) they are given the tuition to help them understand the how and why of things. I would recommend the school to a friend, although selfishly want to keep it a secret so that my daughter continues to benefit from small class sizes and lots of individual teaching!

        • “They encourage children to think through their actions and how they impact on others, basically they learn to be kind and respect each other”
          Who cares if the fees youre paying could well be being used to finance outrageous, hate-filled demonstrations against a Noble Peace Prize winner?As long as youre daughters doing OK, what does it matter if the schools proprietors have been proven to be in league with a ruthless regime that violently and ruthlessly suppresses the human rights of millions of Tibetans, prisoners in their own land?
          Ostrich syndrome AGAIN!

          • I think it is really good what her child experiences and what she describes sounds also just excellent. I would be happy just to rejoice in it … however, context matters. Sometimes I wonder if people would easily send their children to schools run by Scientology? I think those who are followers of Scientology would do that but outsiders would be rather very cautious or hesitant …

        • Thank you Lynn for your feedback.

          It depends who runs the school and what policies there are and what educational skills / concepts / personality / level education etc are behind it.

          It is not uncommon that at the front row of NKT organisations are skilled people because it are the skilled, with talents, who can attract newcomers and who can have a positive impact on people and who can invoke their interest and faith.
          It was the same with me when I was in the NKT. The NKT head teacher persuaded me to stop my my work in a private school [which was very well paid and successful]* to dedicate my talents, skill, energy, money finally exclusively to the NKT (and its expansion). Recently I met a school teacher – now working for the Senate of Berlin – who was about 15 years ago with her class at our NKT centre and I ran the course for the kids to which she came with the school kids. She was totally delighted by the course she told me when we met in another educational context some weeks ago [not knowing that it was me who ran the course 15 years back]. But when she came back from the NKT centre and the course and told her colleagues how wonderful it was and encouraged them also to come with their kids to this NKT centre, they warned her that no matter how good the experience was, it is still a cult and that kids should not be involved in that. So, though it was hard for her, she said, she decided not to go there again and found another place. She told me “the set up and monk Tashi who run the course and how it was conducted was really nice”. I replied, “that monk Tashi was me.” And I told her that her colleagues were right and she made a good decision not to come there again.
          I think, it doesn’t matter so much what your experience is – even if good – its important to see the context and the aim of the group. And the aim of this group is expansion and to find new recruits they can use to do unpaid work, to get their savings, to get their money, to get their lifetime, energy and finally to get them to dedicate their whole life to the group [even abandoning their families and kids who are seen as a hindrance for spiritual progress]** – to dedicate to a group that does not take care about your pension, if you are sick etc … so all kids are potential recruits for a very damaging cultish system.

          * In Germany religion and education are strictly separated.
          ** See this report of a mother who got suck into the NKT and also ran courses for kids http://info-buddhism.com/Guru-Life-New-Kadampa-Tradition-Buddhism-Carol_McQuire.html

        • Dear Lynn,
          I’m glad your daughter is happy at school – this is not always easy I know. However, reading through your list of things that you think are unique about the school: they aren’t unique. In fact, most primary schools in most areas are doing exactly the same things (or at least trying to despite the larger class sizes, the smaller budgets and more stressed teachers). The small class sizes are a clear bonus – less stressful for the pupils AND staff and allows some real learning to happen.
          As for rote learning – {sigh} – learning anything requires both learning facts and learning how those facts fit together. There is nothing wrong with learning facts (by rote). It can even be fun! There is also nothing wrong with looking at those facts and understanding the overall big picture. It’s just when one is emphasized and other is neglected that problems happen. Facts are a lot easier to check knowledge of and so are what the SATs mainly test at the end of KS1 (age 7) and KS2 (age 11). I notice that the school has also chosen not do the SATs – this is a choice an academy is allowed to make that local government schools can’t.
          I note that they haven’t had an OFSTED inspection since 2013, which means they are overdue one. I hope they get a good team of inspectors who can see the positives and who aren’t just looking for problems. If a school gets a bad team, the resultant bad report can bring enormous pressure to the staff, and the children and parents. It is under those circumstances that some school leaders start to push their teachers to push the children to achieve better exam results, and this emphasizes memorising facts.
          Is the school private or an Academy (I thought I heard it was an academy). For those not familiar with the present English education system, an academy is a school that is sponsored by an outside organisation but is still largely paid for by the Government. Parents do not have to pay extra for their child to attend an academy (in theory – there have been cases of Secondary Academies – 11 to 18 year olds – insisting that every child bring their own iPad to use in school and arranging finance for parents who could not afford to buy one). However, they are outside of Local Government control and not required to follow the National Curriculum in every detail, they can set their own term dates and school hours. Also the teachers do not have to be paid in line with nationally agreed teachers wages.
          In theory this means they (Academies in general I mean) could choose to pay a good teacher more than is required – this hasn’t happened in practice however. They also can choose to employ people as teachers who have not got qualified teacher status (or QTS). Again this can open the door to talented experts who may not have done any formal teaching before or it can allow an Academy to put underpaid and underqualified staff in place.
          Anyway, I’m glad you and your daughter are happy and I hope her remaining school days stay happy.

        • ‘My daughter attends this school. We are not Buddhists, neither is she.’

          That is understood. I also appreciate your daughter is happy there.

          It is for you decide about the bigger picture.

          I draw your attention to the following from the Tara Kadampa Meditation Centre’s Statement of Accounts submitted to the Charity Commission.

          ‘In order to further the charity’s objectives in the future there are plans to develop the first
          International Kadampa School. Plans have been submitted and accepted by the planning
          department and building work and applications are underway.’

          ‘Organisational Structure’

          ‘The company is registered as a charity, and is established, organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes.’

          ‘This year Tara KMC completed a large building project to create the first Kadampa school on it’s premises. This will further the charity’s aims in allowing the local community to access a place of peace through family service.’

          Tara Centre has created the school, but then is charging rent from that school as shown here.

          ‘Tara KMC also received rental payments from Kadampa Primary School which currently utilises a large proportion of Ashe Hall, totalling £64,120.’

          Strange this one. Tara Centre created the school and then charges rent to use the facilities!

          I suggest this is a devious ploy to separate the Tara Centre from the school in order to hide the true purpose, that of eventual recruitment.

          Tara Centre is subject to the following rule.
          ‘18§1. Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres is to spread NKT Kadampa Buddhism, all the assets of these Dharma Centres shall be used only for this aim.’

          So, it is clear that Tara Centre’s only function is to promote New Kadampa Buddhism and the funds can only be used for that purpose. Tara Centre has established the school, so the purpose must be to promote New Kadampa Buddhism. If the purpose of the school is other than this, then the assets have been used incorrectly.

          • Thank you John. This makes it very clear, using their own documents.

            • Extract from the Annual Accounts, NEW KADAMPA TRADITION – INTERNATIONAL KADAMPA BUDDHIST UNION 2014.

              18. In addition, the charity funds and supports the establishment of traditional and non-traditional World Peace Temples, meditation and retreat Centres, World Peace Cafés, Kadampa Schools and Tharpa Publications throughout the world, all dedicated to the promotion of the Buddhist faith through service to the public.

              21 ‘……… The Charity has guaranteed the payment of all the debts of the Kadampa School Project a wholly owned subsidiary if the company is in default.’

              Note that these are not from Tara’s accounts but from head office at Manjushri.

              • Thank you!!!

                • Bristollad says:

                  Oops, after writing my long reply about Academies I see that the School is indeed a private school. According to the school’s website, they decided to forgo any Government funding so they could be more independent. However, they should still be inspected at least every 3 years to check they are in line with national standards, so last inspection being 2013, they should be inspected this year.

                  The inspection in 2013 interestedly says that at that time there were 23 pupils and the inspector saw 6 teachers teach: that’s an impressive staff to pupil ratio! The roll is up to 42 now. A bit different to the primary school I used to teach in where there were over 1000 pupils and 24 class teachers. Also, the school’s website says that all teachers are practising Kadampa buddhists and are paid significantly less than a teacher’s normal wage.

                  • joanneclark7 says:

                    As a parent who educated my own children in private schools, I can totally understand Lynn’s position and feelings. I can imagine that the high teacher to student ratio makes for a really positive and productive learning environment. I also imagine that the Buddhist principles they would employ would not be at all threatening to her daughter– because they would be based on basic morality etc. They’re not going to be talking about Tantric practices or seeing the guru as perfect or worshipping Shugden in a primary school! I think that if Lynn is fore-warned, then she can be alert to dangers and better decide when a line has been crossed and the agenda becomes something more along the lines of propaganda and recruitment. My experience as a parent is that those dangers are more apt to be evident during the teen years– and more apt to be dangers to the parents of these kids then to the kids themselves. That is just my impression– and it also my impression that there are many very good hearted people within the NKT who would be sincere in their efforts to simply educate the kids in a wholistic way.

                    • joanneclark7 says:

                      I sent one of my daughters to a Steiner school– but as soon as I got a whiff of fundamentalism from her kindergarten (prep) teacher, we decided to remove her from the school. I think parents have a pretty good sense of those things (as long as they aren’t fundamentalist themselves). I think the most important thing is to warn parents– as this blogpost does very well.

  3. john swainson says:

    My main point is that they are establishing a school which does not have the conversion of the children into Buddhists as its stated purpose, yet the specific aim of the charity is to promote the Buddhist faith. Where does it say in their constitution that they will be a provider of education for those who do not wish to be Buddhist?

  4. an old friend says:

    A letter to the CC will lead to them at least being forced to clarify their position on thisl even though the CC are poral eunuchs on most issues

  5. an old friend says:


  6. john swainson says:

    Just left this question on the Tara website../

    Your website says this.
    ’Tara is established, organised and operated exclusively for religious purposes.’

    In the NKT Internal Rules we find this.
    ‘Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Centres is to spread New Kadampa Tradition Buddhism, all the assets shall be used only for this aim.’
    However, the Ethos of the International Kadampa School is to ‘teach the skills of how to be happy, not to turn them (the children) into Buddhists.’

    So, how is a charity with its specific object, ‘exclusively for religious purposes’ and whose ‘assets shall only be used only for this aim’, able to establish a school where the ethos is not to turn the children, ‘into Buddhists’?

    It is the first step…

  7. an old friend says:

    Youre right John-I know your modus operandi and it is admirable. However, as an angry, impatient person, i tend to rush at things, doing the least to achieve the maximum/ IMO, the CC need notifying because, sooner or later. things will reach a tipping point and the CC will recognize the extent of the dodginess at the heart of the NKT (who have many good people in their ranks who dont know the truth) and revoke their charitable status, a status via which they have falsely procured millions down the years/ EG did you know that the grant from English Heritage praised the NKT for all the hard work they had done in renovating the Priory? Funny how most of that work was done before the NKT even existed, by a significant number of FPMT members

  8. john swainson says:

    When a charity is established it was assumed, if it is an acceptable religious charity, it would be for the public benefit. The burden of proof now lies with the charity. However, if that charity does no more than raise funds in order to establish more centres, where the beneficiaries have to pay for the privilege of receiving the claimed public benefit, at no cost to the charity, then there are problems. The organisation could function without charitable status but continues to grow with the aid of tax relief at a cost to the tax payer. If an organisation is seen to be using its resources in practical ways, then it could be viewed as providing a public benefit. However, if the charity does no more than raise funds in order to build more centres then the public benefit element is in question. Where is the public benefit that can be observed objectively, or are the public benefits ‘intangible?’

    This article is regarding the Commission’s interpretation of the term Public Benefit and the claim that it can not make a decision about religious practices and beliefs impacting upon that benefit. The result of which is no action regarding detriment or harm to beneficiaries and the public view of Buddhism.

    Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO made this statement at a tribunal. ‘Rather than promoting awareness and understanding of the public benefit requirement, the guidance and assessment reports have created confusion and uncertainty…there is an apparent mismatch between what is said in the guidance and the way in which the Commission has applied the guidance in its public benefit assessments’.

    This confusion is apparent when dealing with the Commission in this area with regard to a Buddhist charity and its activities. This confusion and uncertainty have, I feel, led to the standard of service from the Commission being diminished.

    The Commission’ guidance states ‘…the belief and practices of the Buddhist faith are capable of advancing religion for the purposes of charity law and are capable of impacting upon the public in a positive way so as to meet the public benefit requirement’.

    Later, the guidance states, ’In some cases detriment or harm might arise not from general concerns about the nature of the religion, but from the abuse or misuse of religious teachings due to misinterpretation, misapplication or perversion of some of the narratives and or doctrines and teachings of the religion. In other cases, detriment or harm might arise as a result of the way in which a religion is practised.’


    ‘Some activities or the way some tenets are promoted may have a negative effect on public benefit by tending to produce social or personal harm’

    This implies that the Commission can make judgements about the correct interpretation of religious doctrine and practice in relation to the Public Benefit.
    When asked about this the Commission’ reply was as follows.

    ‘We say there would need to be some real evidence of detriment or harm; it cannot just be supposed…if you believe you have real evidence…we ask you to contact us.
    The claim that a practice, which is described by the charity as an ‘essential practice’ of their tradition, but according to historical narratives, is described as harmful, was sidestepped by the Commission.
    When evidence was provided, statements by the Dalai Lama, many senior Lamas and testimony from ex members of the charity, indicating the negative effects, both personal and public, of a particular practice the Commission stated…

    We note the Commission is not being asked to make any judgements as to the validity of any doctrine or religious practice, simply to consider the effects of the practices of ‘…the charity and how they…’impact the public benefit element of the charity’s activities. Unfortunately this is not something the Commission can do. This is because these practices form an integral part of the personal beliefs of the adherents, as well as the doctrine of the faith with which they are associated. Having carefully considered the extensive reference and background material which was submitted in support of the concerns, I acknowledge that these are issues on which there is considerable depth of feeling… among a significant cross section of the various Buddhist traditions, both overseas and in Tibet itself.


    The Commission’s guidance states…
    ‘In assessing the public benefit of charities whose aims include advancing religion we will consider any evidence of significant detrimental or harmful effects of that organisation carrying out its aims in its particular circumstances.’ Further enquiries led to this response…
    ‘In terms of public benefit we simply cannot assess the impact of such practices because they are intrinsically personal to the individual, rather than to society as a whole.’
    ‘I have noted the comments on which I believe we have already made our position clear. This is not a matter with which the Commission can be of assistance. The Commission simply can not make a determination whether the practice/belief of ….is contrary to the Public Benefit and this response is our final decision on the matter.’

    However, the Commission’s guidance makes statements about Occultism and its practices impacting on the Public Benefit.

    The beliefs and practices of any religion have a foundation based on the collective agreement of those with similar personal beliefs, so to argue that personal belief has no bearing on the activities of an organisation and its impact on public benefit is fallacious.

    Having been asked to provide evidence of detriment or harm, the Commission says it is not something the Commission can deal with.

    This is contrary to the guidance where it is accepted that the beliefs and practices of Buddhism are useful when considering public benefit

    Commission’s Guidance…
    ‘Religious belief and faith has by its nature, both personal and public dimensions in relationship to public benefit, it is the public dimension that is of primary importance Where religion helps to provide a moral and ethical framework for people to live by it can play an important part in building a better society.’
    The Commission’s guidance…
    ‘The benefits to the public should be capable of being recognised, identified, defined or described but that does not mean that they also have to be capable of being quantified. Benefits that can be quantified and measured may be easier to identify but we also take non-quantifiable benefits into consideration, provided it is clear what the benefits are. The benefits may or may not be physically experienced. We realise that often in the case of charities whose aims include advancing religion some of the benefits are not tangible and could be potentially difficult to identify.’
    ‘When courts reach decisions generally on what is of benefit to the public, they will have proper regard to public opinion in so far as it is appropriate. Public opinion might be relevant, for example, when considering whether there is an intangible benefit…in these cases…in these cases the courts can and will take into account any general consensus of objective and informed opinion.’
    Is it possible to have intangible, objective, informed opinion?
    The Commission here is allowing non tangible benefits into its assessment of Public Benefit and not allowing the same when dealing with the concerns highlighted. Evidence had to be ‘objective and informed.’
    The Commission…
    ‘We have said publicly and in our guidance that we do not expect many charities to have difficulties in showing that they are for the public benefit.’
    ‘In assessing the public benefit of an organisation’s aims, we must also take into account any detriment or harm that may flow from the organisation carrying out its aims.’
    To provide acceptable proof of detriment or harm will be difficult when the expectation is as above.
    Remember this statement from the Commission…
    ‘I acknowledge that these are issues on which there is considerable depth of feeling among a significant cross section of the various Buddhist traditions, both overseas and in Tibet itself.’

    If the depth of feeling is felt by a ‘significant cross section of the various Buddhist traditions’ then there will be an impact on public benefit as there is detriment and harm to the world view of Buddhism.flowing from the activities of the organisation.
    Examples of public opinion presented to the Commission were
    In 1998, the NKT became a member of the British Network of Buddhist Organizations (NBO). When the NKT joined the British Network of Buddhist Organizations, about thirty percent of the other Buddhist groups identifying themselves with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition left the NBO.
    The Deutsche Buddhistische Union (DBU) refused membership for the NKT main centre in Germany and its 15 branch centres in 2000. The Österreichische Buddhistische Religionsgesellschaft (ÖBR) gave a signal to the NKT that they will have no chance of becoming a member.
    On August 22, 1996 the monks of Sera Je monastery, issued a formal “Declaration of Expulsion”, expelling the founder of the charity from his monastery.
    The Australian Sangha Organisation stated…
    ‘Noisy public demonstrations such as these are not appropriate behaviour for monks or nuns and have brought Buddhism in this country into disrepute.’
    Given the aim of the charity which is to spread Kadampa Buddhism throughout the world, and the opposition from a ’significant cross section of various Buddhist traditions’ then the Commission has not done as intended by the guidance.

    ‘An organisation’s public benefit will be affected where there is evidence of detriment or harm from what an organisation proposes to do or practises, which outweigh the benefits of the organisation carrying out its aims.’
    The Commission was asked about the Internal Rules of a charity and what was believed to be non adherence to those rules, the methods used by the charity to raise money for developments abroad by re mortgaging property, the evidence of detriment or harm to its so called beneficiaries highlighted by a group called New Kadampa Survivors, the methods used in order to gain control of the charity and threatening behaviour used towards some volunteers on a temple building project.
    The Commission wrote thus…
    ‘Where concerns are raised with us about a charity and we cannot or will not intervene, we normally advise the person who raised the concerns to take them up with the charity directly. I note this was done and there was no reply from the charity. We generally recommend to charities that, as good practice, they should have procedures in place for dealing with complaints so that they are handled effectively…if the charity chooses not to respond to the complaint, the Commission cannot require it to do this.’
    Later, in the same letter, the Commission stated…
    ‘Some of the allegations made appear to potentially relate to criminal actions…and the victims may wish to consider contacting the relevant police authorities. Otherwise, these are issues which should be taken up with the charity directly.’
    The Commission was informed Gyatso funded two monasteries but claims not to have personal wealth. The question was asked if the money was raised within the charity contrary to the Internal Rules. The Commission’s statement was their… remit does not include making enquiries about an individual’s personal income and expenditure.’ Thus avoiding responsibility for investigating the question.
    The Commission was asked if it had any record of the so called Blackmail Tape which alleged certain illegal activities and that those details were lodged with them and a solicitor.

    The Charity Commission statement regarding this was .. ‘if we did receive such a report then any evidence of criminal activity would have been a matter from the police rather than the Commission.

    The Commissions guidance states’ The Charity Commission needs to know where there is a serious risk of significant harm or abuse of a charity, its assets, beneficiaries or reputation. One of the issues considered serious is ‘ criminality within or involving a charity’. When the Charity Commission were informed of the allegations made about Khyentse the statement was’ some of the allegations made appear to potentially relate to criminal actions and the victims may wish to consider contacting the relevant police authorities.

    Highden manor.
    The CC was informed about the aborted sale of Highden Manor on the basis that it needed to know of any significant loss to a charity. The CC said they had nothing to say on the matter.

    New Business Wins

    Plymouth Brethren takes charitable status case to tribunal

    Two Exclusive Brethren groups are taking the Charity Commission to the Charity Tribunal after the regulator denied one group charitable status concluding that it did not advance religion or public benefit.
    This is the first time the Charity Commission has refused charitable status to a religious group on the basis of the changes around public benefit introduced by the Charities Act 2006. Measures included in the Act relating to the public benefit test mean that the advancement of religion alone does not make an organisation eligible for charitable status; it must now prove that it advances religion for public benefit.
    The Preston Down Trust is part of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, a highly conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, and meets in Torquay, Paignton and Newton Abbey in Devon. Exclusive Brethren organisations typically limit contact with the outside world.
    A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “Our consideration of the public benefit requirement took into account the nature of Christian religion embraced by the Trust and the means through which this was promoted, including the public access to its services and the potential for its beneficial impact on the wider community.

    “The central issue in the appeal will be whether the public benefit requirement is satisfied in relation the Exclusive Brethren organisations under the law as it now is.
    The Commission however advised clarified that, “The Commission has not revoked charitable status from the Preston Down Trust, a Brethren meeting hall. The organisation applied to be entered onto the register of charities and the application was refused on the basis that we were unable to conclude that the organisation is established for the advancement of religion for public benefit.”
    “It is for the organisation to satisfy the Commission that it is a charity, not for the Commission to demonstrate it is not.”
    Surely, when an organisation has made a case for registration, it is for the Commission to decide the outcome, which means the Commission must show where the case for registration is demonstrably wrong
    So the question is, what is the purpose of the Charity Commission?

  9. John Swainson says:

    Below is the response from the Charity Commission when they were informed of the High Court of New Zealand’s ruling in the matter of Highden Manor.

    Thank you for your email.

    Your concern is that there has been a serious financial loss to this charity, resulting from the charity’s decision to withdraw from negotiations to purchase Highden Manor in New Zealand.

    I note from our records that we have had previous correspondence in August 2009 and to some extent I can only re-iterate the advice which I gave then which is that this is a matter that you will need to take forward with the charity trustees. You can find details on our website at – http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/ContactAndTrustees.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1015054&SubsidiaryNumber=0

    Just to confirm our position – many complaints against charities, or disputes involving charities, are brought to our attention. We can only become involved in cases where our powers and responsibilities enable us to and where we can be of use.

    We will generally only consider getting involved with cases where we have been given evidence that:

    the purposes of a charity are not being carried out;
    the assets of a charity are substantially at risk;
    the charity trustees are acting outside of their powers or are in other ways breaking charity law; or
    the administration of a charity has completely broken down.

    and even then only when it is proportionate for us to do so.

    You can find further details of the type of evidence we require at section D3 of our publication CC47 – http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Publications/cc47.aspx

    In this instance, you have provided us with no evidence of any serious financial loss. In the absence of any such evidence we cannot become involved. It would be unfair to act on unsubstantiated allegations or opinions which could disrupt a charity’s work and have a detrimental effect on its users and beneficiaries.
    Obviously a High Court ruling to the tune of $1.8NZ is not evidence.

    In conclusion, although we will keep this correspondence with the charity’s electronic records for future reference, we expect that you will contact the trustees to seek their views and as such we will not be taking any action nor will we engage with you further on this matter.

  10. John Swainson says:

    It would appear that the High Court’s ruling is not evidence of a substantial loss. $1.8 million NZ.

  11. an old friend says:

    “Just to confirm our position – We can only become involved in cases where our powers and responsibilities enable us to and where we can be of use.”


    “Just to confirm our position –We are weak, unwilling to assume responsibility, and useless.”

    Tell us something we didnt know-The UK Charity Commission; laughing stock of the corrupt and providers of carte blanche to those intent on financial abuse-do they employ eunuchs? Or they afraid of a power struggle?

  12. john swainson says:

    ‘There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets.’

    Charles Dickens

  13. john swainson says:

    Or in the cases of Nick Gillespie and Gary Beesley…

    ‘Lawyers are shy of meddling with the Law on their own account: knowing it to be an edged tool of uncertain application, very expensive in the working, and rather remarkable for its properties of close shaving than for its always shaving the right person.’

    Charles Dickens

  14. an old friend says:

    Ah yes, Gary Beesley-crushed into silence by the ‘virtuous ones’. How very Buddhist the NKT are. According to an FWBO poster, he wrote the FWBO FIles-and look what happened to them (anybody heard ANYTHING about them recently?? viisualize tumbleweed passing) Amazing how just telling the truth can be so damaging. No wonder the NKT were afraid-he was obviously going to tell the truth!

  15. lifegoeson says:

    Funny really, although I’m very much ex-NKT now and not going back ever, yet something about this school appeals to me. I guess it’s because it’s the first time I’ve come across a school to run on dharma lines. There is so much wrong with the emphases in our education system that I almost feel that although NKT dharma is definitely impure, yet maybe it still has to be better than what most kids are subjected to

  16. an old friend says:

    Thanks lifegoeson, but somehow id rather have my kids at a ‘bog standard’ school where kids are taught basic morals rather than one where they are taught Buddhism and devil worship

    The idea of founding a Dharma Primary School evolved from the family camps at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire in the mid-1980s. Early in the 90′s this interaction between parents, children and members of the Buddhist monastery inspired a group of parents to meet in Brighton with the aim of opening the first Buddhist School for children in the U.K.

    On 9th September 1994, the Dharma Primary School opened its doors to four children in a house in Queen’s Park, Brighton. On this special day the school received blessings from our founder patron, Luang Por Sumedho, a renowned Buddhist monk and teacher. We were also delighted to receive blessings sent from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who later became a patron of the school.

    With this generous support of patrons and friends, such as Noy Thomson (M.R.Saisvadi Svasti) and Peter Carey, dedicated Buddhists and founder trustees, the school moved to The White House, Patcham, in June 1995 with eleven children. Since then a nursery and reception class and three mixed-age primary classes have been established and the school now provides a Buddhist based education to nearly 80 children aged 3 -11 years old.

  17. john swainson says:

    I don’t know what your own school experiences were so I will not comment. A faith school can provide a positive experience, my daughter attended Catholic schools as they had a good reputation in our area. You say you are ex NKT and I do not doubt that but if you are ‘not going back ever’ then a school run by them is not the place to recommend sending children. I may say, probably in haste, that impure dharma is not the basis for education and the state system, for all its faults, is more reliable.

  18. Happy parent says:

    unless you have visited the school where there are a very high proportion of non-buddists enrolled you are making false and vile accusations. There is absolutely no pressure to conform to the buddhist faith as not all of the teachers are buddhists either. The national curriculum is followed and it is a lot better than going to a local school with 30 in a class. I am not a buddhist and have no intention of becoming one but I am very happy with my choice to send my daughter there and they have also forged links with the local schools. Get your facts straight befire filling the net with evil, nasty comments.

    • Is this one of those NKT agit prop comments by a NKT devotee claiming to be non-NKT? “We are all happy here, why are you so nasty?”

      The post above uses the resources NKT themselves published, and as a former NKT teacher and NKT student, I think its my duty and right to inform about the NKT background and their tricky ways to get access to potential converts. There is a reason why there is a forum called “New Kadampa Survivors” with more than 1000 members. Its your choice to consider or to ignore it.

    • Dear “Happy parent”. I was thinking this morning that my reply is rather rude. Sorry if either the post or the comment have hurt your feelings or offended you.
      For me the problem is that I think it is really good if people inform themselves about NKT’s controversial background before they commit themselves or even bring their kids into the NKT. Personal, I would not hesitate too much to compare NKT with Scientology. And as I would see the drug addiction programmes, inter-religious faith meetings etc of Scientology always in the context of the organisation’s background to attract new followers which finally give all their money, time, and energy to this organisation etc, I would do this also with respect to NKT. I see nothing wrong in this.

      Now with respect to your claims of being a “Happy parent” or not. Others and I have experienced or encountered over the last decades too much NKT devotees, who gave themselves a non-NKT identity to spread the understanding of the NKT in forums, news outlets and even to the press, like The Independent. That’s why I refer to these approach as “spreading the NKT agit prop”. Due to all these lies, distortions of truths and facts from the side of NKT I have a lot of distrust in any ‘pro-NKT’ poster who claims to be a non-NKT person. In case you are really a “Happy parent”+a non-Buddhist, I do apologize of having judged you wrongly. However, I fear, I might be correct nevertheless.

      • A friend of mine enrolled her children in the school but then pulled out because she didn’t want to move. She is a member of the NKT and she told me all the students came from NKT backgrounds. This is about recruiting for the NKT, I have sadly met a lot of unhappy children connected with the NKT.
        A nuns daughter I know always looks sad and one day when a friend of mine met this 9 year old and asked her how she was she replied,”Well I’m still alive I suppose” Does this sound like a healthy response for a nine year old? Children should see the joy in life and be taught to love and accept themselves, please don’t send your children to be brainwashed by the NKT they are poison and produced very unhappy adults goodness knows what they would do with our joyful kiddies.

        • Dear Fleadle, thank you for your comments and thoughts. You raise an issue I have not much thought about: the mothers who have children and become nuns in the NKT. It makes me really said what you say about the 9 year old girl. No, it does’t sound healthy. I agree fully with you: “Children should see the joy in life and be taught to love and accept themselves”, I agree also with your warning “please don’t send your children to be brainwashed by the NKT they are poison and produced very unhappy adults goodness knows what they would do with our joyful kiddies.” There might be exceptions too but all in all it is better to avoid to bring kids into the NKT.

          What you report reminds me of my own NKT resident teacher. She was a mother, and had a 7 year old son. Kelsang Gyatso encouraged her to become a nun and to teach the (NKT-)Dharma no matter if she has a boy or not who needs her time and energy. She gave her son into the care of a befriended woman, committed her totally to the NKT objectives, and asked her son not to call her ‘mom’ any more but to call her “Gen Dechen” like all her disciples called her. When I played once with the boy – how you play with boys – I was warned that this would not be “an ordinary boy” and I should not play in this way with him. Sick. I felt always very sorry for the boy. Gen Dechen spoke about her nunshood, motherhood and NKT teacherhood with Kelsang Gyatso, who of course didn’t see any problem in this.

          Outside of NKT women and men are encouraged to first raise their children and to finish their education before they can become monks or nuns but for NKT this doesn’t count, what counts is to spread NKT no matter what it costs. This is the sad truth.

          • What is also sad is that if any ordained parents disrobe the children become very confused and scared because we are taught those who disrobe go to hell, imagine the fear of a child thinking their mum or dad may go to hell. I’ve seen so many screwed up things in the NKT over the years that is all supposed to be fine because everyone has a good motivation, but all I see are selfish people putting their own needs before their children’s. I’ve even seen a mum and dad get ordained and still live together to raise their child, think how confused their child must be, what hope do they have of forming a normal relationship when they are older? The NKT think they are above normal laws and normal society, they believe they follow logic but at what cost, what is logical about damaging children?

            • It is completely untrue that a person who disrobes goes to hell. The Buddha himself gave permission to cease ordination and there is a clear description what to do in such a case. There are always circumstances which might force one to such a decision. Although it’s a fault to cease the ordination (because one promised to keep it until the end of life) it is not a grave fault nor does it have grave consequences such as birth in hell. As I said the Buddha gave permission to do so. One should accept that certain situations enforce one to have to cease the ordination and rejoice in the time when one was ordained. Moreover, NKT has not any culture which supports NKT ordainees in their monkhood and nunhood. It’s quite understandable that many have to give up.

              It’s not so much the people’s fault the utter setting of NKT is very very unhealthy so it makes even the most gifted or good hearted person finally sick, those who really commit themselves to the NKT doctrine.

              S. Wass & N. Elliot have also shown what happens even to the people who were Kelsang Gyatso’s appointed successors and who had been seen as almost equal to him.

              As the Buddha says:

              The devotee acquires the same faults
              As the person not worthy of devotion,
              Like an untainted arrow smeared
              With the poison of a tainted sheath.

              Steadfast ones who fear the taint of faults,
              Do not befriend bad people.
              By close reliance and devotion
              To one’s companion,
              Soon one becomes just like
              The object of one’s devotion.

              The wise devote themselves to holy,
              Not to unholy people,

              Wise persons are those who know
              Infantile ones for what they are:
              ‘Infantile ones’ are those
              Who take infants to be the wise.


              “I’ve even seen a mum and dad get ordained and still live together to raise their child, think how confused their child must be, what hope do they have of forming a normal relationship when they are older?”

              I heard such stories also in the New Kadampa Survivors.

              “The NKT think they are above normal laws and normal society, they believe they follow logic but at what cost, what is logical about damaging children?”

              Yes. But it does not help to get angry with NKT. Its better to try to understand them and to see the process as dependent arising due to many causes and conditions, parts and imputations. They think that they do it right and others are wrong, and that one can do everything if it serves the main purpose. It’s a type of group delusion mainly based on pride and ignorance. You cannot expect too much from such a mental setting.

              Also, as Anon said, try to see the positive things: YOU ARE OUT OF IT!

          • natalie lamont says:

            I’m sorry but my son goes to this school as do other children from the local community who are not buddhist.
            It’s a fantastic school the children are certainly not indoctrinated in any way shape or form.
            I know myself being a mother and also a kadampa that it can be a little difficult balancing daily chores, taking good care of my son, working and being a part of the kadampa community…. I find it extremelly hard to believe that Geshla would encourage a mother to act in the way you describe… I don’t know this nun personally so cannot comment on her experience. I do know that there have been mothers who it would seem have abandoned their children at times and who say themselves that they have made mistakes. This has been ENTIRELY their own choice, nowhere in any of Geshlas commentaries does he advise to abandon your family, in the 15years that I have heard him teach, never has he said this… Infact the complete opposite!!
            The NKT is young still and mistakes are made of course, non of us are perfect! Maybe some of the parents are not perfect, I too find what the little girl said troubling.
            But this idea that the NKT must grow bigger whatever the cost is not true, there is no sinister plan!
            There is whoever a simple wish to make the teachings of Buddha as widely available to everyone as possible.. To provide places for people to come and learn how to meditate, so they can try to attain some peace of mind and be happy. No one is saying that the school is going to MAKE the children be happy, all it is doing is simply giving the children the opportunity to learn how to keep a peaceful mind.
            I can assure anyone who is worried, the children are not being taught to supress anger or act as though they are happy when they’re not!!
            Does Geshla teach this anywhere in his commetaries??? NO! Of course not, and so the children are not being taught to do this!

            • Thank you for your comment.

              Geshe-la does never say things directly. The mothers in NKT who neglected their children do this because NKT demands often just so much work from them and stress that this would be good for them and of more value because of “accumulating so much merit.” Geshe-la and NKT work on the basis of indirect speech and unexpressed rules. It’s not so easy to detect. So it is not really true “This has been ENTIRELY their own choice”. Other mothers from NKT can tell surely more about this. Let’s see if a ex-NKT mother will reply to your comment.

              The post issues some general concerns, based on the experiences how NKT operates and it analyses what they say themselves.
              In fact, NKT’s main work has been always its expanding. As a result of this even people with as little as 6 month of NKT teachings became “Buddhist teachers”. Even mentally ill persons were asked to teach, because it would “help millions of millions of sentient beings”. A mentally ill person reported this himself on New Kadampa Survivors, and his request to release him from this burden was rejected by Geshe-la himself. So there is some serious background on which the expressed concerns are based.

              According to my and others experience and observations, NKT has a culture were feelings are suppressed. If there is such a culture it will be hard not to pass it to the children. Again, Geshe-la does not say this directly in the commentaries, as he also doesn’t say anything bad about the Dalai Lama in his commentaries, yes strange views about the Dalai Lama do exist. Why? They are communicated in another way. The NKT culture consists of many unexpressed rules and views. They are transmitted by indirect speech, by body language etc. It’s quite subtle but it exists and it has its function.

              • natalie lamont says:

                I have been a mother within the nkt for the past 8yrs, I know full well how much you can sometimes be asked to do, but this idea of of indirect speech and unexpressed rules seems to me like fabrication… Like any organization with mainly volounteers to run it, people will be put apon, but it is down to each person what they take on. I have discussed these matters with various Resident teachers at Tara centre, and non of them have thought it correct to make people feel guilty or cause people stress!
                And I know Geshla says nothing bad about the Dali Lama in his commentaries, I sat in a teaching at Manjushri where he asked if we could help the Dorje Shugden practitioners who were experiencing serious abuse. He said not to do it out of anger of course, but out of compassion. Infact I requested that we put the Dalia Lama in the dedications book to pray for him and to keep reminding us all that we have compassion for all.

                • That is the trouble in the NKT,all the right things are said while bad things continue to happen. There are good and sensible teachers in the NKT but these are few and far between,in the centre I lived in I saw sick people running round making themselves exhausted and new mum’s running themselves into the ground,they were held up as good examples and Bodhisattvas. No one told them to rest or taught them to be sensible. People with low self-esteem are guilt tripped into working lots just by praising those who do lots and make themselves ill. Just the message set out by the school you can be happy all the time is setting children up for unrealistic expectations that are unhealthy. Child psychologists agree children need to be taught to accept all their emotions and that being happy all the time is not realistic,it’s setting children up for a world of guilt and pretence which is systemic in the NKT. Everyone has good intentions but no one has any sense. When they said good intentions pave the way to he’ll I think they had the NKT in mind.

            • The school ethos is be happy all the time. You are not taught to suppress anger just to label these emotions as bad many then label themselves as bad when they have these emotions,this is very dangerous for children who need to learn to accept their HUMAN emotions first then work on encouraging positive patterns of thought. This school will teach children to feel bad about themselves just for feeling human emotions, as the child in the school promo video said,” meditation makes all bad things stop” very healthy lesson no screwed up kids coming out of this school then!

        • natalie lamont says:

          All the children do not come from nkt parents, it’s more accurate to say 50/50. I know. My child is at this school and is doing much better than at his last school.

          • They may not all come from NKT parents but they will all be influenced by NKT ways. Give it time Natalie, the trouble is by the time you realise the kids are acting and thinking in unhealthy ways it will be too late to change the harm. Just telling children certain emotions are bad is incredibly harmful to a child, I saw the promo video and those kids already have strange ideas about meditation stopping all bad things,if you think the non NKT kids if their are any won’t be affected by the others your kidding yourself.

            • happy parent says:

              Why can’t all this sniping stop. All the parents are happy with the education provided and the extra curricular activities. My daughter has come on in leaps and bounds in English and maths and surely the non buddhist home life influences her and her non buddhist family and friends. You cannot commeusnt on what you have not actually witnessed so leave people be and let out lie

              • And we can all live happily ever after? Like the abuse victims, those who abandon Buddhism because of the NKT, the poor people who are experiencing mental illness and unhappiness?
                So lets shut up and say nothing?

              • I’ll stop sniping as you put it when the NKT publicly apologises to all those who have suffered abuse and when it promises to listen to it’s members and except each disciple past and present has a view worth hearing and has a right to speak out when they feel the Tradition hurts them and others. If someone was raped or beaten would you say oh well not my experience just shut up about it your just deluded so stop talking about it? This only happens in NKT world where anyone who says the wrong thing is deluded and must shut up. A school that tells it’s children you can be happy all the time and meditation stops bad things is going to damage young minds that’s worth discussing. No child should be told you can be happy all the time because it is not true.

                • happy parent says:

                  Aftera discussionwith my 7 year old daughter they are told that meditation stops bad things happening. They do breathing meditation where the leader sometimes tells them to breathe pt the bad smoke.. Neither ate they told they can be happy all the time.

                  • YOU CAN BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME is the school ethos I’m surprised you don’t know this it’s on all the publicity and in the promo video along with a teacher telling them meditation stops bad thoughts and a child saying meditation stops all bad things,her exact words. Are you sure your child goes to the school?

                    • Exactly. And here we go: meditation doesn’t stop “all bad things”. This is not the purpose of meditation nor can it achieve such an aim.
                      On the most basic level meditation is about to calm the mind and to learn to respond in a constructive way to events. Meditation cannot stop all bad things. You cannot meditate them away.

                    • I am doing Zen Zazen meditation right now and it involves staying in the moment, not just observing the breath but also being aware of sounds the body and not following thoughts. It does stop all bad feelings and they believe if we are just experiencing and Judy aware we no longer suffer but it is made clear meditation is the tool not the result. Telling kids meditation will stop all bad things and thoughts is not helping them face life,which has good and bad moments. Already the escapism is taught, this school is the most worrying thing ever, I thought hotels was money grabbing and ridiculous but getting their claws into children. I hope this project fails for all those kids sake.

                  • Wow That is a surprise and better than nothing I guess,I’ll retire now forever!

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      the posting of Gyatso apologising is a ‘joke’ – an invented post of what we would all like to see…if only!!!!!

                    • Are you certain it doesn’t come from him? I was surprised as it’s a full admittance and knowing how he likes to cover up. Still he doesn’t say sorry for not acting when he was first told of the abuse which left his disciples at risk from sexual predators. For a Buddha he’s very blind, 2 genlas with the same m.o. No wonder he picked women next time.

                    • Oh sorry, may fault. I was thinking you understand the nature of it, being a joke.

                      It’s a fact that this is a joke. At the heat of the NKT protests and the discussions on E-Sangha, someone from E-Sangha created the blog. I know it from the discussions and links there. I think it was the same person who created this image:

                      NKT modified

                  • victims of Wass and Eliot awake-this is considered an admission of culpability in law and opens the door for legal claims. while the compensation issue is a prickly one, bear in mind that such claims, as well as reframing ones own financial status, also act as a deterrent in the future. thus, by claiming, you protect others in the long run. be aware of the recent suicide of an abuse victim, whose life could have been saved if others had spoken out earlier. it may be painful, but it is morally correct and compassionate to expose abuse

                • It’s important to speak out abuse one has experienced. Sadly it is common that people having experienced abuse are put down a second time when they speak out what happened to them.

                  Human Rights Watch has published a new study how children are mistreated a second time when they report about their experiences to medical stuff or the police:

                  So, don’t let others allow to make you silent. It’s good that you opened a blog. It’s somewhat frightening how successful NKT has been to put themselves even at sensitive points like NHS or schools.

                  • It has surprised me how many ex NKT people don’t want to speak out,some of this I think is fear,also NKT training still dictating behaviour I notice how much of my black and white attitude is still NKT thinking. I was reading a book by a Zen master who said a sign we are making progress is that we develop a very flexible personality this can not be said in the NKT you become so certain because you just believe what GKG says so you stop questioning or listening to yourself so you stagnate. I remember my teacher was only helpful or encouraging if I went along with GKG if I questioned or found it hard to get something he would be mad at me so I just shut up in the end and pretended I had no doubts but I was full of them. I know some people who know a lot of damaging things the NKT has done but fear speaking out I understand but they also have a real negative attitude to me wanting to blog about it but for me I shut up for 10years about my fears and worries and when I did speak out I was accused of being negative. There is no way to grow in the NKT unless you are very strong and determined to do your own thing.

                    • I utter agree. And this is why I quoted in a separate post from your blog. There are many being damaged but only few speak up.
                      It is also for me and my work I have done a great encouragement to see others who are willing to speak and who don’t allow others to be silenced down.

                      There might be more motivations why ex_NKT don’t speak up. I think one of them is to quickly get out of the whole thing without more pain or doubts …
                      I agree that what one mainly learns in NKT is black-and-white thinking, and this is a heritage we have already in our culture (the Dalai Lama remarked on this how much he is always surprised by the black-and-white thinking of Westerners) but in NKT this attitude is further fertilized and led to an extreme.

                      We can be lucky btw that another ex-NKT, a ex-NKT-mother btw, spoke up and this in an academic publication:

                      “Realising the guru’s intention: hungry humans and awkward animals in a New Kadampa Tradition community” by Carol McQuire
                      in »Spiritual and Visionary Communities: Out to Save the World«
                      Edited by Timothy Miller, University of Kansas, USA

                      Series : Ashgate Inform Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements
                      Exploring religious and spiritual intentional communities active in the world today, Spiritual and Visionary Communities provides a balanced introduction to a diverse range of communities worldwide. Breaking new ground with its focus on communities which have had little previous academic or public attention, the authors explore a part of contemporary society which is rarely understood. Communities studied include: Israeli kibbutzim, Mandarom, the Twelve Tribes, ‘The Farm’ and the Camphill movement. Written from a range of perspectives, this collection includes contributions from members of the groups themselves, former members, and academic observers, and as such will offer a unique and invaluable discussion of religious and spiritual communities in the U.S., Europe, and beyond.




                      I hope there will be more soon about this on the blog.

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      I feel that black and white thinking is essential to our culture – all academic training consists in learning to make arguments – for and against, on debates between opposite views. The NKT takes the Dharma and uses it as the basis for an organisation to thrive – spiritual materialism is what a lama recently called it to me, saying that the NKT adds hope and fear to the Dharma and thus converts it into non-Dharma. Hope and fear being two extremes that we reduce for ourselves with good practice.

                      As to why people don’t speak out so much – I see there as being many reasons – one is the degree of confusion that hits us when leaving – it is difficult to believe that someone and something we believed in so much is so deceptive and there is a kind of shame involved as well as shock. I don’t feel it’s as simplistic as NKT brainwashing – it’s a deep confusion as to what can be attributed to Buddhism, or Tibetan Buddhism or to the NKT or to Gyatso, or to individuals who utlilise the NKT system to bully others. The NKT system does give people an enormous level of power and various Deputy Spiritual Directors and Resident teachers have abused this. There are no checks and balances – whilst in place the teachers are to be ‘seen as Geshe-la’. Many people think that Gyatso is not guilty of anything wrong – all that is wrong is a corruption of Gyatso’s ‘pure’ aims – and they wish to keep him as their ‘root Guru’ even if they have nothing to do with the NKT any more. That also prevents them being more vocal in their criticism – they keep it private – as they still want to feel that can have ‘access’ to Gyatso even if Gyatso never was accessible to them in real life.

                      There are others I know who are so traumatised by the experience that they very infrequently talk about it and just want to forget it all and get on with their lives….

                    • Thank you.
                      One qualm:

                      I feel that black and white thinking is essential to our culture – all academic training consists in learning to make arguments – for and against, on debates between opposite views.

                      But what one can learn from academic training is to contextualize things, to see them more holistically, in the sense of dependent arising. By this attitude black and white thinking is undermined and one can develop a more differentiated, a more balanced view, isn’t it? Or am I too optimistic?

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      Yes, academic thinking can get to more subtle levels of complexity but I think that is not always the case – we can get ‘stuck in arguments’ and debates so easily. I think this tendency is particularly bad in politics – people take ‘sides’ and then very little is done, for instance with climate change – China is more prepared than the UK for starters….

                    • true, and sometimes – in the context of religion – there is a liberal-tolerance approach that does not penetrate the deeper suffering people experience.
                      I was quite amazed to see, that Prof. Robert Bluck from Open University “balanced” David Kay’s research by quoting only NKT members (who were the NKT hand picked ones allowed to speak with him) without balancing their sayings by also interviewing ex-NKT people. So he “balanced” a former research – which appears to have been too critical for him – by quoting only members of the (controversial) organisation.

                      Now, as your chapter in the book makes clear, those people he interviewed were selected by NKT who abided by the party line.

                      Still, I like the more differentiated and more neutral style of academic research – though they can be also heavily biased and misleading …

                      What do you mean with “China is more prepared than the UK for starters….”?

                    • When I talk about black and white I mean a purely logical way of viewing life without emotion not just the black and white of debate. I remember a women at our centre talking about child abuse and not being able to understand how people could do it then a long time practitioner said oh it’s just delusions and that was it,the woman looked very surprised by this response. A friend of my husband also said to me he found me hard to discuss topics with because of my black and white way of viewing the world,I just dismissed other’s views if they were different from GKG. When he told me this I really felt shocked I hadn’t seen how rigid I had become,this is when I was starting to fully pull away from the NKT after I had disrobed. You stop hearing other’s, you have this certainty and pride that stops you being flexible or examining the world moment by moment. Individuals stop existing and we all just parrot the same thing. Now I look back it’s like you get colder or at least it’s how it felt to me,I developed an air of superiority in the NKT that is all too common amongst it’s members.

                    • I can only agree with what you are saying!

                      What brought the shock and change for me was my working in a drug addiction project as a NKT monk, where I gave a regular meditation course. (There is always a bit space in NKT for some creativity like this as long as it attracts new people, and doesn’t get too powerful or challenging to the NKT leadership.)

                      The leader of the drug abuse prevention project was a lay Theravada Buddhist. He took me aside at one day and said: “your talks about the hells and the like are not the least beneficial to the people here. If you really want to help them you must change. You must go along with the people and understand their situation”. Then he talked about the dangers of deceit. I was a bit shocked in my NKT monk’s pride – a lay person teaching me what do do and what not to do”, my inner voice complained? But it didn’t last long. I wanted to help, so I started to stop “to teach others” (these deluded beings who don’t know, while I know), I started to listen to them, to the persons with drug problems, to the prisoners etc. I worked with, and then I realized how wrong, misleading the NKT approach is, because you put yourself high up, preaching down to others and instead of understanding their situation you throw ‘Dharma bombs’ onto them, and if this is not helpful for them or they complain, it’s only their delusion, their negative karma or lack of merit.

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      Yes, I agree; I call that a false pride we develop. And I think it’s the basis of the ‘sectarianism’ the Dalai Lama talks about as coming from Shugden practice – we ‘need’ a ‘protector’ because there IS something we need to be protected FROM and that ‘black’ thing (in your terminology) is other people!!! Non-NKT people – poor things – they haven’t had the merit so far to have NKT teachings but now, because of ME, (I am so lucky to be an NKT teacher, aren’t I?) they will have this connection for all future lives…and Shugden will give me the power to do this…As if we are in some kind of exclusive short circuit to ‘real’ blessings from our spiritual guide as Shugden…

                      I feel this all flows together – the NKT system adds hope and fear and pride to the Dharma. And we all become prone to it at some level – ordained and in a position of power (with very few checks) and that pride and lack of flexibility can grow so much. A mind full of pride can’t let compassion in – our ‘compassion’ as teachers would slowly become based entirely on getting people to join the NKT…My compassion developed using NKT teachings when I did a retreat for 4 months before living in an NKT centre but once I lived at a centre it was more difficult as there was no time for a long retreat – everything was memorisation, teaching, admin…’out to save the world’ with NKT speak. Gyatso did say that we should copy the example of Christian missionaries going all over the world….

                    • That NKT pride you talk of is so prevalent,I look back and see I never really heard or saw people they were just people to recruit, I didn’t for a minute think about what was right for them. I felt so happy that I was trusted to teach so soon but it was stupid because I had no wisdom or experience to share. It’s a conveyor belt one teacher after another,so many courses so many teachings it was too much.Maybe that’s why I like Zen now it feels so simple,so fresh and I can practise easily with a child. I still like to pray to Buddha but now I don’t talk much to anyone about my practise,it’s something I want to slowly nurture in my heart I know now the way to help other’s is to soften myself and open up not to preach at them or persuade them to fork out for more empowerment or long teachings,just to humbly practise and let others feel my progress not just my lip service.

                    • Ha ha. Yes, Carol pinpoints this precisely.

                      We have all gone through this too – as so many did and still do or will do in the future.

                      I think, it’s important to have a Dharma practice that works for you. If Zen practice helps you, excellent. As Anon said, Zen is very similar to (Kagyu-)Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Teachings not given in NKT.

                      the way to help other’s is to soften myself and open up

                      excellent. but it takes time. slowly, slowly and step by step. opening up and soften oneself can not be pushed. it are natural qualities that go a long with a correct Dharma practice.

                      It was so well said by the Rinpoche, Carol quoted, that NKT adds fear and hopes to the Dharma and turns it thereby into non-Dharma. This hope and fear has brought the stress, this distortion of the Dharma, the Dharma never brings stress, only ease. Ease and peace and relaxation. NKT has become something like spiritual materialism, where you are made hungry and greedy for more and more and more, you must get more you must give more – but actual, dharma is letting go, and not grasping to something.

                      Just found this in a Lorig commentary by Yeshe Gyaltsen:

                      Non-virtue by way of application is, for instance, misconduct of the three doors that arises in dependence on relying on a non-virtuous spiritual guide, listening to a counterfeit doctrine, familiarizing oneself with it through improper attention, and so forth.

                    • I’m not in any rush now in the NKT I felt a panic,that I’d never have enough time. NOW WITH Zen I know over time I will soften slowly and if I’m just a little softer at death this life has not been wasted.Plus I feel I have something to pass on to my son,I’m learning to listen to other’s and open my heart up to them.I’m trusting myself because it is within myself my Guru abides,my protection,my wisdom I won’t ignore them again. THANKS FOR SHARING Tenpel. Your a hero

                    • very good.

                      our teachers here in Italy stress: “relax! slowly, slowly, step by step …”

                    • This not wanting to let go of GKG I’ve seen a lot,like anyone in the Tradition is to blame but him. I guess we all desperately want to hold on to something pure plus it’s tough to admit to yourself you got it wrong for so long. I don’t feel I got nothing good from the NKT,I was given good moral guide lines to follow and I met some lovely people,in fact I met my husband through someone in the NKT. Yet over all I didn’t progress or grow spiritually and I ignored parts of myself that needed facing. In the NKT you are taught to fight your emotions not learn to accept them this struggle makes ideal ground for fertilizing guilt. My faith in GKG was the last thing to go but then I saw his vindictive nature first hand no room to make excuses for him any more.

                    • Thank you.

                      Can you explain what you observed first hand?

                    • To answer your question about people not letting go of GKG, I know a few people who left NKT,some because of mistreatment others because of the protests. Quite a few still have this doey eyed view of GKG. One told me they will always love him and refuse to accept he has done anything wrong. I guess this is part of trying to view their time in the NKT as mostly a good experience,also when you only see him on a throne a couple of times a year it is very easy to keep a pure view of him. He never says the wrong thing in public. For me the turning point was when I read ‘The great deception’ It struck me as nasty and although it officially had no author I knew he had written it because of the way it was worded. I mean using Muslim as an insult I couldn’t believe it yet no one seemed to think it was wrong. I guess then I really started to see how we all saw him as blameless,we criticized everyone but him yet that book never felt right. The Dalai Lama is not perfect either but I started to think GKG had some private vendetta. Then when my friends were attacked by him verbally and I just couldn’t be ok with it,he did something I couldn’t do so how could he be a Buddha or even a experienced monk? Other’s though didn’t seem to have a problem with it or if they do they’ve said nothing,no one would discuss it at all just the usual oh well the teachings work and that was it for me,it seemed utterly ridiculous that my friends of years couldn’t talk about it and wouldn’t engage because I had a negative view of GKG. I just thought how can you say this is about all living beings when the only one’s your talk to are the one’s who agree with you? I was desperate to talk about it but unless I said the right thing I wasn’t wanted. I am glad I’m out but to lose long term friends over night will always be tough but for me friendship must be honest it can’t be false or based on me towing the line. I will always feel let down by GKG,he promised to look after me and I gave him my life for 10years and he failed me,he is failing his disciples everyday by his lies and using false hope and fears to keep people in check,I feel sorry for him I believe he is mad and no one seems to notice.

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      I feel some people are too frightened to notice – they need a shock to come out of the NKT – because you have to negate or question the beliefs you have held for 2,5,10, 30 years and it is a huge change to make – especially if you are ordained. With others t’s a case of ‘the devil you know’ is safer, it’s all ‘samsara’ outside the NKT and no-one wants to give up long term community. They perhaps already know how devastating it can be to leave long term friendships – it seems that that pain you feel from leaving is something they don’t want to go through – only close friends or themselves being badly mistreated will make them leave or ‘properly’ see through it all. The NKT offers too much and people have invested too much in it to be able to easily leave. Many people (including some resident teachers I knew) are quite cynical about the NKT but, as they say, what else do they have? It’s a hard act to follow if you don’t have a career, a house, etc, etc, to go to. And besides, that’s all meaningless, isn’t it? ;)

                    • Thank you.

                      I can also rely on my own experience with him. I call it a “spiritual execution” what I witnessed. What was a shame is, that I was so paralysed that I couldn’t stand up any more to say that this is totally wrong what he is saying and doing. This real experience with him was my turning point. That I was unable to move or to say something in the presence of a great injustice is for me the result of the brainwashing (using Dharma to install hopes and fear – as Carol has so excellently mentioned – fears and hopes that paralyse one to act). Not even the communists in East Germany were able to paralyse me that deeply.

                      I agree with what another person said: you bring a fresh air of honesty, clarity and real experience into the discussion around NKT. Thank you very much for this!

                      In case it is ok for you, what exactly said Geshe-la when he attacked your friends?

                      In the case I observed he said: “I, I am the NKT! … I have not done any thing wrong, you [my dear followers] have not done any thing wrong. The only person who acted wrongly and is to be blamed is Dechen [my resident teacher]. Because you created this difficult situation, what can I do? [thinking…]. You have brought me into a very difficult situation. No I must solve it. I tell you what I do. Your ordination is broken, your vows are lost, totally gone. Therefore, you cannot use the name Kelsang Dechen any more. If you do, you deceive others. Your Bodhisattva vows are broken, lost …, you don’t have the Bodhisattva vows any more. Your Tantra vows are broken, lost, you don’t have the Tantra vows any more. Therefore, you don’t have a lingeage any more, the lineage is broken, so you cannot teach my books any more. … Now you are free.”

                      What he actually did: He destroyed the basis of her spiritual life she has committed and worked for for years, he crushed her very spiritual foundation. The idea behind it is that he gave her everything (while he ignores that he got also every thing from others, and that she gave him also everything). Because he is the great creator who gave her every thing if she is now the source of his problems, then what does the creator do? In his own right he takes away as he pleases, and he blames her to be the sole cause for problems which have (dependently) arisen. He, and his NKT are utter innocent, only others are to be blamed.

                      This has nothing to do with Buddhism, and it’s contrary to his own teachings, because it ignores dependent arising, and if there is any thing to be blamed it are the delusions (of all those involved in a ‘problematic’ situation.
                      After analysis it became clear to me that thus was just a power trip, and a warning to those who disobey or “create problems” he don’t like to be faced with.

                      What I understood from this is: He “gives everything” and if people obey then fine but if they don’t obey he takes away what has become the very basis of someone’s spiritual life, all that they have put their life, commitment, love, devotion, heart into.

                      Either you follow me, then you are / can become something or if not you are nothing and you have to leave.

                    • Äh, and then he left abruptly. People were very confused. Some weeped, no body was happy. He came back and said, that a new centre will be set up, and left again.

                      One person commented, that we couldn’t say any thing (were so paralysed) was “due to his blessings”. I tried to desperately to say something optimistic in order to cheer people up.

                      The next day the gompa, where this happened, was suddenly flooded with a really huge amount of insects, as if every thing is now totally polluted and dirty.

                      later amdendment. When I wrote a letter to Geshe-la after this “spiritual execution”, he replied:

                      If you decide to follow Carola [Gen Kelsang Dechen], the connection between you and me will automatically cease. As a result of this your ordination vows will cease. This means that you are no longer ordained and that you cannot use the ordination name any more that you have received from me.

                      At the same time you won’t have the transmission blessings to teach my books [any more]. This means that you cannot teach my books as a Dharma teacher.

                      In this way you will be in the same situation like Carola.

                      I hope you have clarity about your decision.

                      With love

                    • Not sure I fully understand what you are referring to could you elaborate please?

                    • I wanted to know what exactly said KG to your friends, and how did he say it?

                    • Could you elaborate on your experience in the NKT and when you left as I didn’t understand a lot that you wrote and I know he asked for vows back which to me shows how twisted and bitter he is.a child in monks cloths. I’d like to know more about your story if you are happy to share.

                    • To elaborate on my experience in the NKT would take some time and needs some effort. I was in NKT from Dec. 1995 to June 2000. The events when Geshe-la performed his “spiritual execution” happened in June 2000 in Berlin. NKT made a manipulated protocol of the event. Since the story is so utter complex and deeply founded in the structure of NKT/KG I would need time to write about it because I could be easily unjust to either my former NKT resident teacher, Dechen, or Geshe-la/NKT.

                      Maybe I find time in this summer to write a full public testimonial 13 years after I left NKT. It might be good to have it. I wrote a brief account here: http://www.newkadampatruths.org/?page_id=83 but asked to keep my name as the author hidden so that the given details don’t fuel the fantasies of the NKT ‘Truth’ Team further. NKT fabricated already stories about me in the internet and I felt forced by these distortions to set up an own private site to give a proper background of myself.

                      I’d like to know more about your story if you are happy to share.

                      I keep that in mind and I think it could be very beneficial. I just started to read Carol’s chapter in McQuire, Carol (2013), “Realizing the Guru’s Intention: Hungry Humans and Awkward Animals in a New Kadampa Tradition Community” in Spiritual and Visionary Communities: Out to Save the World, Edited by Timothy Miller, Ashgate: 65-82. Maybe I do something similar as a public post. There are so many similarities …

                    • It all sounds truly terrible what happened to you and your fellow Sangha. I saw so many I felt were used for their ability to bring new punters in. One friend I felt was so damaged me and a few others tried to talk about it but we were accused of being unloving. She was very emotionally unstable but brought a lot of people through the door, I felt she wasn’t looked after they just let her run around doing what she liked then people said oh she’s Tara it’s fine. In truth she was a very confused little girl in . A women’s body. She is still there and I think about her a lot,she should have been encouraged to get counselling but no one has any practical wisdom their it’s all airy fairy rubbish, so many mentally ill tolerated but not helped.

                    • This is the point: as long as people bring other people into the organisation they have a free hand and are seen as “special” (Tara, special Karma tec).

                      This is also the reason why KG turned a blind eye for so long on Wass’ & Elliot’s misbehaviours: they were charismatic and attracted a lot of new people to NKT …

                      The end justifies the means.

                      It was the same with my RT. Many complained about her, but he refused to act because she attracted so many newbies to NKT. Even when a friend of mine complained about her in a letter to KG his reply in a letter was: “You must see the Bodhichitta in your teacher!”, and later he expelled her for being “utterly selfished”. Ha, ha, ha. My friend had more clairvoyance than Geshe-la, he knew it before he knew it ;-)

                      However, my RT is – as so many – a victim of both, her predispositions and the unhealthy NKT culture which leads to an amount of conceit usually not even ordinary people possess, and which carries one totally away. Inner and outer maras are just a natural outcome of this pride “to be so special”.

                    • It’s true putting damaged unstable people in positions of power,shows no wisdom,if GKG is omniscient I’m the virgin flipping Mary! Apologise to all Christians right away. He shows less wisdom than my 2 year old. Can’t believe I prayed to him for help. Now I just pray to Lord Shakyamuni and Tara, I won’t pray to a living human again then I won’t be disappointed again. Me and my close friend have said when GKG dies the NKT won’t last 5 mins and I hope that’s true. Maybe their will be lots of little break away groups doing their own thing and owning their own property with no jealous monk to steal it from them. When GKG dies the NKT May not have a future but the people in it will,they will at last be free.

                    • Dechen was not unstable, she was extremely gifted, she had/has merits but she was led astray by the NKT system which infuses into one to be “special”, better than others etc. This underlying pride and sectarianism can corrupt even the most gifted, meritorious, and talented person. I think Geshe-la knows how to get total power, and your 2 year old is (at the moment) just too ‘innocent’ just to long for power. A Nyingma friend of mine said: there are three great maras: 1) money, 2) power, 3) sex. I don’t know where he got this, but that seems to be exactly the case.

                      Now I just pray to Lord Shakyamuni and Tara, I won’t pray to a living human again

                      Ha ha. There was a Tibetan, he felt exactly the same and composed a wonderful praise to the White Tara, where he says that nowadays neither the protectors nor the spiritual guides are reliable and leave one alone, that’s why I take only refuge in you, Arya Tara! I couldn’t find the praise on my computer but asked a friend if he can get it for you. It is the perfect prayer for someone who was betrayed by a guru and a ‘protector’.

                      NKT will last or split in parts. Most refer to the example of ISCON and what happened there when they speculate about NKT’s future. I think the quarrel will start over what “Geshe-la said” – because everybody will say “Geshe-la said” according to his or her own needs and intentions. And since the application of reasoning and real wisdom hasn’t been developed much, the struggle will come about what Geshe-la REALLY said, and since there will be different opinions what he said and clinging to opinions is already well established, this might break the NKT into factions. We will see …

                      Maybe their will be lots of little break away groups doing their own thing …

                      Yes, quite likely.

                      When GKG dies the NKT May not have a future but the people in it will, they will at last be free.

                      Mhm. Free? No, I don’t think so. Freedom does not just come because Geshe-la died. Freedom must be attained by questioning oneself, the NKT and by seeing, and removing the mindset of NKT that makes one totally unfree. This amount of “brainwashing” can not be set easily aside. One must work through it and get rid of it by diligent effort.

                    • “A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible”
                      by Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen

                      Introduction by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

                      The following is a request prayer to Tara, “A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible” (Tib: Dung bo lu may ma) written by Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen. It was translated by Lama Thubten Yeshe in February 1979, when he gave the Chittamani Tara initiations and teachings to a group of us at Kopan Monastery. In Lama’s style, this may not be a literal translation, and words may be added to clarify the meaning. These verses deeply touched me at the time and continue to do so.

                      Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen was born in 1836 and was recognized as the incarnation of Gomgan of Hormo. I find it remarkable that he wrote these verses when he was eighteen or nineteen. His mind was in a completely different place than my mind was at that age! He clearly had meditation experience and a strong connection with Tara. In fact, he speaks of her here as his personal guru.

                      From my heart I bow to Divine Mother Tara, essence of love and compassion, the most precious objects of refuge gathered into one. From now until I reach enlightenment, hook me with your great love and kindness to liberate me.

                      “A Song of Longing” was translated by Lama Thubten Yeshe. Reprinted in the following PDF with kind permission from Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archives:

                      “A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible”
                      by Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen

                      By the witness of the Three Jewels, not just from my mouth but from the depths of my innermost heart and bones, I pray to you morning and evening. Show your blissful face to me, Loving One. Grant me the nectar of your speech.

                      Great gurus and small gurus cheat us with their made-up teachings, selling Dharma, teaching without comprehension, not observing who is qualified and who is not, being concerned about their own happiness and the eight worldly concerns. Since I can no longer trust friends of this degenerate age, you are my principal guru. Inspire me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

                      I take refuge in you, Tara; like you, no Buddha could ever deceive me. But understanding the odd character of these times, most Buddhas have gone into the bliss of nirvana. Even though they have great compassion, we have no connection. Since for me there are no other deities, you are my principal deity. Bestow realizations upon me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

                      Most Dharma protectors do not show their powers. Tired of those who invoke them, they do not act. Other protectors, lacking insight but proud of their power, may be friendly for a while but will later do me harm. Since I cannot rely on other protectors, you are my principal protector. With divine action, Wisdom Mother, essence of love, arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

                      To ordinary view the names of objects are the same as their meaning. Like this, they produce afflictions and bind us to samsara. When it is time to die, unless I understand the true nature, could a wish-fulfilling gem enable me to carry even a sesame seed with me? Since I do not trust in illusions, you are my real richness. Please grant my desires, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

                      I cannot rely on non-virtuous friends for even a day. They pretend to be close to me and all the while have in mind the opposite. They are friends when they wish it and enemies when they don’t. Since I cannot trust in this kind of friend, you are my best friend. Be close to me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

                      You are my guru, my yidam, my protector, my refuge, my food, my clothes, my possessions, and my friend. Since your divine quality is everything to me, let me spontaneously achieve all that I wish.

                      Although I am overwhelmed by my habitual, uncontrolled mind, please cut these self-centered thoughts so I will be able to give my body and my life millions of times without difficulty to each sentient being. Inspire me to be able to develop this kind of compassion to benefit all.

                      Empower me to cut the root of samsara, self-grasping, and to understand the pure doctrine, the most difficult middle way, free from the errors of extremes.

                      Inspire me to practice as a bodhisattva, turning away from what is worldly, dedicating all my virtues to teaching living beings, never for even one instant thinking of just my own happiness. Let me wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all.

                      Empower me to actualize as much as possible the most subtle vows and to keep them without a careless mind, thus becoming the most perfect bodhisattva.

                      Outwardly, let me be simple in my practice, while inwardly, actualize the depth of the diamond vehicle with the strong wish to practice the two stages. Inspire me to attain enlightenment quickly for the benefit of all.

                      Divine Wisdom Mother Tara, you know everything about my life— my ups and downs, my good and bad. Think lovingly of me, my only mother.

                      I give myself and all who trust in me to you, Divine Wisdom Mother Tara. Being completely open to you, let us be born in the highest pure land. Set me there quickly with no births in between.

                      May the hook of your compassion and your skillful means transform my mind into Dharma and transform the minds of all beings, whoever they are. They have all been my mother, the mother of one unable to follow the Conqueror’s teachings.

                      By reciting this prayer three times a day and by remembering the Divine Wisdom Mother Tara, may I and all beings who are connected to me reach whatever pure land we wish.

                      May the Three Jewels and especially the Divine Wisdom Mother, whose essence is compassion, hold me dear until I reach enlightenment. May I quickly conquer the four negative forces.

                      If, as long as you live, you recite this prayer three times every day, not just from the mouth (in words only) but strongly linked with your mind, you will have close connection and will see Tara’s face. No hindrances will be experienced and all wishes will be fulfilled. You will have a close relationship with all Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and they will hold you dear. If you recite the “Homage to the Twenty-one Taras” and this prayer, you will attain the Divine Liberating Mother.

                      Colophon: This prayer to Venerable Tara, in heart words making his own requests and also non-deceptive to others, was composed by the Buddhist monk Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen, in his nineteenth year, the Water Mouse year (1852), on the third day of the miracle month (second month of the lunar calendar) at Bengar Namgyal Ling. It is sure to have great benefit.

























                      — verfaßt von dem Edlen Losang Tänpä Gyaltsen im Alter von 19 Jahren.

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      How can Gyatso ‘take away’ someone’s Bodhisattva vows? This view of him goes with the way the Internal Rules are set up – Fleadle, you should read the NKT’s Internal rules, everything is in there – there is a copy on the survivors forum. In this, Gyatso/the NKT ‘owns’ the ordination name and the power given therein to the person with that name.

                      In Buddha Shakyamuni’s vow system I assume that it is possible to take away someone’s vows. But surely this is not possible with the Bodhisattva vows (made to Buddha) or with the tantric vows (to the deity)? Surely one can continue to practice tantra even if the person who gave you the initiations does not agree?

                      If Gyatso, as you say, ‘owns’ all the vows then what madness is this?

                    • How can Gyatso ‘take away’ someone’s Bodhisattva vows?

                      He cannot. It’s impossible to take the vows away. The vows are conferred and are not the property of the person who bestowed it. Even if they were the property of the person who bestowed the vows when he GAVE them they are given, and are nor longer his possession. To take it away afterwards would be the act of stealing, which is taken what is not given and what is in the possession of another person.

                      This behaviour only shows how much possessives and lack of respect for the Vinaya is involved.

                      Usually the Sangha bestows the vows of a monk or nun, and not even the Sangha can take them away. Of course minor forms of ordinations – like NKT’s rabjung ordination – can be given by a single person, sometimes also novice ordination. But at least for full ordination five or 10 fully ordained monks are needed. However, NOBODY can take vows away. One can give them away if one wishes so, see: https://thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com/?p=3195

                      This view of him goes with the way the Internal Rules are set up

                      Selfmade style totally aside of Buddha’s teachings.

                      In this, Gyatso/the NKT ‘owns’ the ordination name and the power given therein to the person with that name.

                      To say it frankly: This is a non-dharmic power trip. It has nothing to do with the Dharma. This is unheard of outside of NKT. Every monk or nun is a monk or nun as long as they didn’t break one of the four root vows. No matter where they live or go. Even when the monks at the time of the Buddha followed Devadatta who set up an own order and split the Sangha, the monks were still monks and didn’t loose their vows. What KG does here is only miserable and sad.

                      In Buddha Shakyamuni’s vow system I assume that it is possible to take away someone’s vows.

                      No. In no way! It’s all subject matter of the Vinaya. NKT monks and nuns have no idea of the Vinaya.

                      If Gyatso, as you say, ‘owns’ all the vows then what madness is this?

                      I don’t want comment. It’s outside of Buddha’s teachings.

                    • Dear Carol. If GKG is deluded enough to think he owns breathing meditation as he told my friend and that he also owns every experience we have had in the NKT then for his sick mind it’s not much of a stretch to think he owns Bodhisattvas vows. My ordination was between me and Lord Buddha no one else. Certainly not a megalomaniac sat on a throne he stole from others.

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      This would imply that Gyatso sees himself ‘as’ Buddha and ‘as’ the tantric deity, the one and only… what is going on with that kind of logic? Or can you see this as ‘freeing’ this nun from the vows taken with him so that she can take new ones elsewhere? (And therefore a kindness?)

                      I have met other monks and nuns who don’t regard their ordination vows either as ‘belonging’ to anyone – only that there is a special relationship with the person who gave them those vows. Surely you ‘own’ your vows – as these monks and nuns said, their ordination was with Buddha, the commitment is to the Buddhist path not solely to a person.

                    • I don’t know what he believes what he is. But if you ask any half-way learned person, they will say that his behaviour (in this context as well as in other’s) is outside of the teachings.

                      I have met other monks and nuns who don’t regard their ordination vows either as ‘belonging’ to anyone – only that there is a special relationship with the person who gave them those vows. Surely you ‘own’ your vows – as these monks and nuns said, their ordination was with Buddha, the commitment is to the Buddhist path not solely to a person.

                      This is the way. Excellent.


                    • Thank you. I think everybody can make his own rhyme from this.

                      He signs his letter “With love” but there is no love. I agree.

                      His empire and he himself and his wishes and visions are of utmost importance. Human beings are like furnitures who can serve his vision and decorate his empire. As the boss he can move them here and there like inanimate things, and if he doesn’t like them he throws them in the garbage.

                    • PS: Dechen had her own issues like wishing to be recognized as a tulku. The situation was indeed not easy. But a person who has control over his mind will act in a positive way in difficult situations.

              • You are commenting on things you have not seen and do not know

  19. “Get your facts straight befire filling the net with evil, nasty comments”
    Great advce from an NKT sympathiser-Just one point, most of the critics know the history-the poster obviously does not. Before posting further, perhaps “happy parent” should brush up on the facts-intimidation with lawsuits, collusion with groups associate with grissly murders etc etc
    As a trained eduucational professional, I am appaled the NKT are being alllowed to influence young minds-would anyone in their right mind want their child conditioned by (and I quote) “worshippers of a spirit of the dark forces”
    Happiness achieved by burying ones head in the sand means one is not free to watch ones back-or your childs

  20. john swainson says:

    Dear Happy Parent

    I am glad you are satisfied with your child’s new school. It is an important time in your child’s development. I have no problem with faith schools for those who can find benefit.

    However, your claims expressed above may well be inaccurate.

    The following is from the documentation about the school.

    ‘Our teachers will be fully qualified educational professionals and practising Kadampas with excellent credentials’.

    ‘Staff will attend the General Programme/Foundation Programme classes at Tara Kadampa Meditation Centre and the New Kadampa Tradition International Spring and Summer Festivals for their continuing
    spiritual and professional development’..

    And as for entering a Buddhist path then the following should be considered

    ‘The International Kadampa Schools will be the gateway through which children of the modern world can enter the great treasury of wisdom and compassion that is known as Kadam Dharma. I would like to
    encourage every child to enter this treasury so that they will find a meaningful and happy life’.

    Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

    ‘The Dharma Scheme of Work at the Kadampa Primary School Derbyshire is offered as an optional subject’.

    if so then how can it be as stated below?

    ‘We see the Dharma Scheme of Work as an integral part of the education experience as a whole’.

    Can it be optional and integral?

    John Swainson

  21. The Kadampa school passed all the UK Government standards before opening. It has been operating for a few weeks only.

    The critics above are not saying anything based on evidence of the school’s results – just voicing their personal prejudices. Not worth listening to really.

    In this crazy world anybody trying to help kids grow up more kind, loving, compassionate, and wise should be encouraged – instead these critics want to stir up problems without giving the school a chance.

    Just give it a rest eh?

    • Dear Person, I have met so many unhappy screwed up Dharma children, leaving their childhood behind them and seeing the world as an unhappy place. Parents allowed to ordain with no one worried about the effect on the children. Parents who abandon their children in order to move into centres being praised as Bodhisattva’s.
      It was my concern for my son that led me to get away from the NKT as I want my son to grow up as a happy,healthy member of society who is able to embrace all beings rather than a parroting NKT child with no joy in life.
      Any one trusting the NKT with their kids is crazy.

      • natalie lamont says:

        So many unhappy screwed up children? I have been a part of the kadampe tradition for 15yrs, I know its history. I do not know any unhappy screwed up children. I have however met very many prefectly normal well adjusted children/teenagers. Just how many screwed up children have you met?
        I’m sure there are some potty parents within the NKT as there are anywhere else. I can also assure you that no parents that I know of have abandoned their children to move into a centre. Ok so perhaps in the past people have got it completely wrong and been way to extreme but from what I’ve experienced over the years, the NKT as a whole has discouraged this sort of behaviou

        • I haven’t seen the NKT discourage this, I’ve heard the Nuns who have done this being hailed as Bodhisattvas. What is said in public and what happens behind closed doors differs a great deal.

          • Thank you fleadle for your input and comments.

            What is said in public and what happens behind closed doors differs a great deal.

            I couldn’t agree more based on my own experiences and what others reported.

        • I saw this happen first hand at least twice it was not discouraged and at least one of the people was told it was an act of renunciation (More like a train crash!)

  22. Oh. and teaching them devil worship-just lay off huh?

  23. If the roots are poisonous, the fruit will be poisonous

  24. john swainson says:

    Hello Person
    Yes, the Kadampa School passed all the pre -registration requirements. I have a copy of the Ofsted report to this effect.
    I have no problem with a school helping children to be kind,loving and compassionate.
    The message from the school however, is confused, as is the Happy Parent with regard to the staff.
    The school state they are not trying to turn the children into Buddhists. The above statement from Kelsang Gyatso implies otherwise.
    The HappyParent states that the staff are not all Buddhists. Again see the above.
    The Internal Rules of the NKT state that all the funds of a centre shall be used for the promotion of the Buddhist faith. I presume the school was established using the funds of Tara Centre. If this is the case then the assets of Tara Centre have been used incorrectly if the school is not about the business of turning the children into Buddhists.
    I wrote many months ago to the Tara Centre Trustees for clarification on this issue but they have failed to reply. Maybe you could ask these questions and send me their answer?

    • Hello John

      I am sorry that you are so confused and obsessed with New Kadampa Tradition. If you read clearly your own post here you may see how illogical it is.

  25. Thank you John for your well informed comments.

    • tenpel

      John’s “well informed” comments have been around for several years now. Why do you feel the need to thank him only now for these? My suggestion would be that you are trying to give some support and try to show that he has a valid point. Well, maybe that is true and maybe it is not. But John’s continual attempts to dragoon others into his campaign against the Charity Commissioners is just so obvious to any informed person….

  26. About me: Married 13 years, I have two beautiful children and my religion is Christian.
    My son is 6 years old and is struggling in state school. There are 35 children in the class. The school is reported as outstanding (ofsted) but has failed my child. My child is below average and begs me most mornings not to take him. I have had many meeting with the Head teacher trying to get him extra support ect but with no luck. As a parent I just want my child to enjoy his childhood education. For me this is very upsetting, I have an unhappy child and below average.
    I felt that mainstream state school has failed my child as he had not progressed in two years!

    Now my child goes to Kadampa Primary school, already I have noticed a difference in just a short time.
    He did not know his 2,5,10 times table, but he does now!
    He did not know his days of the week, but he does now!
    He now tells me what he does in school instead of saying “I can’t remember”
    He can’t wait to go to school in the morning and asks me if he can stay for after school activities.
    He comes home from school and can’t wait to do his home work!!!!!
    I have also noticed that he likes to explore more and is interested in the world.
    He thinks school dinner are the best (dinners are vegetarian)
    He comes home wanting to read.
    He has also shown great talent in creative writing!

    The facilities at the Kadampa Primary School are brilliant they have a cooking classroom, Craft design and technology class room, Art classroom, P.C suit (with about 15-20 computers) the most beautiful library with a good range of fiction and non-fiction books with big beanbags for student.
    The outdoor space is amazing football pitch, sand lagoon area, climbing equipment, vegetable plot, woods, and large fields and so on.

    I attended a parent’s assembly and this has confirmed I have made the right decision. 3 year old children counting in units ie 1,873 – 7,365 ect. My child was singing in part Spanish and English (He has never spoke Spanish) I have attend many assembles in the pass and never seen children with so much enthusiasm and pride.

    Now I have seen for myself and witness as an individual person, I am very impressed, delighted and glad I made the decision to move my child.

    • In case it’s true that you, your child and others have made such good experiences, that’s fantastic!

      However, all former NKT followers followed NKT because in the beginning there were fantastic effects and we were convinced that this must be due to the NKT/Geshe-la (Kelsang Gyatso) and their special way of doing things, lineage etc. This impression was increased by the organisation stressing how special, pure, modern, etc.the NKT/Geshe-la would be. Later when difficulties arose us was told that this comes from our negative karma, negative minds and that we are wrong and not the organisation or “Geshe-la”. NKT has an extremely nice and effective way to be attentive to newcomers, beginners, smiling all the time, being extremely kind but this changes, when one gets more entangled into the organisation and becomes a part of it. Then the attitude is shifted towards to demand more money, more time, more work, and feelings of guilt and fear are induced if one doesn’t do so. Anit-Cultists call this type of charming newcomers (and as new parents with their kids in that school you belong for them to newcomers) “love bombing”. It feels good for the persons who receive it. It has some good effects of course, but it’s just a way to get people into the organisation and it will not continue that way in the future, it’s a temporary method with some temporary good effects.

      Lets see how it will unfold in the long run. There is a reason why INFORM at the London School of Economics has more enquiries about NKT than even about Scientology in the last years, and why there are more than 1000 members in the New Kadampa Survivors forum.

      All former NKT members know about these types of “I have made good experiences” – we all made them often to a high extend but later things went wrong.

      • tenpel

        You said:
        Lets see how it will unfold in the long run. There is a reason why INFORM at the London School of Economics has more enquiries about NKT than even about Scientology in the last years, and why there are more than 1000 members in the New Kadampa Survivors forum.

        But you do not tell us the reason. I will tell you.

        It is because a few people like yourself have made it their personal mission to ensure that these numbers are increased. Repeatedly making similar requests to organisations like INFORM and using different names and email accounts is a well-known way of artificially boosting an issue so that it appears to be more important than it really is. Please do not insult our intelligence. Your strategy is obvious.

        • Dear Person, I left the NKT very recently after 10 years in the tradition. I left for many reasons but the main being I saw a lot of very unhappy and psychologically ill people in the NKT including myself and these people were ignored, as long as you tow the line and bring in money and people it doesn’t matter how unhappy you are and it’s all your fault any way. The last straw was when Kelsang Gyatso threatened a kind Buddhist family and got his minions to harrass them.Is this a kind Buddhist act when all they did was teach basic meditation to some work friends and try to spread and share their own Dharma experiences. Kelsang Gyatso is an egotist who thinks he owns Dharma and uses NKT funds to harass innocent family people.
          Whe I found this out and had all the facts I spoke about it openly on my Facebook page, within a week over 50 people wrote to me talking of their bad experiences within the NKT and how scared they have been to speak out.
          Please believe me their are many unhappy ,, scared ex NKT and present NKT members who need the support of those of us unafraid to speak out.
          I was made to work long hours in NKT centres when I was very ill, I ended up in hospital many times yet since leaving the tradition I haven’t been in hospital once.
          If you are happy in the NKT and do not agree with comments on here why do you feel the need to defend it so much?
          Just chalk us all up as deluded idiots and continue with your happy practise.
          Maybe deep inside you know we are telling the truth. Only you can know for sure if you are happy or not, but you don’t seem at peace.

      • natalie lamont says:

        Again I have been a part of this tradition for a good few years and yes you do get asked to do lots of stuff, and yes at times a too felt pressure… I di however come to realise that the guilt was my own making and if I felt someone else was trying to lay a guilt trip then they were not at that time being a particularly ‘good buddhist’! Oh what a revelation NKT buddhists are not perfect!, at times they can be selfish! they can be rude, they can act in a bullying manner! Along with any other human being!! I used to think that people in a dharma centre were more wise or more better human beings in some way.. That they wouldn’t sometimes be selfish or rude or manipulative or whatever… But of course this is wrong! Our bad habits, delusions don’t just dissapear.
        I am quite happy to say I’m sorry but I cannot help this time, if that’s a problem for thwe other person to hear that there’s not much I can do, but I have no need to feel guilyt!! And just for the record I have never been told to leave, I have ONLY EVER been THANKED for the time I CAN give. And I certainly have never been pushed for money! And nor anyone I know.. I have however gladly given what I can. This nonsense about suggesting the kids will be encouraged to write wills… Well what complete and utter nonsense!

        • People in NKT are just human,they are not bad, the misunderstandings are systemic,the problems are systemic and are ignored. Go online and see if you can find another Buddhist group with this kind of bad press only one other exists, it is th FWBO and their leader was a sexual abuser,why do you think so many ex NKT ers are so unhappy but not ex Sakyas, or ex Zen practitioners? Smoke equals fire.

        • Carol McQuire says:

          Dear Natalie,

          I have been attending a different Buddhist group for 4 years since leaving the NKT due to being bullied. The pressures we speak of exist, it is only a matter of time before there is more public discussion of issues such as the deceptive ordination of the NKT (no study of monastic moral discipline for starters), etc. You may very well be unaware of the sexual activities of the most charistmatic Deputy Spiritual Directors of the NKT – Gen Thubten and Gen-la Samden for which there has never been any responsibility taken either by the NKT or by Gyatso (who in traditional set-ups would be responsible for the welfare of his students, particularly the ordained). These occurred around 1998 and 2008 when the protests against the Dalai Lama were organised. In this broader sense the NKT has a lot to answer for but, like many difficulties in the NKT, these are kept well hidden from newcomers.

          I would like to comment that in my ‘new’ Buddhist group, in four years, I have never been asked for money, never been bullied, never experienced rudeness or unkindness. Why not? Because there is no pressure and most of the group are long term practitioners on lay retreats, working as well, with families, who regard the essence of Dharma practice as the expression of kindness to others not the expansion of a Dharma empire into every city in the world (look at the main NKT website for clear statements of this ethos).

          Any decent Buddhist group would look into allegations, take them seriously and open up discussion. The NKT however, closes itself to criticism and isolates those ‘insiders’ who disagree. I was one of them. The case of Maitreya centre and the bullying of others who disagree is a serious recent issue (a Director was threatened by the NKT through the police with arrest for criminal activities due to valid complaints made by this and other Directors to the Charity Commission). You can read the postings on this and other sites.

          The Kadampa School is a recent acquisition for the NKT – a ‘new’ business which is being looked at by many – of course everyone will be on their best behaviour! But the pressures will increase over time…

          I note that you felt a sense of guilt but did not ‘take this on’ inside you. What about people who feel that guilt and do respond to it? Not everyone is as strong as you are and many people go to the NKT looking for a solution to distress and are thus vulnerable. I have never felt even the slightest pressure of guilt with other Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhist teachers – quite the opposite – the experience of the Dharma and the Sangha is so different from anything the NKT can offer. The NKT has the ‘basic Dharma’ but it has added huge dollops of both hope and fear that have distorted the essential message of Buddha’s wisdom into a commercial enterprise.

          We can exchange more discussion about children and the NKT later on. I brought up my youngest child in the NKT for 12 years. There are many advantages. But we both still feel a sense of loss and betrayal after the way we were treated. I disrobed to stay honest….

    • I wish to add another point:

      NKT is able to attract highly engaged and gifted people too. These people bring their talents and skills into the organisation. And their good qualities and genuine approaches are really good. There is nothing I wish to put down here. Their qualities should be appreciated of course. But it is also good to see them in the context of that organisation – the organisation’s aims, agendas and means. At the end it’s utter up to the individual to see what is stronger: short term benefit, long term harm, short term harm, long term benefit etc or if it is more important to have a well selected outer environment but an organisation that is not interested at all to educate (at least their followers) to independent and critical thinkers but to naive sheeps who repeat like roboters “Geshe-la said”, “Geshe-la said” and at the same time these followers have fear to say something which disagrees with what “Geshe-la said”. Because if they do, Geshe-la will strip them from power, their position etc. immediately. However, if the teachers at the school are not too deeply involved into the NKT system, they might be mentally more free.

  27. happy parent says:

    I can only echo the comments made by Ann. My daughter was in a class of nearly 30 and hatred school never wanting to tell me about her day and not remembering what she had for lunch. She attends Kadampa with enthusiasm and the assembly was amazing.I too come from a Christian family and the decision change schools was the best ever made..

    • Dear happy parent

      How wonderful to hear of your child’s enthusiasm. Long may it continue and may your daughter flourish and grow.

  28. john swainson says:

    If a school is considered by Ofsted to be outstanding then it would be effective in all aspects of the curriculum, and dealing with children of special needs. You say your child is below average and now knows his 2,5and 10 times tables since joining the Kadampa School This is commendable.

    He did not know the days of the week, and now, because he is at the Kadampa School, he does. This is also commendable.

    Speaking as an ex-teacher I would be amazed to know of a child, who did not know the days of the week before joining the Kadampa School and two weeks later he did. I assume you must have tried this prior to joining.
    My question must be, have you not tried before joining the Kadampa School to teach him the days of the week?
    If your answer is yes and you have failed then are you attributing some magical quality to their teachings?

    I feel all this is the equivalent of ‘snake oil’.

    The headteacher of the Kadampa School has a good record according to the Ofsted reports as she was instrumental in turning around a failing school in Cornwall. Good for her. She is a well qualified individual. Her role as headteacher appears to have ended somewhere between 2010 and 2011. What she has done in the intervening period I do not know.

    The staff also have Montessori backgrounds which would also indicate a sound knowledge of early years education.

    My objection to the existence of the school is it appears to have been funded by the Tara Centre charity whose stated aim is the promotion of the Buddhist faith, yet the school maintains it is not there to turn the children into Buddhists. The NKT rules state the assets of any centre should only be used for the promotion of the Buddhist faith.

    Maybe you could ask the Trustees if this is so as I can not elicit a response to the question?

    • John

      You can ask the Trustees yourself again if you wish. Why try to drag other people into your campaign?

      If you have an issue with the Charity Commissioners or the Trustees then by all means take up your issues in the appropriate manner. But your endless repetitions make for boring reading at best and at worst like the writings of politicians looking for us to vote for them.

      The people running the Kadampa school have done nothing wrong – they are following the law of the land. Again if you have a problem with the law then please write to the lawmakers and leave law-abiding people alone.

  29. Happy parent-it is early days yet and you clearly know nothing of the hundreds of abused and damaged folk this organization has left in its wake or of the political hate campaign its founders are embroiled in.

    I am reminded of the Moonies and Scientologists, both of whom run Primary education programs effectively. I would still hesitate to put a vulnerable child in their care however. You obviously do not. Therein lies the difference between us.

    If you say that the background of the management is of secondary import in your opinion, I would ask if you would send your child to a good school, well rated by the authorities, even if the board of governors and headteacher were known to have colluded in abuse?
    This seems to be where you are coming from

    • Anon

      But it is very clear where you are coming from – a strong desire to stir up problems and difficulties – a very strong desire to cause other people lots of trouble.

      Your posts are not really interested in open discusssion or debate. You are only interested in picking off various individuals and placing worries into their minds.

      Please desist. Thank you.

  30. John
    I sincerely hope the Charity Commission are aware of this misuse of funds by the centre concerned. This is clearly yet another attempt by this cult like organization to create the image of mainstream acceptability and normality. These poor parents obviously know nothing of the history of this group, nor indeed and in all probability, do the teachers employed at the school. After all the NKT have worked very hard at hiding the truth about themselves for years. I wonder if any of the parents concerned (who are clearly now committed and will therefore be doubly unwilling to adjust their position for fear of the damage to their children and reputation [in that order?]) ever contacted the UK government quango Inform for information about the NKT before making their decision?What about the LEA-did they check the NKTs history before granting their approval?

    • Anon:

      You say:

      After all the NKT have worked very hard at hiding the truth about themselves for years.

      You can find few organisations more transparent than NKT. Your claims above are simply preposterous. Please ….you know the websites NKT has made publicly available to clarify criticisms like the ones you are making. It is actually you who are sowing negative seeds and obfuscating and confusing everybody. Please stop your campaign – it brings only harm to yourself.


      • If the NKT are so transparent why does Kelsang Gyatso not have the courage to put his name on the vile nasty letters he sends threatening people, why does he let his disciples take the bullet for him?
        Why does he pretend he had nothing to do with the Protests against the Dalai Lama when I heard him encourage us to go to the protests at the time.
        Why did he cover up the sexual abuse of nuns by Gen Samden and only do something when it got out on an NKT website?
        Why does he say he is open to questioning but every one of his disciples that have questioned him gets sacked?
        Why is a kind Buddha banning small children who have done nothing from his centres?
        Why do his followers refuse to answer questions about said abuses and protests and lie about it?
        I’ve seen more transparent mud.

  31. Dear Ann
    You say your son is 6 and did not know his times tables. Times tables are a Key Stage 2 activity. Key Stage 1 is the legal term for the two years of schooling in schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 1 and Year 2, when pupils are aged between 5 and 7.

    It is amazing that a child that appeared to be struggling at KS one and remains at that stage should be already accelerating through KS2.activities.

    In fact, I find your post rather suspicious. If not, deeply concerning. My 20 year old, who is now in his second year at university, still struggled with times tables at 10 years old. At six, he was playing in the fields.

    Your testimonial letter reads like an ‘unsolicited’ comment in a double glazing advert

    • Anon

      Why don’t you just stop harassing Ann? Your posts are picky and negative; your posts, far from being double glazing, are only negative and interested in finding fault; you have no interest (really) in success.

  32. @All, I hope you don’t mind that I confirmed person’s comments. Though person is a bit attacking, I hope you don’t feel attacked. What person is doing is just a good example how most NKT members deal with concerns or criticism being raised. So far none of the NKT supporting comments have in any way picked up the questions and concerns raised. Rather eulogies or attacks have been posted.

    However, I would like to ask everybody not to attack person. I think we can leave it as it is. The reader will decide what’s more reasonable. Anon, please, let’s avoid to become cynical or harsh. The best would be well thought arguments. Thanks.

    • tenpel

      I can defend myself thank you; you don’t need to control what Anon says either – just look to yourself and look after your own business. Try answering some of the points I have made instead of trying to make me look as if I might be like you.

      Your original post at the top of this comments section is unworthy of serious attention as it is so so clearly a prejudiced, misinformed, sniping, unasked-for, propagandising, illogical, badly-thought-out and badly intended piece typical of the ones you have been posting for many years now.

      What really amazes me is the strength of your one-man campaign – I wonder you don’t have a life at all apart from bashing NKT do you?

      Anyway, dear tenpel & co., unless something changes, you will be glad to know that you won’t be hearing from me again on this section as I have far better things to be getting on with.

  33. Dear ‘person’ supporting Ann

    You are quite right I have no interest in success-Its a Buddhist thing, though one would not know that from the proselytizing activities of some “Buddhist” organizations

    You misinterpret my comments-they are not attacks on Ann, They are raising concerns about discrepancies in her (if Ann is a her) claims.
    She stated her 6 yr old child was ‘behind’ on tasks that pupils dont begin studying until they are 7-8 yrs old.

    This can only mean that either:
    A) Ann is not telling the truth or
    B) Her supposedly ‘behind’ child has now accelerated to the state of an advanced learner in a few weeks (term started in September)

    If it is not the latter, which seems highly unlikely overnight, it can only be the former

    Alongside that, the letter seems to read more like an advert or a highly contrived testimonial rather than a genuine, unsolicited one and IMO appears to have been written, not by a KPS parent but by an NKT follower.This is not an attack on Ann, but on what may be disingenuous behaviour

    Again, you state “Your posts are not really interested in open discussion or debate”

    In fact, I tried to open a discussion by asking:
    “If you say that the background of the management is of secondary import in your opinion, I would ask if you would send your child to a good school, well rated by the authorities, even if the board of governors and headteacher were known to have colluded in abuse?”
    Your point is therefore akin to a straw man argument. BTW, no answer has been forthcoming.

    Finally, neither yourself or Ann seem to have grasped the important issue here-The objection to the existence of the school is it appears to have been funded by the Tara Centre charity whose stated aim is the promotion of the Buddhist faith, yet the school maintains it is not there to turn the children into Buddhists. The NKT rules state the assets of any centre should only be used for the promotion of the Buddhist faith

    Since you are clearly a member of the NKT, well versed in their politspeak.(eg You can find few organisations more transparent than NKT. Your claims above are simply preposterous. Please ….you know the websites NKT has made publicly available to clarify criticisms like the ones you are making. It is actually you who are sowing negative seeds and obfuscating and confusing everybody. Please stop your campaign – it brings only harm to yourself.)
    perhaps you could cut to the chase and tell where the funds came from-or ask Mr McBretney, your ‘legal representative?

    • Thank you, Anon!

    • Anon

      First you try to say you are not attacking Ann. Then you virtually accuse her of being a liar. You could not make this stuff up.

      Now I will grasp the “important issue” as you call it. If you and your friends John and tenpel feel that there is something wrong or illegal then why don’t you write to those people who should be able to satisfy your questions? These would be (I guess) the Charity Commissioners and the Charity Trustees. Why do you need to continue ever repetitively going on and on about it here? I don’t know the answer to your questions and neither does anyobe else here or so it seems. So why go on about it?

      • You still havent answered the question, despite being obviously very well placed to answer the question. I am sure the CC are already investigating. The rest of your message is basically just saying shut up. Do you honestly expect us to believe you dont know where the money came from? Do you honestly think people are so woolly minded as to shut up about corruption when the corrupt tell them to? I have shocking news for you-
        1) your organization have a legal obligation to explain this issue
        2) freedom to question corruption is allowed in a democracy-it will continue until the question is answered

        • PS you say Now I will grasp the “important issue” as you call it.
          Then you dont answer and tell me to shut up-Some grasp! Answer the question-where did the money come from. And please, bear in mind your obvious fluency in NKT propaganda and your use of insider language have already shown that you ARE in a position to answer-dont pretend to be an unknowing minion.

  34. And BTW ‘person’-, I wrote If the roots are poisonous, the fruit will be poisonous’

    You responded (rather childishly for an adult) “Ooohhhh! Is your comment meant to scare someone?”

    Well, actually, it is not me who is ‘scaremongering’ but Jigme Lingpa (1729-1798), one of the most important figures in Tibetan Buddhist history (at least on a par with Tzong Ka Pa) although I doubt you have ever even heard of him.

    It was he who stated in his seminal Yonten Dzo (thats ‘Treasury of Good Qualities’ for non Tibetan speakers like yourself)

    ‘If the root is medicinal,the sprout is also medicinal.
    If the root is poisonous,nothing need be said of the sprout’

    And yes, I think he was trying to frighten people. Its the compassionate thing to do. If you saw someone putting their precious child into the hands of politico-religious zealots accused of devil worship, wouldnt you warn them of the dangers? It seems not.

  35. Person
    You wrote

    “people like yourself have made it their personal mission to ensure that these numbers are increased. Repeatedly making similar requests to organisations like INFORM and using different names and email accounts is a well-known way of artificially boosting an issue so that it appears to be more important than it really is. Please do not insult our intelligence. Your strategy is obvious.”

    This is slanderous. Please produce your evidence or withdraw your comment. Later you claim to be ‘law abiding/’ Yet you slander and libel others without evidence, Please explain yourself.

    Also, if this is the case, you know who Tenpel is and so can litigate against him yet do not do so. On the other hand, you hide behind the anonymity of the internet and accuse others of wrongdoing. Doesnt the term ‘double standards occur to you ? If you are brave enough to slander those who are clearly identified, but hide your own identity, isnt this just rank hypocrisy?

  36. John Swainson says:

    Dear Person,

    The following is from the Tara end of year statement to the Charity Commission.

    ‘As stated in our Memorandum of Association The object of the Centre is to promote the Buddhist Faith of the New Kadampa Tradition. The Centre shall work to fulfill its Object through the activities of study, practice, teaching and the observance of moral discipline based upon the continuous implementation of the three New Kadampa Tradition Study Programmes. These activities shall all be within the pure tradition of Mahayana Buddhism of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa as taught by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’

    The Internal Rules state…

    18§1. Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres is to spread NKT Kadampa Buddhism, all the assets of these Dharma Centres shall be used only for this aim.

    The above clearly state the purpose for which centres are created and how the assets should be used.

    Again a quote from the statement to the Charity Commission.

    ‘In order to further the charity’s objectives in the future there are plans to develop the first International Kadampa School. Plans have been submitted and accepted by the planning department and building work and applications are underway’.

    And later, Tara announced this.

    ‘On Saturday 25th August, we opened our first Kadampa Primary School in the world’.

    So this shows the assets of the Dharma Centre are being used to establish the school.

    The question arises, does the creation of a school, which does not have as its core role, the spreading of Kadampa Buddhism, fit the criteria laid down by the New Kadampa objectives?

    The problem lies in the statements by the Headteacher who is responsible for what happens in the school.

    Extracts from a Buxton newspaper reporting about the Kadampa Primary School.

    ‘But as head teacher Ratna Kelsang, who herself has moved from a mainstream primary school in Cornwall for the venture, explains, although the school adopts some teachings of Buddhism, the faith itself is not at the centre of the project.

    She said: ‘It’s about getting rid of the stress of everyday life and gaining happiness.
    Life is challenging, and it will help the children in the future’.

    ‘It’s more about happiness than Buddhism’.

    ‘We are not a faith school as such; more than half our families aren’t Buddhists’.

    ‘Our ethos is about happiness and setting an example by thinking in a positive way’.

    ‘We are a normal, excellent school with extra happiness and that’s central to what we do.’

    If all this is ‘central to what we do’ then why are the assets of the Tara Centre being used for a project not related to its purpose?
    Person, you say….
    ‘You can ask the Trustees yourself again if you wish. Why try to drag other people into your campaign? If you have an issue with the Charity Commissioners or the Trustees then by all means take up your issues in the appropriate manner. But your endless repetitions make for boring reading at best and at worst like the writings of politicians looking for us to vote for them. The people running the Kadampa school have done nothing wrong – they are following the law of the land. Again if you have a problem with the law then please write to the lawmakers and leave law-abiding people alone’.
    You also say…
    ‘Now I will grasp the “important issue” as you call it. If you and your friends John and tenpel feel that there is something wrong or illegal then why don’t you write to those people who should be able to satisfy your questions? These would be (I guess) the Charity Commissioners and the Charity Trustees. Why do you need to continue ever repetitively going on and on about it here? I don’t know the answer to your questions and neither does anyobe else here or so it seems. So why go on about it?
    You can find few organisations more transparent than NKT. Your claims above are simply preposterous. Please ….you know the websites NKT has made publicly available to clarify criticisms like the ones you are making. It is actually you who are sowing negative seeds and obfuscating and confusing everybody. Please stop your campaign – it brings only harm to yourself.

    Well, I wrote to the trustees in the first instance, but no reply. This is a common response to a difficult question. The Charity Commission have also been informed of my question.
    Your reference to New Kadampa Truth is interesting.
    They say…..
    ‘For over 10 years Kadampa Buddhism in the West in the form of the New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) has been subject to a great number of false allegations. The purpose of this website is to try and respond to these with facts and the truth’.

    This appeared on New Kadampa Truth. Blog….
    ‘Would it be correct to interpret the silence following my last post as no one’s willing to even talk about it?
    New Kadampa Truth replied…
    ‘I don’t think that follows. No one has replied to your comments but it doesn’t mean they are not willing to talk about it — they might simply have no more to say on the subject.
    You made a reasonable suggestion and perhaps a press release will be issued if it seems that is the right thing to do, and it is not considered too late. It is up to the NKT office. You can also write to them directly whenever you want’.
    I later wrote…
    ‘I feel the lack of response from the NKT office and New Kadampa Truth render their function, as sources of clarification or truth, redundant.

    However, I may be proved wrong?

    Still no response.

    New Kadampa Truth blog does not show how many messages are awaiting moderation to the general public but there are seven messages from myself still awaiting moderation from 2010.

    Does the New Kadampa Truth blog still operate?

    To finish I find your statement ‘You can find few organisations more transparent than NKT’ one to contemplate.

    In the end I feel it is correct.

    We can see straight through you.

  37. Atisha's Cook says:

    you guys are nuts. this is unhealthy, Tenzin. :-(
    maybe take a break from the computer now, fellas, eh? time to meditate.

    • hey guy, where has your ‘wise advice’ been when the NKT was on rambling against the Dalai Lama, yelling, shouting, raising fists, slandering etc ;-)
      when you or NKT fellows find faults (even merely projected ones) its right and justified what you are doing, if other people find faults (projected ones or real ones?) its wrong and you suggest to meditate.

      • Atisha's Cook says:

        i haven’t dropped in here for many months. it looks like you’ve all got quite a bit less rational in the meantime. i”m not trying to be a d*ck; i really do think you and John and so on are not helping yourselves with this obsession.

        • Atisha's Cook says:

          actually – you know what, Tenzin? go ahead and delete my last comment: it’s not going to be helpful.
          AC x

          • No it’s helpful. It’s interesting to see that your activities on Wikipedia and elsewhere and the engagement of NKT editors in Wikipedia and here on the blog and all over the internet, media, youtube etc. is not obsessive while my engagement is. It is always the same pattern: NKT is right but critics are wrong, obsessive, mentally ill, hold a grudge, are confused …

            • Another Western Tibetan Buddhist describes the dilemma (of the arrogance involved):

              It makes me sick to my stomach when I see Westerners, dressed up like monks and nuns, protesting against the Dalai Lama in the name of some idiocy that doesn’t belong to them. There’s a real arrogance attached to this, wherein these people believe they “know better” simply because they invested themselves in something.


    • Allegations of mental imbalance against ones perceived enemies are paranoic and a well known cult tactic. I also noticed ‘person’ trying to claim Tenzin was one man show too, in an attempt to undermine and discourage him, another well known tactic

      How many members does New Kadampa Survivors have?
      How come genuine Buddhist centres usually count as 15-20% of their membership, ex, short term NKT?

      For every new follower,dozens have left- just because not all of them care to warn others, that does not mean they do not know.
      Build your golden temples if you will-like cities built on ice lakes

      I am amazed how a group which teaches its followers to seek happiness in this life arent aware that Atisha said the dividing line between what is and what is not dharma is whether or not one seeks the happiness of future s opposed to this life

  38. Looks like Head Office told person to shut up. Stirring up the natives often results in unwanted attention after all-I wonder if the known liar and bully John McBretney was involved? He seems to be the NKT weapon of choice at the moment? (Oh dear, another mention of their current king of hubris online-what will that do to his personal google rankings?)

  39. Oh look-Atishas Cook!
    Elsewhere on the net………..

    On September 10, 2008 at 11:22 pm Atishas cook said:
    hi –

    i’m an NKT resident teacher and ,

    Or, on Wiki
    Emptymountains, Truthbody, User:Truthsayer62 and User:Atisha’s cook are all NKT editors who have tried to change the Wikipedia entries according to NKT needs, deleted 3rd party academic sources, who appeared on different blogs and internet forums to defend NKT, and of who have indeed a WP:COI

  40. john swainson says:

    Cooking the books then?

  41. So the Cook asks for comments to be deleted?? So, the NKT wb team HAVE been told to shut up! Looks like they are getting worried about the misuse of funds issue-wonder why?Remember, they got Capone on tax in the end

    • Atisha's Cook says:

      i haven’t been told anything by anyone with respect to my posts. they’re mine, they express my own personal opinions, and i stand by them.

      i asked Tenzin to remove the comment i made suggesting you guys should take a chill pill because i understand that it isn’t going to help you calm down and stop spewing all this negativity. seems i’m right. :-(

      and please – setting up a primary school is a VERY different activity from persecuting people for their faith! comparing the WSS protests against the Dalai Lama’s religious persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners and you three winding each other up about NKT setting up a primary school really is, i’m sorry to say, bonkers.

      that’s it – i’m out; all i’m doing is winding you up further. the last word is yours – knock yourselves out.

      • yes, you’re right, we’re wrong. we are negative, you only have good intentions.

        i think the ultimate sake of the primary school is to influence and finally convert the kids to NKT. its just another method to get people into the NKT, a stone on NKT’s mission to spread into every corner of the world ;-)

        Dorje Shugden persecutes those who even touch books from other schools like Nyingma. his practice is bound to sectarianism and gelug supremacy. to restrict such a practice is an act for freedom because a restriction or even a ban of such a practice frees religious practitioners from sectarianism and elite thinking. there is nothing wrong in this.

        thanks for your contributions. readers will make up their own minds.

  42. John Swainson says:

    If the New Kadampa Truth site had functioned as intended then there would be transparency. They would be able to explain to those who asked questions, the thinking etc. behind the actions. Then there would be the opportunity to discuss properly.
    However, all we got in the end was silence.
    This appears to be a common occurrence.
    The NKT did not appear in Court in the case of Highden Manor, even though there was a refutation by Steve Cowing on the New Kadampa Truth Blog, for a fleeting moment, saying they had done nothing wrong and in consequence demanded a couple of £million for damage to reputation.
    There are many other cases of denial, which, in the current climate here in the UK, especially with regard to sexual exploitation, are relevant.
    These are related to individual’s actions and not to policy but there was a reluctance to accept that this was happening.

    Had there not been a substantial body of evidence, persistently presented then these charges would not have been considered.

  43. Lineageholder says:

    You sound angry, Tenzin,. I’m sorry you took the protest against the Dalai Lama so personally, but they were done for a good reason, to protect the monks who were callously expelled from their monasteries, and to prevent the further degeneration of a precious spiritual tradition.

    I’m also sorry that you see fit to project unhealthy motivations on the Kadampa School project, which like every other NKT project is designed to bring benefit to everyone. I know you won’t believe that, but the testimony of the parents who have children at the school and time will show that this is indeed so. All the best.

    • People who leave the NKT (like me) are confused. These disgruntled ex-members are full of anger, and they were mentally unstable beings even before they had entered the NKT. They have personal agendas, take things personally, and they have no pure motivation. Surely they are misled by the Dalai Lama, and cannot see that the NKT has only good motivations, sound reasoning and want to bring only benefit to others. Poor beings. So sad. What to do with them?

  44. john swainson says:

    Dear Lineageholder
    I don’t believe, in all the time I have been a critic of the NKT, that I have discussed the doctrine. I leave this to other scholars. My main thrust against the NKT has been how it is admnistered. My time at Losang Dragpa Centre was both inspiring and disheartening. Whatever may have been going on as an undercurrent I was not aware, but there was an atmosphere conducive to the practice of dharma.
    Things changed as new hierachies emerged. There was a management which proved itself to be less than sympathetic to the needs of the individual and even to the majority.
    I will not say any more on this subject as you are aware of my campaigning so far.
    I do not consider the motivation to establish a Kadampa Primary School as unhealthy. Is it unhealthy for any faith to have a school which promotes its own values? That is opinion. Where I find a problem, lies in the use of funds from the Tara Centre contrary to its stated objects. My arguement is stated above.
    John Swainson

  45. And now lineageholder-ur, what lineage?:the NKT has no lineage??. The lineage they lay claim to is the Gelug tradition’s
    Pehaps they mean their ‘ordination lineage’? oh dear, thats not valid either, it having nothing to do with the Vinaya on which all valid Buddhist ordination lineages must be founded
    Oh I get it-its the NKT webpolice lineage.After all, along with the above mentioned Emptymountains, Truthbody, Truthsayer62 and :Atisha’s cook, all NKT editors who have tried to change the Wikipedia entries according to NKT needs, deleted 3rd party academic sources, who appeared on different blogs and internet forums to defend NKT, lineageholder too is a member of the same dedicated webteam-word certainly has trickled back to head office to fight the good fight
    You can read some of LHs blind ramblings on Rick Ross http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,61584,108243
    same old tactics:denial, allegations of delusion, claims to purity (oh oooh-New Religious Movement alert)

    • NKT has a lineage. Though it’s not complete. It lacks a lot, it’s incomplete.

      I think if I were still in NKT I would argue like LH or Atisha’s Cook … You have to argue this way because you cannot question NKT or what you started to believe in. This would be “doubt going into the wrong direction” “very negative” etc. … There is a chain of thoughts that keep you within the group and doesn’t allow you to question things. However, it feels very right if you think that way. Maybe deep inside the intuition says something different but then you start this chain of thoughts and this keeps you on the track. … so it is.

      • Atisha's Cook says:

        ok, i know i said i was done, but you got me! :-) i have to reply to this…

        where do you get these ideas from? i ask questions and question my beliefs each and every day – have done for years. i’ve never been criticised for it.

        your view – of the School, of NKT, of reality – is unrecognizable to me. it’s completely different from my experience, and that of the vast majority of other people.

        • thank you AC. Of course our experiences are different. But they don’t invalidate each other. They can coexist.

          However, having gone onto the personal level, still the questions remain open asked in the post and the comments.
          NKT’s mission is to spread everywhere the own Buddhisms (called “Kadampa Buddhism”), and this is the sole purpose of NKT. So the school project is necessarily also for this purpose, to get the children introduced to NKT’s Buddhism.

        • “it’s completely different from my experience, and that of the vast majority of other people” D’you mean everyone else inside the NKT or are you speaking on behalf of all beings everywhere?.

        • Dear Atisha’s cook, I suggest having a go at criticising Kelsang Gyatso see how your treated then. When I had doubts about the protests I was basically told to have faith, even though apparently Kelsang Gyatso doesn’t get involved with politics.
          No one has free speech in the NKT, even those poor people who finally escaped can’t write books about breathing meditation as apparantly Kelsang Gyatso invented that to.
          Tell my Yoga teacher that she’d love a good laugh.
          Free speech good one.

          • natalie lamont says:

            Oh good lord!! When has Geshla ever said he invented breathing meditation!!
            I have critisised Geshla and just about everyone in Tara Centre questioned and had their doubts about the protests, each and every person was told to make their own mind up on it!!
            Can’t beleieve I’ve wasted so much time reading this stuff on here.

            • so so. if it was so voluntary to go to the protests, then please explain why Geshe-la urged the NKT resident teachers to urge the people to go to the protests and why – if it was so voluntary – he removed Lucy James from being a resident teacher for objecting this?

              Here is a reminder:

              Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008
              Subject: Letter from Geshe-la FAO Managers & community of KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center

              Dear Lucy,

              With regard the demonstrations, I myself and my students have not done anything wrong. We have no political aim and we are not involved in any political issue but are simply trying to prevent the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa’s doctrine from being destroyed by the Dalai Lama and we are trying to prevent future problems and dangers for Shugden practitioners throughout the world.

              You know that not one single student of NKT Dharma Centres in Florida joined the demonstration in Hamilton, NY, and this week the Admin Director of KMC Florida has resigned saying:

              Since the beginning of our involvement with the NKT we have been repeatedly told that the NKT was not involved in politics. Now that the NKT has opened up with its political position and begun demonstrating I can no longer be a part of the organization. This complete lack of honesty about the NKT’s involvement in Tibetan politics is the reason for my departure.

              This clearly shows that the students have seriously misunderstood the demonstrations through receiving wrong information from you – their Resident Teacher.

              You directly told me that the NKT was involving in political activities and that this was against the NKT and Dharma Centre constitutions; this is completely untrue.

              Previously I wrote two letters to the Resident Teachers and Admin Directors of NKT Dharma Centre’s (which are pasted below) in which I clearly explained that the NKT was not organising the demonstrations, the NKT was not involved in political activity and there was no basis for either the NKT or Dharma Centre constitutions to be broken.

              I am very sorry that you have not trusted me. Because you do not trust me I cannot work with you therefore my conclusion is that you should resign from being an NKT Resident Teacher. From 1st May 2008 you will no longer be an NKT Resident Teacher. I will prepare a new Resident Teacher for KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center.

              With much love and prayers,

              Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

              Cc NKT Central Office, Gen-la Khyenrab, Gen-la Dekyong, Managers & community of KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center

              Letter #1, sent April 13, 2008

              Dear Resident Teachers and Administrative Directors of NKT Dharma Centers,

              You have received a copy of the letter sent to Sera Lachi, Sera Je and Sera Mey by The Western Shugden Society. From this you can understand that it is very possible that The Western Shugden Society will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama. Concerning this issue, we should know five things:

              1. The demonstrations will be organised by The Western Shugden Society, not by the NKT.

              2. The Western Shugden Society is the unification of all the Western Shugden practitioners, and NKT is a part of this main body.

              3. When the main body, The Western Shugden Society, organises demonstrations, the NKT needs to voluntarily contribute and help.

              4. There is no basis to break our constitution or internal rules because this is not organised by the NKT.

              5. The Western Shugden Society organising the demonstrations is not for the purpose of the six monks only, it is the method to prevent the destruction of the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa, and to stop the extremely forceful campaign that the Dalai Lama is doing now to eradicate completely the practice of Dorje Shugden in India and other countries through unlawful actions.

              We should recognise that the NKT is not involved politically, simply supporting The Western Shugden Society with these demonstrations. Peaceful demonstrations are respected by democratic governments, it is the position of the people, we should take this opportunity, there is no other method to stop the Dalai Lama´s campaign against Dorje Shugden practitioners.

              There are three wheels of Dharma activities: 1) the wheel of studying Dharma, 2) the wheel of meditating on Dharma, and 3) the wheel of working for the Dharma. These demonstration actions are included within the wheel of working for the Dharma. Please keep this pure motivation.

              With love and prayers,

              Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

              Letter #2, sent prior to April 27, 2008

              My Dear Students,

              I need help from you to solve the Dorje Shugden problem created by the Dalai Lama. Right now the Dalai Lama is removing the Tibetan Shugden worshipers from the Buddhist community saying that Shugden worshipers are not Buddhist because they worship an evil spirit – Shugden. At the same time he is preparing to remove western Shugden worshipers from the Buddhist community with the same reasons. His aim is to destroy the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa´s doctrine. To stop this evil action, as the representative of the Western Shugden Society, I personally will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama directly. I requested Kelsang Pema and Kelsang Thubchen to do this job for me and they have accepted.

              Please help Pema and Thubchen with whatever they need.

              With much love and prayers

              Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

              NKT Office
              Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre
              Conishead Priory
              Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 9QQ
              [+44] (0)1229 588 533
              http://www.kadampa.org http://www.kadampa.org

              nobody claimed – as far as I remember – that Geshla “invented breathing meditation”!
              Why are you saying this?

              • natalie lamont says:

                ‘apparently Geshla invented that too’
                It seems it was more about Lucy not trusting that it was not political.. Anyway Lucy is now a resident teacher

                • natalie lamont says:

                  And of course he urged them! He wanted to help, it was nothing to do with polotics, I was there when Pema came to report what was happening to these people… Yes people were definitely encouraged, but in the weeks after her visit we were all encouraged to raise our concerns and question openly, some decided for whatever reason they didn’t want to protest and were not too ‘scared’ to voice their views and others decided they did, simple as that.

                  • it was nothing to do with polotics,

                    Geshe-la said himself that it has to do with politics. See Do New Kadampa Tradition abuse the Charity Status for Political Activities?

                    BTW, as far as I know, at least one of those who dared to object (or better just hesitated to join) the protests in 1996-98 also lost ‘position’. Lucy is not the only case. Even if your experience was different to that. NKT could have performed a type of “pseudo-democracy” asking based “on free will” but only to comfort people while in the background the resident teachers was made clear that it is expected that they and their students join the protests. This type of non-public pressuring in the background is quite hidden to common NKT followers. There is a duplicity within NKT, what is told to followers and the public is different than what is believed and done in the background. (I can give you examples for this type of duplicity.)

                    • It was made very clear to us at our centre we were expected to go or go against our spiritual guide who is right about everything and we are wrong. We weren’t made to go but we’re heavily guilt tripped into going.Then the NKT lied and said they didn’t organise the protests,why lie if it’s all ok?

                  • Did Pema also tell you that “these people” (not all of them but the close circle around Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche) planned to kill Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche’s assistant Tashi and to put the blame onto the Dalai Lama, and that it was Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche who made this conspiracy public? Did she tell you that there is a real problem with fundamentalist Shugden practitioners who according to Indian police brutally murdered a Shugden opponent, Gen Lobsang Gyatso? – quite likely not.

                    Have you ever thought about the coincidence that Steven W, the famous successor of Geshe-la, was just uncovered for his sexual relationships with nuns in the public, and that the protests were a welcomed means to attack an outer enemy instead of facing the own internal problems? – And have you ever thought about the coincidence that Neil E., the first famous successor of Geshe-la, was also just uncovered for having a sexual relationship with a woman, and that the protests in 1996-98 were a welcomed means to attack an outer enemy instead of facing the own internal problems? – quite likely not.

                  • Funny but encouraging people to engage in political protests doesn’t appear in the spiritual curriculum of any centre of any other dharma group I’ve been to-what scripture is that from? “I went along to learn how to meditate and wound up screaming ‘Liar’ at the Dalai Lama” Is that really what you signed up for?

                    • Also Natalie
                      Be aware that much of the Buddhist world of all the traditions look on with a mixture of contempt and derision at the gullibility of those who KG has duped into becoming foot soldiers in his political war. Why do you think this is? Are they angry and judgmental? Or do they see naivety and credulousness?
                      Which do you think it is? Did you ever stop and take stock and ask yourself what you were doing? or did you just commit to the first thing that came along that looked like it offered a refuge without investigating? Did you ever google NKT and ‘scandal’ before you committed to the re education program?

                    • You hit the nail on its head. This is exactly what happened to me and many others.

                      I wanted to become a Buddhist monk but ended up in hostility and hate against the Dalai Lama, not being even a proper monk, fearing and restricting myself not to read non-geshe-la books, totally absorbed in sectarian ideas and issues, while having made believed “the Dalai Lama is a liar who deceives the world”. What a mess NKT can make out of oneself [and one does allow to make with oneself] – if one doesn’t hit the road sooner or later …

                  • Funny how both came after sexual abuses by the Gen-la’ s of the day, just coincidence I guess.

                • It seems it was more about Lucy not trusting that it was not political..

                  Lucy trusted Geshe-la. He himself said that the protests are political. But since he changes views and ideas how it suits his politics (arbitrary), he claimed this time the protest are not political. It was only consequent by Lucy to remind him, that he contradicts himself. Obviously such free minded and correct thinking is unacceptable for Geshe-la. He does not allow different point of views. Hence he removed her from position ashamming her in the public for having failed to trust him (which is ‘THE sin’ within NKT), while he failed himself.

                  To give evidence to this:
                  Geshe Kelsang Gyatso said in his Open Letter to the Editor in Chief of the Washington Times in 2002:

                  However in October 1998 we decided to completely stop being involved in this Shugden issue because we realized that in reality this is a Tibetan political problem and not the problem of Buddhism in general or the NKT. We made our decision public at this time everyone knows the NKT and myself completely stopped being involved in this Shugden issue at all levels. I can guarantee that the NKT and myself have never performed inappropriate actions and will never do so in the future, this is our determination.

                  and further he said in a self-published interview on Google Groups with his student Yvonne Nilles in 1996:

                  … At the beginning I completely ignored this and I thought I would never involve myself in this Tibetan political problem…. On the other hand, I thought that if I became involved in these politics I would be criticized by many people and that even my life may be at risk, but finally I said to myself that I must stop self-cherishing and work for the welfare of these people. First, we organized to publish all the information we had received from India through many different newspapers in the United Kingdom, but no-one would print it… After the third demonstration, I strongly requested the members of the Shugden Supporters Community to stop all political activity immediately…I requested the people in Dharma Centers to forget all these politics and concentrate solely on their Dharma practice. In this way our activity lasted from May until July, only three months. This was my first experience of politics in this life. I pray that this will never happen again in the future.

                  see: Do New Kadampa Tradition abuse the Charity Status for Political Activities?

                  Anyway Lucy is now a resident teacher

                  of course he has total power over his organisation and can install/reinstall as he likes to do – like an autocrat, non-democratic. If people please him and serve his ideas well they go into high position, if they are there and bare to disagree with him he removes them “because of not having faith”. In the past teachers were removed because thy dared to recommend a book not written by him.

                  You said you would know NKT’s history. How deeply do you know it really? This statement above that the protests and the issue is ‘a political problem’ is part of NKT’s history.

                  ‘apparently Geshla invented that too’

                  can be answered only by the person who made that statement. I cannot remember the context and lack time to check it (if I find time I will do so). Thank you for the hint! It’s highly welcome to correct any wrong or misleading information.

                  • natalie lamont says:

                    Oh dear seems I’ve rattled you… Just got home from work and found 21 emails all posts from you! Really I am sorry, I don’t mean to upset you. all that your saying here is stuff we all know, Whether political or not Geshla simply wanted to help fellow Shugden practitioners who were being persecuted.
                    In answer to whether I just chose the first thing that came along, I just had a curiosity about Buddhism, no dramas or feeling I needed refuge,I looked at other traditions and was happiest with what I found in geshlas teachings. i was aware of the Dalai Lamas stance on Shugden practice, both sides of the story. My resident teacher has spoken openly with me about questioning things, and believe me I have had times when I have had to question!
                    As I remember it the Samden thing came at least a year before the protests, so find this comment confusing.
                    As for asking Ringyal, she was my FP teacher for 2/3 years and she has always been happy to talk about anything.
                    Your experience of Dharma centres is completely different to mine, yes one can sometimes feel a certain pressure but after much reflection myself I saw that it was not put on me by anyone. Where the pressure actually came from was me wanting people to think well of me, thinking that working really hard was opposing self cherishing! When in reality it was self cherishing causing me to be concerned with my reputation, whether I appeared to be a good resident. The reality being that actually it was fine to say, sorry I need to rest, I have my son to take care of. I would add that I have NEVER as a parent been asked or expected to take anything on that would affect my parenting…Yes there have been times in the past when maybe I had taken on too much, and when slowing down itmay take others a little time to get used to the idea that you cannot commit so much time. But this is for them to get used to. Geshla always teaches to use your OWN wisdom, if there are what seems to be ‘bad’ practitioners around you then have compassion, they are merely trying their best and yes probably getting it wrong, but don’t we all get things wrong sometime?. some people have strong tendencies to behave in certain ways, whether rude or selfishly, whatever, but they are trying! I used to hold people up on a pedestal, not resident teachers, just general residents, but then I realised we all suffer from strong delusions at times, not everyone is acting as a sangha jewel all the time, that’s why we help each other. I have lived in a centre for 4yrs, volounteered in a centre for 7yrs and been on a study programme for nearly 15yrs. I have to say in all that time my experince of my centre has been on the whole a remarkably harmoniuos one, with people interacting in an honest way, saying what they feel including management. Ok so a few go around looking like they have a brush stuck up their arse and are clearly suppressing some anger! But they are doing their best, for them! The practitioners around these sort can clearly see the uptightness but they do their best not to judge and practice compassion.
                    Yes I know it seems people have just been used while they are usefull and more care should be taken not to ask too muc. As I said mistakes have been made, that extreme culture that was around is actively being stamped on, as a parent living in a centre with a child at the school I have been told to help take care of new parents coming in and check that they are not taking on too much.
                    As for your comments about the school, I know very well how my child is being educated, what is being taught and how he is being influenced. After all I have first hand experience of it. The claims that children will be taught to feel that if they are angry they are bad is completely untrue. Geshla himself teaches to accept our anger and acknowledge that it is there, how can we make any progress without this acknowledgement! The teachers we have are of a very high standard and are clearly experienced in child psychology, the way they interact with the children is an absolute joy to see.I personally feel very happy that I am able to provide my son with the education that is offered at this school. And don’t worry there are plenty of very forthright, headstrong parents buddhist and non buddhist!! I’m sure they would be the first to ring alarm bells should there be any ‘brainwashing or subconcious negative influences’ Proof I suppose will be in the pudding, I for one, am sure my son will be well equiped to move on to senior school in a few years time, the school is creating some great ties with the local community here, and will be mixing with the children of schools in the local area. Anyway I only wanted to find the email address for the school and ended up on here out of curiosity, I have spent far too much time and more than likely wasted time here. I do hope your blogs don’t have a bad effect on the progress of the school, although got to say I would be extremely surprised if they did. I wish you all the best, perhaps if all buddhists of every tradition just stick to trying to apply the dharma they’ve learned from whoever our minds can become more peaceful. (By the way, I have books by Thich nhat hanh, Pema Chodron, and even (although have to say i’ve not read much of it) Eckhart Toll! in my dharma book collection) as of yet I have not been attacked by the NKT police;-) Sorry couldn’t resist, always amazes me when people say they can’t read other books.

                    • Natalie, if you send more comments with a spin of the facts I won’t approve further comments by you in the future because it consumes to much time to correct them.

                      Your comment starts already with a spin, and a baseless allegation. You didn’t upset me. I understand where you are coming from. I just replied to some of your comments.

                      Oh dear seems I’ve rattled you… Just got home from work and found 21 emails all posts from you!

                      Fact is that you wrote 8 comments, and I replied to five of them. Then there is 1 in reply by me to Anon, 1 to fleadle. 1 to john – altogether 8. Five were addressed to you and were sent because you seem to be unaware of NKT history. If the first sentence is already a spin, I am not much interested to read more or even to reply to your comment.

                    • i was aware of the Dalai Lamas stance on Shugden practice, both sides of the story.

                      so you know about its history and the level of sectarianism involved and that it is the practice of the aristocracy bound to keep and gain power, teaching gelug’s supremacy and looking down on other schools? you know that it started with a vengeful spirit and not as a Buddha?

                      My resident teacher has spoken openly with me about questioning things, and believe me I have had times when I have had to question!

                      great. there are exceptions in the NKT. But exceptions are not the rule. And we discuss here basic mechanisms in NKT and not too much exceptions.
                      OF course I and others could also ask questions and they were answered according to NKT pov and the warning “not to develop doubt going in the wrong direction” or “to loose faith”. The way is how the communists answered my questions: according to the party line, to bring me in line with it.

                      As I remember it the Samden thing came at least a year before the protests, so find this comment confusing.

                      You said you are aware of NKT history. Are you really?
                      The Samden thing had its effect on NKT practitioners who were getting more and more confused when the truth couldn’t be suppressed or denied any more. And the confusion of them grew because of the inadequacy of the NKT leadership to deal with it. Then some few people had the courage to ask in the official NKT chat forum about it (and there was an insecurity of the moderators how to deal with those questions). When the inquiries and doubts in the official NKT chat forum became more prevalent Kelsang Gyatso ordered to shut down the NKT forum because such discussions (about Samden) were “meaningless activities”. So, when it comes to discuss things which really shake the “faith” discussions are suppressed directly from the leadership. Geshe Kelsang wrote:

                      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.

                      So, no space to “openly questioning things”. To understand multiple sexual abuse and how it could happen is “enjoying meaningless activity”. When the NKT chat forum was closed many were even more confused and expressed it in the internet too. Then gradually the Shugden issue was picked up and one year later NKT practitioners could enjoy “meaning[ful] activity, discussion” about the “failings, lies and deception” of the Dalai Lama. The protests and discussions around it utter absorbed the NKT people and the questions about Samden and the doubts got lost through distraction to an outer enemy. Ha ha ha.

                      As for asking Ringyal, she was my FP teacher for 2/3 years and she has always been happy to talk about anything.

                      Good, but as you see from the example above. Honest discussions about things which matter and to have another point of view are directly oppressed from the leadership. And most time this happens behind the scene.

                      Your experience of Dharma centres is completely different to mine,

                      Because you made good experience, such experience cannot deny the bad experience I and others made. There are always exceptions. NKT is quite homogeneous but still there are also some tolerant, less narrow NKT teacher, and as long as they follow the party line and attract new members they are accepted. However, there is no Buddhist group which has a self help forum for ex-members with more than 1100 followers. This tells something. Your good experience cannot invalidate others’ bad experiences, others’ bad experiences cannot invalidate your good experiences. The question is how they arose and how they can coexist.

                      yes one can sometimes feel a certain pressure but after much reflection myself I …

                      I and others know what we speak of when we speak about pressuring in NKT. In my case it is not what you explain in your comment. Geshe-la put pressure to expand centres, to get his books into the book shops to make public readings of his book – in brief to expand his empire. I won’t allow you to deny my own experience. It’s a fact that I, my resident teacher and many others were and are pressured (with very skilful indirect means, duplicity, double language) to “serve” the NKT.

                      Geshla always teaches to use your OWN wisdom,

                      He also teaches, that we are deluded beings, how then can we use our wisdom? In NKT he knows, all others are deluded. If you see things different to him, you have no wisdom, if you follow the party line, “Geshe-la says”, you have wisdom.

                      The thing it is more complex! Statements have to be seen in context of the complete NKT culture/background and its history.

                      Also, what he teaches and how he acts behind the scene are two different things. For instance he says that the NKT centres belong to the people but if things don’t develop as he wishes he writes letters with “you have stolen my centres”, he says in public people can read other books but he expelled people from the Manjushri head centre because they had books not written by him on the shelf. A person who wanted to meet his lama (Geshe Jampa Tegchok) he threatened “if you meet him, you are not longer my student” etc. Sorry, you don’t know the history of NKT. The problem comes right from the leadership.

                      I have to say in all that time my experince of my centre has been on the whole a remarkably harmoniuos one, with people interacting in an honest way, saying what they feel including management.

                      Fine. Wonderful.
                      As I said, your experience cannot invalidate the negative experiences of so many others.

                      With respect to the woman/kid situation I have nothing to say. So I cannot comment on this. However, I know the pressuring in NKT, hence for a mother it must be worse. I know from Carol that it was very difficult for her, and that she was made homeless by the NKT. You should discuss this with Carol or fleadle and not with me.

                      As for your comments about the school, I know very well how my child is being educated, what is being taught and how he is being influenced. After all I have first hand experience of it. The claims that children will be taught to feel that if they are angry they are bad is completely untrue.

                      It was expressed as a concern and not as “a truth”. The concern is based on NKT’s unhealthy culture where the suppression of feelings and a pressure to be “always happy” (which is seen as a sign of a “good practitioner”) are quite dominant and put a lot of pressure onto oneself, “to smile all the time”.

                      Geshla himself teaches to accept our anger and acknowledge that it is there, how can we make any progress without this acknowledgement!

                      I agree with “how can we make any progress without this acknowledgement!” I cannot remember that Geshe-la stressed much “to accept our anger and acknowledge that it is there”, he stressed much how negative these are and in the context of NKT culture this rather led to the suppression of feelings and emotions and to pretend to be a ‘happy, pure Kadampa’. So in my experience and those of others, the culture within NKT is rather to suppress feelings and to ‘perform oneself as a happy person’.

                      The teachers we have are of a very high standard and are clearly experienced in child psychology, the way they interact with the children is an absolute joy to see.

                      Excellent. I didn’t raise doubt about their mundane education, and skills.

                      I personally feel very happy that I am able to provide my son with the education that is offered at this school. And don’t worry there are plenty of very forthright, headstrong parents buddhist and non buddhist!! I’m sure they would be the first to ring alarm bells should there be any ‘brainwashing or subconcious negative influences’

                      Good that you are happy.
                      But I fear the ringing of alarm bells won’t function necessarily or did your alarm bells ring within NKT? My rang, but my doubts were skilfully manipulated by my resident teacher who successfully brought me back to the party line. She was extremely skilful to undermine my intuition, making me doubt my own feelings, so that the alarm bell was turned off. Maybe your alarm bell is already turned off, and that of others will be turned off?
                      You are a part of a system, where the people who write here on the blog were also a part of but what they left, and what they reflect now from a critical point of view. Your and their view won’t come much together, I fear.

                      Proof I suppose will be in the pudding, I for one, am sure my son will be well equiped to move on to senior school in a few years time, the school is creating some great ties with the local community here, and will be mixing with the children of schools in the local area. Anyway I only wanted to find the email address for the school and ended up on here out of curiosity, I have spent far too much time and more than likely wasted time here.

                      Thank you for your contributions and for taking time!

                      I do hope your blogs don’t have a bad effect on the progress of the school, although got to say I would be extremely surprised if they did. I wish you all the best, perhaps if all buddhists of every tradition just stick to trying to apply the dharma they’ve learned from whoever our minds can become more peaceful. (By the way, I have books by Thich nhat hanh, Pema Chodron, and even (although have to say i’ve not read much of it) Eckhart Toll! in my dharma book collection) as of yet I have not been attacked by the NKT police;-) Sorry couldn’t resist, always amazes me when people say they can’t read other books.

                      Thank you. Great that you read also other books!
                      If you are open you can just ask yourself and then observe: “Why don’t read many NKT practitioners other books?” Such a inquiry and search can bring you to a deeper understanding of NKT.

                    • As you say Natalie you are having a very different experience of the NKT and I’m glad about that,I know from 10 years in the NKT that there are a lot of good people in the Tradition who are trying their best to practise Dharma as they know it. I don’t believe there is an evil conspiracy just a lot of misunderstandings of how to practise wisely and how to use are own wisdom. Mostly I think the reason for this is a lack of experience in teacher’s and too much hurry to spread the Tradition. Unfortunately this has meant a lot of people have been hurt and no one seems to admit to the problems,the abused are left to feel alone and abandoned,labelled as deluded or Maras suddenly without friends or support or understanding,so we talk online to try to move on, find peace and warn others that this can happen. I hope you never share our experience because it hurts so much to have your resident teacher treat you like dirt when you look up to them and to have your Sangha no longer speak to you because you no longer say the right things. I know how many good people are in the NKT and how they look up to a Guru who would discard them like junk if they didn’t just follow him without question. You sound like you have a good RT and you are fortunate, because your experience is so different from thousands of us is a good thing, I hope it stays that way for you and your child. I don’t believe the NKT will ever stop having so many critics until it addresses the problems that exist. I now have found a way to practise that is empowering and I enjoy but I still feel so sad that so many have and continue to suffer,I’ve done a lot of internet exploring of other Traditions and none have this amount of criticism,why? I hope you are right about the school because if you are wrong a whole new generation will suffer.

            • You are probably unaware of many things that GKG does but he threatened to sue an ex member for writing a book on breathing meditation saying it was NKT property. He sent many threatening e mails and threats to sue ex member who try to write books based on their experiences is very common. He doesn’t announce his dodgy activities but do a little digging and your find lots of accounts of people embarrassed by this so called Buddha.

  46. Another testimonial from the NKT wb police, here, as ever, painting themselves as faultless and others as filled with deluded projections. Very Buddhist
    As for lineageholder, google “lineageholder” new kadampa and see how prolific this little innocent actually is.

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that the issue of the fraudulently funded school is causing extreme discomfort up at head office and so the web police team, (whose names can be googled easily just to see how much time they vote to this little hobby of theirs) have been spurred into action. keep up the good work all here. They are running scared.

    • Some one should tell them to apply Dharma to them selves not everyone else. Oh no sorry that would be correct Dharma practise, sorry my bag.

      • Fleadle
        Please dont worry, you are just seeing it clearly now. But try not t o hurt yourself. stay strong and understand that while you have been strong enough to break out, the brainwashed ones are too frightened. They need your pity and understanding Everything you say is right but please be gentle on them-they are lost-you are found

        • Thank you Anon. I wanted to say something nice to Fleadle but nothing helpful came to my mind. You found the right words: “Everything you say is right but please be gentle on them-they are lost-you are found.”

  47. Kadampa Primary School Our Ethos
    “Everyone can be happy, all of the time! Sounds unbelievable? Its true!”

    Oh yeah?Which scriptures that from? As my eldest said “Oh f********. How can anybody believe that s***t?

    Compare to the First Noble Truth-just a slight contradiction there-or are they offering enlightenment by the end of key Stage 2?

    These people should be held to account under the Trades Descriptions Act! Talk about the triumph of style over content

  48. Lineageholder says:


    So now you are denying the existence of liberation? Do you believe in an inherently existent First Noble Truth that it’s impossible to escape from?

    Being happy all the time is the aim of Buddha’s teachings. If you deny this possibility you are rejecting Buddhism.

    • Carol McQuire says:


      You have given yourself/the NKT away here.

      You say that ‘being happy all the time’ (Kadampa School ethos) is liberation, is enlightenment. The only way to become enlightened in the NKT is in the NKT (the only pure Dharma of Je Tsongkhapa – which is a joke as the NKT don’t study ANY texts by Je Tsongkhapa!!!). Therefore the Kadampa schoolkids are therefore, in your logic, candidates for NKT enlightenment. But the school ‘doesn’t promote’ the NKT..!!!?

      NKT speak is so often full of contradictions and slippery logic…

  49. Being happy all the time is the aim of consumerism, not the Buddhas teachings.
    More importantly you admit that the school ethos is speaking of leading pupils to Buddhist liberation, contradicting what has been stated here previously So which is it

  50. It is well known that Atisha taught that the dividing line between what is Dharma and what is not is whether one seeks the happiness of this or future lives Hence, the teachings on the 8 worldly dharmas tell us to abandon attachment to happiness and aversion to suffering in this life-The school ethos appears to promote attachment to the happiness of this life. if,as you indicate, the ethos statement refers to the long term happiness of liberation, then clearly your aim is to promote the Dharma to non-Buddhist children, by assisting them in seeking the happiness of liberation..Please clarify which goal your school promotes

  51. Quiet, isnt it?

  52. Yeah, apart from the sound of squirming, you could hear a pin drop

  53. john swainson says:

    Remember Person?

    ‘Now I will grasp the “important issue” as you call it. If you and your friends John and tenpel feel that there is something wrong or illegal then why don’t you write to those people who should be able to satisfy your questions? These would be (I guess) the Charity Commissioners and the Charity Trustees’.

    I have written again to the trustees as suggested by Person. If I have done this, as suggested and still receive no answer, it should raise a question in Person’s mind.

  54. Atisha's Cook says:

    i think you’re being silly now. all charity trustees have to account for their charity’s activities to their members as well as to the Charity Commission; do you really think that all this hasn’t been carefully thought out, discussed and checked by them? but if you must, go ahead and check. be sure to let everyone know what you find out.

    • though this is not addressed to me … how can NKT charitee trustees “carefully thought out” things when it is demanded from the top that only those totally committed to NKT get position as charity trustees? When NKT set up the Kadampa Hotels the NKT office spread this demand to the NKT centres which asked to replace all trustees by faithful students of Geshe-la …

  55. john swainson says:

    Dear Atisha’s Cook

    ‘..all charity trustees have to account for their charity’s activities to their members as well as to the Charity Commission; do you really think that all this hasn’t been carefully thought out, discussed and checked by them?’

    Concerns highlighted by a Parliamentary Committee included in this extract from Hansard.
    There will be ‘experienced members of staff leading the charity on a day-to-day basis; they do not always take the time and trouble to make sure that the trustees are engaged in the decisions about public service delivery’.

    Extract from Charity Commission reply to my question regarding the assets of LDC
    ‘It would appear that the transfer was not in accordance with the Internal Rules because Manjushri KMC is described as being a part of NKT-IKBU and not a separate Member Centre. The relevant clause states that assets after dissolution shall be distributed to one or more than one other Member Centre of the NKT-IKBU in the same country.
    I will therefore write to the charity to advise that the charity must comply with its rules. I will advise trustees that they need to be able to justify their actions to the charity’s members and supporters’.

    The NKT stated they had checked with the Commission about the distribution of assets but as we see above the transfer was not in accordance with the Internal Rules or the Commission would not be advising the NKT of that breach.

    The Parliamentary Committee again.

    ‘We would be concerned if charities went outside the purposes that they have, so if they wandered off their charitable objectives. We would be concerned about the financial situation, if charity trustees were engaged in activities, frankly, in which they did not recognise the degree of financial risk they were running’.
    Did the Trustees really consider the results of their actions when pulling out of the purchase of Highden Manor? Has the NKT accounted for their charity’s activities to its members? There was a short lived post on New Kadampa Truth. Why was this hastily retracted?

    So, the question is being asked again with relation to the Kadampa School.

    John Swainson

  56. “do you really think that all this hasn’t been carefully thought out, discussed”?
    Actually, AC I think it was!
    First thought was ‘Lets set up a school to make us look legit and convert the next generation of innocents into NKT clones’
    Then someone said ‘Well, thats a great idea but we cant really set it up as a faith school because no Buddhist from any genuine tradition would ever send their kids here (Nobody trusts us!) and we cant really afford to do it if the only kids we get are the children of NKT followers since there arent enough of us in the area around the center’
    ‘I know’ says someone,’We’ll set it up as a school for all, not a faith one, and use the money the non-Buddhists pay to finance the growth of the school and, indirectly, our campaign to achieve mainstream, non-cult status!’ Great! ‘Lets do it!-just make sure that you dont let on that we are using the publics money to convert little innocents into NKT clones or that this is actually part of a wider campaign for legitimacy-If you do that, the games up!’
    So the school isnt portrayed as a ‘Buddhist’ one; rather, its one run by ‘Buddhists’ using ‘meditation’ techniques (see the website) to create ‘happy’ children.

    All of this was fine until Lineageholder came along and appeared to make it clear that the aim of the school was not to grant worldly happiness but rather to lead children to the bliss of Buddhist liberation-and then disappeared before clarifying this (told to shut up?)-So which is it?I am sure that parents of non Buddhist children in the school, Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate would want to know?

    Also, were the authority that granted the school permission to act as a place of education (Was that Ofsted or the ISI anyone?) made aware that the Department for Children, Schools and Families had received various representations from a number of MPs about the ‘cultish behaviour’ (Werent there even some questions in Parliament?) of the NKT? Or did the trustees also think of that? One wonders.

    • i think these polemics don’t help.

      if you are in NKT and in this “NKT mindset”, you really believe you are doing something good for the better of the world. you are really convinced that you have only a good motivation, that what you do is just “for the benefit of others”. what you cannot see is the greater image, that NKT is like a McDonald franchise with branches who exactly copy the same model, who offer “one package for all” claiming that this package would be complete, that it would work for everybody (and if not, it’s your fault, your impurity, lack of merit etc.).

      It’s also not considered that the NKT empire might be just for the gratification of its founder, who of course also truly believes this “is only for the benefit of millions of millions of sentient beings”. So one won’t see what type of ego clinging, identification, pride, sectarianism, elite thinking etc. forms the motivation too. When the present successor, Kelsang Dekyong, guided a meditation during a summer festival some years ago she lead through a visualisation asking the mediators how it would be if there would be a “Kadampa Temple in every major city of the world”, she suggested one should visualize this in order to make it come happen. Usually nobody would openly question what type of ego clinging or self-grasping is behind such ideas that Kelsang Gyatso’s books or his temples, his NKT must be present all over the world. And since NKT is so much isolated you have no chance to really question it and to learn from better examples. Someone said recently (and I think this is also true for Ole Nydahl and his Diamondway), that NKT is set up like a marketing brand, like Coca Cola or Nike, it’s a business of Buddhism, which offers a strong adherence and identification for its followers. The process of identification might be strongly related to a weak self, that feels incomplete and by identifying with the greater “pure New Kadampa Tradition”, its claimed “pure lineage”, its demands of being the inheritor of the famous and very sincere old Kadampas, such weak selves can raise from their weakness and assumed “dirtiness”* temporarily to something higher, more pure, more grandiose. Sadly this process does not neither overcome the wrong conceptions of a weak or impure self nor the conception of inherent existence but binds the people emotionally very strongly to NKT.

      It needs a lot of questioning + understanding of cross cultural issues and cross cultural misunderstandings to get a better clue about the dynamics within NKT, and as so often, if you are in the midst of it, it’s very hard to see it from another angle. So, I think its better not to become cynical.

      * I remember a NKT teacher saying “without the Buddhas we would be like dirt on the bath tub.”
      The use of pseudonyms like “Lineage holder” or “Atisha’s Cook” rather confirm this analysis.

      • Sadly, while the polemic IS somewhat cynical, in this case, it would appear to point very realistically to at least some of the thinking on which the schools founding was based-Some would say this is pessimism; others, realism..

  57. Atisha's Cook says:

    John, why are you asking me this stuff? i’m confident that the trustees are acting appropriately, thanks. if you’re not – well, if you have a good, virtuous reason then go ahead and ask the relevant people. if your motivation isn’t good, you’d be better off dropping it, to be honest.

  58. Atisha's Cook says:

    anyway – i AM out now. i have a feeling Tenzin’s right: we have different views, and none of us is going to have any success changing the others’ perspective! happy to say that i disagree with your analysis, Anon, John, Tenzin, etc., and leave it at that.

  59. john swainson says:

    Deat Atisha’s Cook

    You may not read this but anyway I will say it. The questions I posed were asked in answer to your statement about the trustees checking the viability of certain actions. If they had checked and taken good counsel then the actions such as those taken may not have occurred. From the evidence I have, I can argue the point that the trustees have acted, maybe in the best of faith, but unwisely. The lack of explanation from those on high, when they say they are transparent and will always try to answer questions in order to clarify situations, leaves only room for speculation.
    My motive for engaging in all of this is to alert prospective clients of the NKT as to what I consider to be the anomaly between the doctrine and the way the needs of the organisation are held to be paramount.

    As you say ,we will not, in the near future agree.

    John Swainson

  60. Cynic that I am.. i strongly suspect that this is an attempt NKT webpolice person AC to bury the issue by starving it of oxygen-If theres no one to argue with, the argument stops after all.-Problem is AC,, the cats already out of the bag and I suspect those who you advise to act are already engaged in exposing the contradiction that is the funding of the school, as well as the motives behind setting it up as a non faith independent

  61. Lineageholder says:


    You always view things in the worst possible light. I agree with Atisha’s cook, there’s no point in discussing this because it just leads to disagreements. We will never see eye to eye on these issues, so let’s just get on with our practices. Anything else is just a waste of time. All the best to you and everyone.

    • actual, I think, you don’t have arguments to reply to the questions being raised, hence it is better to disappear ;-)
      however, all the best for you and AC too! :-)

  62. The other thing is, the more activity there is around the Kadampa School on this page, the more the major search engines pick it up-so obviously, the NKT will want to restrict all references to the Kadampa School, Sorry, is that Kadampa ‘School’ with a capital ‘S’ for School, or Kadampa school with a small s’. as in Kadampa ‘school’??

    Oh, I checked- Its ‘Kadampa School’ (for anyone interested in commenting about the ‘Kadampa School’ )

  63. Some Parliamentary Questions (there are two pages of them at http://www.parliament.uk/search/results/?q=kadampa

    Mr Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South):To ask the Secretary of State for
    Children, Schools and Families, what guidance he has issued to schools
    on dealings with organisations which have been the subject of
    allegations of cultish behaviour, with particular regards to (a) Friends
    of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) New Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka
    Gakkai International; and if he will make a statement.
    Mr Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South):To ask the Secretary of State for
    Children, Schools and Families, what his policy is on the offering of
    grants to organisations against which there have been allegations of
    cultish behaviour to support their activities in schools. with
    particular regards to (a) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) new
    Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka Gakkai International; and if he will make
    a statement.

    EDM 332
    Colman, Tony

    That this House is concerned by the large number of cult organisations operating in the United Kingdom, which under the guise of religious belief or practice, recruit the unwary and vulnerable to membership and exploit them for financial, commercial or sexual purposes; notes action by other European countries to warn potential victims and control the activities of such organisations, in particular the legislation passed by the French parliament in 2001; deprecates the continuing failure of successive British governments over many years to take any action to protect our citizens from the activities of such cults; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to legislate accordingly.
    Signatures( 44)

  64. Not very modest: “looks forward to working towards becoming the best school in the world!” and what does this mean: “How do we do this? Children every day take short meditations where they learn, step by step, gradually, how to cultivate inner peace and deal with their negative feelings through a series of magical guided visualisations.”?


    Magical guided visualisations, maybe in this way (?): ‘Imagine, Geshe-la is coming to you, he is a Buddha, now he is blessing you, he comes in the aspect of Dorje Shugden and looks very wrathful, and now all your problems have magically disappeared. Imagine he melts with your heart and you become inseparable. Now your Guru, Dorje Shugden and you are one.’

    Guided Meditation can be easily abused as Dekyong has shown when she made everybody visualize during a NKT Summer Festival to “imagine, that there is a Kadampa Temple in every city of the world.” Moreover NKT meditations are very limited and do not encompass all types of meditation but only those which establish the doctrine in the mind. Though breathing meditation is being taught it is seen as inferior to meditations like the reliance on the guru (the source of all happiness & attainments), precious human life (how happy can you be to have met NKT and Geshe-la) etc.

  65. Funny how a few years back, the new MP and former Times journalist offered those who attended an Inform conference at which he spoke his help on issues revolving around New Religious Movements (or ‘cults’ as we philistines call them), the growth of which he was ”deeply concerned’ about, What a strange coincidence that he should now be the UKs Secretary of State for Education. Makes you think??

  66. His name?Michael Gove

  67. There is another point. Usually all agree in the Western world, that secular education and religions should be separate and not be mixed. The Dalai Lama for instance knows this and respects this well, that’s why he is strongly recommending that meditation or education for kids should come from neutral mundane research and being taught in a non-religious secular way. He uses the term “secular ethics”. So he well discriminates between secular education not being mixed with religion and religion itself.

    NKT is utter religious and committed to the NKT doctrine as presented by its founder Kelsang Gyatso, all the constitutions of NKT centres (and this is also true for the Kadampa School) are for the promotion of NKT and “Kadampa Buddhism” respectively.

    The Four Placements Of Mindfulness, as well as the mindfulness meditation which has been scientifically evaluated (by John Kabat-Zinn and others, e.g. MBSR) is not being taught in NKT and the NKT teachers are not trained in it. So NKT rides on the “positive effects of meditation” to get their doctrine to others. What is not explored is: what types of meditation NKT gives to the kids and how it is made sure that guided meditation is not abused to get control over the kids, and their thinking. There are also mediations being taught in NKT that can cause panic attacks. To give an example:

    When I was a NKT teacher and guided a mediation according to Kelsang Gyatso’s Meditation Handbook, a participant of the meditation course got a panic attack, and I responded stupidly according to the NKT system: “Oh. Sorry. This is just your negative Karma ripening. See it as something positive.” That it was a fault of mine to have taught this type of meditation to a person for whom it is not helpful, didn’t come to my mind because according to NKT mindset, NKT is perfect only the people are not.

    There are other mediations that can increase depression or pressure. It’s really a complex thing, I wouldn’t suggest to take too light.

    • john swainson says:
      • “What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics.”

      • John, this seems exactly the reason for NKT too: “I believe its potential for introducing young people to the depths of our faith to be very great indeed.” (A quote Dr Williams from the Telegraph): Maybe NKT is also spreading so easily all over UK (NHS, Chaplaincy, Schools, now their own school) because UK has this mix of secular and religion + and the missionary drive of NKT go well together in this country …

      • Tiger Lily says:

        I heartily agree with Rowan William’s comment. Thankyou John for posting it. A book that I highly recommend and have just finished is
        “Mind in the Balance”: Meditation in Science, Buddhism & Christianity.
        by B. Alan Wallace. It conveys an understanding of deeply contemplative traditions which are strikingly similar. The Dzogchen experience which Wallace expounds is profoundly embued with Christian values and very accessible to us Westerners.
        Also Keith Dowman’s translation of “Natural Perfection”: Longchenpa’s radical Dzogchen, illuminates the experiental understanding of Emptiness as coming from a heart-felt state of contemplation.
        These are explanations of Tibetan Teachings that I have long been waiting for. Really wonderful they have come from Westerners.

    • natalie lamont says:

      Sound like you are baming the NKT for your tactlessness!

      • Natalie, so far each of the points you have raised has been proven to be false, and evidence to the contrary has been produced in abundance Your response has been simply to reject all allegations because they do not concur with your experience Is that all you’ve got? if your proof is that your experience is the defining factor, then, assuming you are not yet enlightened, enlightenment does not exist-because it’s not your experience weak reasoning is usually an indication of no proof

  68. Maybe this article by a Buddhist reflects some of the concerns well: “Meditation in Schools” http://www.thinkbuddha.org/article/277/meditation-in-schools

    The article also reflects the British education system:
    “In the UK, this is complicated by the fact that education is not secular in the first place (nothing is, in fact, for in the UK the church and state are still hitched together).”

    • john swainson says:

      I have no problem with anyone starting a school which promotes their own faith. It is fine for those who are of that faith to be educated in an establishment dedicated to that faith. If you open up the school to those of other faiths or non at all then it is incumbent upon that school to provide a balanced education. This would imply there was religious education as opposed to religious instruction.
      I followed this in my own teaching when in the State system. I could describe the different faiths but not instruct. How could I know the inner workings of a faith if I were not a practitioner?


      This interview with Chris Heyes has him saying the aim is not to turn people into Buddhists. Sound familiar?

      These classes are run by Nagarjuna Centre. Their stated aim is the promotion of ……you know what.

      • Thank you John.

        Germany, and I think France too, have a strong separation of education and religion. It is taken care of that children in schools are not converted to religion. But religion might be introduced to them. (There might be also schools based on faith … but I have to check this.)

        It’s a bit difficult, I think, to call the school on the one hand Kadampa School (Kadampa=putting all teachings of Buddha into practice) and at the same time to say that people are not turned into Buddhists.

        Looking into this article you posted … Is there a new Campaign by NKT? This is is the third article promoting NKT I read in one week in this “www.thisis…” websites?

        Actual I like it that the people is being helped with meditation, but as far as I know NKT and their way, this claim “Our aim is not to turn people into Buddhists, [he laughs| the practice of meditation is to replace negative with positive thoughts.” is just to dispel the discomfort and worries people might have and as soon as they have developed some trust they will try to draw people into the NKT. One can read this in the same article. As soon as the person attending the meditation develops some trust, Chris is already giving him Buddhist teachings: “We all have a Buddha nature in us and we all can be enlightened,” says Chris.

        So next time he comes, Chris might suggest him the Meditation Handbook by Geshe-la, a study Programme, to come to a public talk …

  69. john swainson says:

    Just so no one forgets what the objects and aims are….

    The objects of the charity are to promote the Buddhist Faith under the spiritual guidance of the elected Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKTIKBU) principally through activities of teaching, study, practice and the observance of
    moral discipline all within the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa, as taught by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the founder of the NKT-IKBU through the continuous implementation of the three NKTStudyProgrammes.TheGeneralProgramme,the Foundation Programme and the Teacher Training Programme.

    Aims and Activities
    The charity aims to provide tranquillity to enable students to study, practice and observe the moral discipline as set out in the objects and this has been achieved so far by establishing Nagarjuna Centres at Kelmarsh and in Leicester City. Both of which are still developing and
    raising funds and donating to the International Temple Project as run by NKT-IKBU which is a project to introduce the Buddhist Faith of the New Kadampa Tradition publicly throughout the World.

  70. john swainson says:

    Yes, I remember the Mormons coming into my school in 1962 saying they were going to show us how to play baseball. Very inviting. There was an American Army Base close by and this is where they were based. I was 15 and in 1962 the Americans seemed quite exotic. We were invited to play baseball on our school field and then to join a team on the Army base. Then came the Mormon push.

    You may not understand this Tenzin but in Yorkshire we may say ‘all is impermanence but now’t changes’.

    Bullshit is always bullshit.

  71. john swainson says:
    • Thanks John. only some brief thoughts from glancing through the first paragraph. (i have not much time to follow the discussion, and it hurts my mind also to read this piece you linked …)

      the piece starts already with a profound misunderstanding. the guru is not a person to whom one surrenders. the term devotion in English might inspire a misunderstaning. the Tibetans have a saying: “I am my own master.” by surrendering to anybody one gives up one’s own responsibility, and puts it into the hand of others to free the mind from its bondages. but this is not the meaning of buddhism. this type of surrendering is rather a misunderstanding, and it might come from Christian ideas. i remember a kind geshe, when I left NKT he frankly said to me: “never ever allow others to have power over you!”

      the following sentence of the post you linked is really self-deprecating and has also nothing to do with Buddhism: “Right now we are a lifeless zombie incapable of acting since we are completely controlled by our delusions and have never tasted the enlightened experience of being all living beings.” We are not Zombies, we are human beings with faults and qualities, for some they have more qualities than faults, for some its equal, some have more faults than qualities. It is also incorrect to claim that we would be “completely controlled by our delusions”, we have states of mind which are genuine positive, kind, wise etc. of course not necessarily very much, but they are there too, also without a guru. (Though its said that positive actions of sentient beings are also the enlightened activity of the Buddhas, which means, they inspire to them by their blessings.)

      This type of self-deprecation I met quite a lot in NKT, and also my NKT teacher suffered a lot from it. All of the Dharma is to work on the own mind and not to surrender to a person. If the guru is reliable then his advice contributes to that working on the own mind. The mind is the focus of the practice and not surrendering to an outer source.

      Glancing just briefly a bit more, I found this sentence: “I try have no plans of my own, no agenda of my own other than to surrender/submit to Dorje Shugden.” Sorry, this is crazy. He cannot find freedom by surrendering to an outer being, this is to give up oneself and to think the job is to be done by another.

      There is a teaching by the Buddha which is often quoted, it goes a bit like this: “I cannot remove the suffering of sentient beings with my hands, I cannot wash away the misdeeds of sentient beings with water, I can only teach suchness in order to free sentient beings.”

      … this only briefly, maybe I find more time in the future …

  72. John
    Even the first few lines are riddled with self-deprecating (as good a way of reinforcing self as any!), pseudo Buddhist nonsense-a refutation would take aeons, just on the basis of the number of faults

    EG “Right now we are a lifeless zombie incapable of acting”
    Implying no natural wisdom whatsoever, complete worthlessness. Compare this to the tantric perspective the essay then promotes (and the noteworthy misspelling of Chakrasamvara-cant even spell but already teaching it across the web? Just cant get the staff nowadays)

    “since we are completely controlled by our delusions”
    again implying total lack of self worth

    “and have never tasted the enlightened experience”

    “of being all living beings”
    “Being” all living beings? Where is that from? Certainly not from Buddhist scripture-sounds like Buddhism, but it aint

    It continues

    “This (surrender to the guru’s will) is the best decision to make in every situation we find ourselves in. I will repeat, this is the best decision to make in every situation we find ourselves in. There is no situation in which this is not the best decision, and if we make any other decision in any situation, we are making the sub-optimal decision.”

    No self reliance whatsoever, total dependence on the will of another, even when going to make pipi? No thanks-Im trying to grow my inner Buddha, not depend on an external saviour-Remember what the Japanese say-If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him! And no, thats not an advocation of heinous acts-it means rely on the Buddha within-Buddha taught self-reliance, not dependence on another-its Christianity that teaches ‘Not my will but thine, o Lord’, not Buddhism

    Then comes the pseudo Dharma lecture
    “Given that things are empty, when reduced down to its essence, every situation has three components: what is appearing, how we respond and what direction we are heading in (towards what destination are we moving)”

    This is personal opinion dressed up in a formal guise to give it Dharma creedence. Nothing more. A beginners attempt to claim credibility (who cares?)

    I dont have the time or inclination to address the rest of the nonsense this beginner filled with obvious feelings of the great value of his opinions espouses. However, I would just point to the last paragraph which contains a detailed explanation of his version of a practice resembling the completion stage of the practice of Chakrasamvara-Chakrasamvara is a very precious practice and it is said that its power will be preserved by keeping it secret until it is given to those ready to receive it (not the inhabitants of Seattle then)
    The clue is on the label. It says ‘Guhyamantra’ (the proper term for tantra) ‘Guhya’ means ‘secret’. Get the picture?

  73. Again, there are important issues to consider before throwing oneself at the gurus mercy, issues that need consideration for a long period of time
    Tibetan Buddhist scripture tells us to thoroughly examine a guru before entering into a relationship with him, sometimes for even as long as twelve years. This is no exaggeration: I studied with my present root guru for seven years before thinking of him as such.In this way, I got to know my teacher and my teacher me (also an essential prerequisite to the gur disciple relationship in the Tibetan tradition). We now know my idiosyncrasies and the teacher prescribes appropriately.

    Where is that mentioned?I’ll tell you. In the NKT it isnt. You see, in a big business, the teacher and student can never really get to know each other. I know one lady who was VERY senior in the NKT,, ten years with them, gave lots of teachings, dressed up as a nun. She had NEVER met Kelsang on a one to one level.

    Its impossible to practice tantra without a gurus guidance, So how can someone guide you along the precipitous path of tantra if youve never met them and they dont even know you? Through books?”Teach Yourself Tantra’? I dont think so.

    Interestingly. I read something by Kelsang where he basically admitted to not having received much tantric teaching and to having learned most of his tantric knowledge from books> For some strange reason (!) he praised this approach as efficacious. His books were on sale in the foyer BTW

    So throwing yourself at the imaginary gurus feet when you dont even know him DOESNT WORK!

    Second point that struck me was that our Kadampa Working Dad was preaching tantra while referring

  74. to being “completely controlled by our delusions” as if the delusions are inherently bad (echoing the approach of KG noted above) There is lots of stuff about “overcoming delusions” on his blog
    Now then, if KWD was a genuine tantrist (who didnt post his ramblings all over the web-have you seen the extent of the drivel on the blog?) he would know his vows, in particular about not perceiving the five aggregates as impure.
    Now then, AFAIK delusion is a principal part of the 4th aggregate karmic formations, (though each of the five delusions correspond to one of the aggregates) What WKD seems to be advocating is that we adopt the Hinayana approach to delusion while practicing tantra-that doesnt work.
    Of course, if this person had genuine experience they would know this contradiction and the terrible problems adopting such a bilateral approach can lead to.
    But thats the problem with an unregulated environs like the web. Anyone who knows very little about the incredible complexities of the Buddhist path can set up a page and preach to all and sundry as i f they were a renowned expert. Of course, they think they are helping others and they are. Theyre helping them in their joutney into mental imbalance and confusion.
    Point two then

    In fact, the whole page has a Christian evangelical feel to it-IMO It should come with a disclaimer
    “Warning-These writings are the fanciful ramblings of one who has only recently entered into the Dhamma and who is intent on impressing others with his thoughts-Any attempt to assimilate these could lead to serious mental imbalance and even illness-ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!”

  75. john swainson says:

    Thanks Anon

    I have tried to stay away from making definitive statements as far as dharma is concerned and have just struggled happily on with my understandings of things.
    That was the rason I offered the above piece for comment from others. My feelings were that if this person was instrumental in guiding his child into a Buddhist path then it would be a confused journey.


    • oh, this is Ryan Engen, a NKT teacher. I remember that it was him who said in the past in the official NKT forum, that it doesn’t matter who Shugden is, it is more important how we see him. He gave as an example an orange ballon or so, he claimed if you see this as a Buddha, it functions for you as a Buddha. A friend sent me the discussion of this NKT thread and he correctly pointed out that this is Nihilism (and dangerous) and an utter misunderstanding. At that time Engen was quite an authority in the official NKT chat forum. I am really sorry and a bit concerned too that a mature person (at least this is what I thought of him) writes such things. I have to look if I find this orange bubble claim …

      • found it:

        From: “ompaddy13”
        Date: Thu Jan 13, 2005  1:37 am
        Subject: FW: [NKT-chat] Re:post 525-vicky-ryan-buddha

        The first is that Buddhas do not exist from their own side, but depend upon the minds of the living beings who view them. If you view Dorje Shugden as a Buddha, then for you he will function as a Buddha.

        If you view him as big blob of orange Jell-O, then for you he will be a big blob of orange Jell-O. Geshe-la explains in Heart Jewel how we are supposed to view him.

        Heis the wrathful aspect of Manjushri, and Je Tsongkapa is the peaceful aspect of Manjushri. His retinue (9 attractive mothers, eight guiding monks, and so forth) are the same exact deities as of Je Tsongkapa’s body mandala. Je Tsongkapa’s body mandala is actually Guyasamaja’s body mandala. Which means that Dorje Shugden is also Guyasamaja, the spiritual power of all the Buddhas. The three lineages of Je Tsongkapa are the wisdom lineage, the compassion lineage, and the lineage of spiritual power. According to Highest Yoga Tantra, Yamantaka is the synthesis of the wisdom of all the Buddhas, Heruka is the synthesis of the Compassion of all the Buddhas, and Guyasamaja is the spiritual power of all the Buddhas. For us, we view Je Tsongkapa as the same nature of Yamantaka, Heruka as Heruka, and Dorje Shugden as the same nature as Guyasamaja. Thus we rely upon the three lineages of Je Tsongkapa through our reliance upon Je Tsongkapa, Dorje  Shugden, and Heruka (or Vajrayogini). For us this is who Dorje Shugden is. This is the way in which our Guru tells us we should practice.

        • And if you view this bus coming towards you as space, it will not run you down and kill you! Honest!Geshela says.
          The assertion that everything is dependent on mind is here taken to mean that everything is mind and that in order to change it, all we need to do is to change the mind.However, nagarjuna taught 3 levels of dependent arising (causes and conditions, components and mental label) This mistaken theory overlooks this.
          I struggled for a while when a khenpo said that objects are not mind after believing the same misconception myself. Then it struck me: object cannot be mind because objects are form and non conscious whereas mind is formless and conscious
          The import of the Buddhas teaching that the mind is the creator of all things is therefore that mind plays an important role in what we perceive.
          If mind and its objects were the same, mental nature, this would be an assertion of solipsism, the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind exists
          Buddhist doctrine, though, holds that both the mind and external phenomena are equally transient and empty, and that they arise from each other.The mind is not God-just another illusion in the world of apparent phenomena. NKT thought grants mind divine status

          • Thank you. This is imo exactly the point!
            The misunderstanding I heard multiple times in NKT is: the things are what we label them, so if I label something as a Buddha it functions for me as a Buddha. This is a wrong understanding. Because a Buddha comes from 1) causes and conditions and is able to perform its respective function 2) he depends on parts 3) the name is imputed to a suitable basis. My dog does not come from that causes and conditions a Buddha comes (having utterly overcome all defilements etc.) hence he CANNOT function for me as a Buddha no matter how much I believe my dog is a Buddha. In the past I discussed this endlessly with NKT practitioners, usually with the example of a poisonous snake and a rope. If I call the poisonous snake a rope and use it to fix my cloths, the poisonous snake will bite and hurt me, which is its function, while if I call a rope a poisonous snake and try to get the poison for medical purposes out of the rope, no matter how much I try, I cannot extract poison from that rope, though I might strongly believe: this rope IS a poisonous snake.

            IMO this is Nihilism. You deprecate cause and effect.

            later amendment:
            solipsism is also sometimes there in NKT. I remember discussions at Manjushri Centre but at that time there were some who corrected this as wrong.

  76. The person who wrote the article is an NKT teacher, with permission to grant initiations!

  77. A little research reveals the author to be the obviously well intentioned Ryan Engen, an academic who knows only the NKT. While Ryan may be well qualified in his chosen academic subject, it is clear that the same is not true when it comes to tantra-despite KG giving him permission to grant initiations. Please pray for Ryan and anyone who places their faith in his confused ramblings Ryan, please read the story of the frog in the well

  78. Maybe a helpful look onto this by Alex Berzin:

    »Voluntary submission to an idealized person and the wish to belong to someone greater than themselves may easily open spiritual seekers to various forms of abuse.«

    Cultural Factors in Western and Tibetan Overdependence

    Many people in the West find life overwhelmingly complex and confusing. Because anxiety, tension, and worry fill their minds, they cannot find inner sources of strength. The kindling is wet and in disarray. Their emotional states are unstable and nothing inspires them. With typical Western low self-esteem, they are unsure of themselves. Afraid of making mistakes, some may want to give the responsibility for decisions to others. They desperately long for someone to know what is happening and to take care of everything, like an ideal father or God.

    Some may join the army so that they simply need to follow orders and not think for themselves. Those who are more spiritually inclined may turn to a Dharma center. Although their spiritual longing may be genuine, the emotional and cultural baggage that they bring along may cause them to seek relationships with spiritual teachers as father or authority figures. They may wish to establish such relationships to enable them to give up responsibility for making decisions in their lives. Many hope that this will make life easier and solve their problems.

    Westerners who enter this type of overdependency relationship, however, do so only on a voluntary basis. No one likes to be forced to obey someone else. If people have chosen to submit themselves to another person, and they have chosen the individual to whom they submit, they usually feel comfortable with the situation.

    “Biblical thinking” may unconsciously contribute to this typically Western pattern of behavior. For example, the concept of original sin may foster a feeling of inherent guilt and low self-opinion. Consequently, someone might feel that taking a wrong decision in life would prove his or her unworthiness and might lead to being further rejected as a bad person, as if being further cast out from paradise. It feels safer to let someone else make one’s decisions.

    The Issue of Submission

    Some Westerners enter relationships with spiritual teachers along the model of Catholic nuns who marry Jesus and vow total unquestioning obedience to higher authority. They feel that if they surrender, open their hearts, and let their mentors act through them, they will be able to serve the world. On a psychological level, this syndrome sometimes derives from low self-esteem and from feelings that self-worth comes from “belonging” to a spiritually superior being. Although the syndrome is more typical of women spiritual seekers in relation to male teachers, it often arises also in men.

    Voluntary submission to an idealized person and the wish to belong to someone greater than themselves may easily open spiritual seekers to various forms of abuse. If abused, either sexually or in less severe ways, the experience may reinforce low self-opinions: they may feel that they deserved the bad treatment. Alternatively, the abuse may cause them subsequently to close their hearts to anyone else. On the surface, submission may seem like a loss of ego and therefore a Buddhist virtue. However, if the submission is for unconsciously gaining a sense of self-worth and for self-affirmation through belonging to someone greater, it undermines rather than strengthens a healthy sense of self. A feeling of self-worth comes primarily from acknowledging one’s own potentials and from using them to benefit others as much as one can.

    Moreover, Western disciples who presume that Buddhism shares the Biblical approach to ethics may mistakenly imagine that Tibetan lamas morally judge them. This may lead to inappropriately introducing the concept of guilt into the dynamics of the relationship. If students fail to do everything their mentors ask, they feel guilty and unworthy. Therefore, fearing rejection because of being “bad disciples,” they feel they must submit without question and always obey.

    From a Buddhist standpoint, behavioral cause and effect function without a higher authority passing judgment. A person avoids destructive behavior not because of fear of punishment, but because of wishing to avoid the suffering that unhealthy behavior brings. As explained above, obedience to laws created by God or promulgated by an elected legislature is a culturally specific virtue, not a universal one.

    A healthy relationship with a spiritual mentor, then, does not entail submission or belonging to the mentor. Nor does it entail guilt-based obedience. One must differentiate clearly between being a mentor’s disciple and belonging to a mentor.

    Moreover, modern Western customs of child rearing may reinforce a doctrinally supported feeling of rejection or abandonment because of something being inherently wrong with oneself, or they may foster such feelings by themselves. Many Western mothers no longer breastfeed their babies, carry them on their backs all day, or sleep with them at night as mothers in traditional societies do. Instead, they feed their babies with bottles, keep them in playpens, strollers, or day care while awake, and leave them alone in cribs at night. From the babies’ viewpoints, they have been cast out from paradise. Consequently, insufficient body contact as a baby may lead not only to the culturally specific modern Western syndrome of alienation from one’s body and feelings, but also to an unconscious longing for acceptance, affection, and even redemption. Westerner spiritual seekers caught in these syndromes sometimes turn to spiritual teachers in the unconscious hope of satisfying these needs. The urgency of their unconscious drives may lead to overdependence.

    Occasionally, overdependent Western seekers encounter Tibetans who are also overly dependent on spiritual masters and they may justify their own behavior on this basis. The cultural influences and psychology behind the traditional Tibetan form of overdependence on a spiritual teacher, however, differ significantly from those behind the typical Western pattern. Many Tibetans, like other Asians, shy away from accepting responsibility for taking decisions because they fear losing face in their communities or disgracing their families if they fail. Thus, social and familial considerations, rather than individual ones, drive them to give responsibility to lamas for their decisions.

    Moreover, Tibetans would typically choose not just any lama with whom to have this type of overdependence relationship, but would turn to the lamas or Rinpoches who head the monasteries in their local regions. This happens even among Tibetans in exile, where geographic limitations on the choice of lama do not pertain. Again, social and communal factors affect a Tibetan’s decision, and not individual preferences as in the case of Westerners. Moreover, Tibetans do not feel forced to choose the lamas of their local regions: they feel the choice is naturally fitting according to social norms. Group or individual pressure is hardly needed.

    Whether an overdependence relationship with a spiritual teacher arises within a Western or a Tibetan sociopsychological context, such a relationship is fundamentally unhealthy. It does not foster the maturity that a spiritual path to liberation and enlightenment seeks to develop. Certainly, a healthy relationship with a spiritual mentor entails consulting a teacher for advice concerning spiritual matters. It also entails deriving inspiration from the person. A spiritual mentor, however, is not God, an all-powerful father or mother, or a feudal lord. He or she cannot solve all our problems for us. Obedient submission or subservient deference to a mentor’s will, even when made on a voluntary basis, can neither redeem us nor make up for having been seemingly abandoned by our parents as children because we were bad or had something wrong with us. Nor can it exempt us from responsibility for failure or from losing face. Spiritual seekers, whether Western or Tibetan, who suffer from an overdependence syndrome need to focus on their Buddha-natures and work on clearing their relationships with their spiritual teachers from this unhealthy aspect.

    more here: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/e-books/published_books/spiritual_teacher/pt3/spiritual_teacher_13.html

  79. Carol McQuire says:

    Ryan works in a diplomatic service – he is not an academic. He has been ‘trained’ in the NKT for at least 15 years so he is not a ‘beginner’ but he is one of the most ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘promotional’ lay NKT Resident Teachers I have known.

    Thank you for posting your analysis of his words. It is difficult to ‘undo’ the NKT speak that is deeply embedded in one’s own mind after more than a decade of NKT ‘hypnosis’.

    On one level Ryan’s ‘reliance’ on Shugden relates to accepting any appearance as the nature of that deity, a practice, simply of ‘acceptance’ of karmic appearances, and as ‘Shugden’ is, in NKT speak, a ‘manifestation’ of the Guru/Tsongkhapa/Buddha Shakyamuni (see the NKT book Heart Jewel) then anything and everything is ‘Guru’.

    Leaving aside the ‘Shugden’ aspect, and the ‘submission’ ,in what way does this ‘accepting appearances as the Guru’ differ from teachings elsewhere?

    • thank you carol for your clarification. imo, this is ok from tantric pov to see verything as a manifestation of the guru (compassion&wisdom, bliss&emptiness). this is very helpful, because it helps you to accept appearances as they are and to get benefit out of that view in relation to phenomena.

      my point is that submission to a guru is a thorough misunderstanding (for reasons, see the comments and Alex Berzin Quote) and that a claim like „The first is that Buddhas do not exist from their own side, but depend upon the minds of the living beings who view them. If you view Dorje Shugden as a Buddha, then for you he will function as a Buddha.“ is nihiclistic and plain wrong. Why? If I see my table as a Buddha the table won’t function as a Budhha because it has not the qualities of a Buddha that makes the table to an object that can function as a Buddha. Likewise, I I see my dog as a Buddha, the dog won’t function as a Buddha; or will the dog magically teach me emptiness, the three higher trainings in an unmistaken way and know when it is right to teach me one thing but not another etc?

      The submission issue is quite dangerous because one puts the own spiritual progress into the hands of others and finally one thinks that enlightenment is rather granded from an outer source, somewhat mysterious bestowed upon one.

      (As said, I only glanced briefly through the first paragraph of the link and then later I glanced a bit over the middle of Ryan’s post, so I might be mistaken in what I git from it but what I read makes my mind hurt, remembers me strongly of the multitudes of misunderstandings I learned in NKT and which I had to get out of my mind in order to be able to continue to practice the Dharma. It sounds very unhealthy.)

      However, in case I did Ryan injustice I will correct myself. At the moment I am too busy with other things.

      • imo, this is ok from tantric pov to see verything as a manifestation of the guru (compassion&wisdom, bliss&emptiness). this is very helpful, because it helps you to accept appearances as they are and to get benefit out of that view in relation to phenomena.

        only brief qualm, however, if this understanding would be really lived in NKT, how then can NKT shout the Dalai Lama to be a “liar”, “saffron robed muslim, “21fst century dictator”, “who has stolen the teachings from Trijang Rinpoche”? The Dalai Lama then would be also a manifestation of the Guru, why are then NKT calling the manifestation of the guru a “liar”, “saffron robed muslim, “21fst century dictator”, “who has stolen the teachings from Trijang Rinpoche”?

    • “in what way does this ‘accepting appearances as the Guru’ differ from teachings elsewhere?”
      Ouutside the NKT this practice entails seeing appearance as the nirrmanakaya of the gurus dharmakaya nature.In the NKT it strikes me as more like God iis everywhere and he is watching over us

      • according to my NKT experience, this teaching works fine BUT due to the strong duality of believing in an inherent existent purity of NKT and the dangers of the non-NKT world (which is somewhat impure) usually this teaching is only applied to KG, NKT – the very NKT context – but’s almost impossible to apply it to the non-NKT world because there lie the dangers with the Dalai Lama as the “destroyer of the Buddhadharma” etc. The black-and-white thinking blocks to extend this teaching to ALL appearances. see this video http://vimeo.com/2103260#at=0 Geshe-la introduces a NKT centre as Vajrayogini’s palace … “it’s not an ordinary building” “it will be a holy palace” “you should become a king or queen, either King Heruka or Queen Vajrayogini” … he Geshe-la does not teach: “the Dalai Lama is Chenrezig, his palace is Potala” contrary he said different times that the Dalai Lama is not Chenrezig, that he is not a holy being, he sees him as the ‘enemy of Buddhism’, someone who “destroys the Buddhadharma”; words calling the Dalai Lama “the safron-robed Muslim”, “ruthless dictator”, “liar” etc are very likely also from him personally. The slogans of the first NKT Media Shugden Campaign were created by him personally.

        So you have here a dual, biased teaching which must be seen in context of other believes within NKT. It binds finally NKT followers more to NKT – the pure realm – and keeps them on distance with the non-NKT world – the somewhat impure, dangerous realm.

  80. “Ryan works in a diplomatic service – he is not an academic. He has been ‘trained’ in the NKT for at least 15 years so he is not a ‘beginner’”

    Youre right, Professor Ryan Egen no longer works in the academic field. However, its common practice among academics to refer to ex academics as academics.

    !5 years in the Dharma OUTSIDE the NKT is widely considered as very much a beginner, paticularly in traditions where there are large numbers of long term established practitioners (ie 30-40 years) Interestingly, most of these long term practitioners still refer to themselves as beginners. In the NKT on the other hand, one does a few short retreats and earns the status of yogi-actually, It takes lifetimes

    • 15 years in NKT is not a beginner within NKT context. However, compared with the non-NKT world its not much. But also not nothing.
      I agree also: outside NKT with 15 years of practice one wouldn’t become (usually) a Vajra Master. Experienced seasoned practitioners and learned ones like Alex Berzin restrain even to give refuge to other, not to speak about bestowing empowerments.

      Due to the lack of qualified masters in NKT, NKT has a newly created system in bestowing empowerments: The teacher giving empowerment is seen as a proxy of Kelsang Gyatso, who is giving the empowerment through them. In this way it is thought all get connected with Kelsang Gyatso as their Vajra Master but not with the NKT teacher giving the empowerment because he is just a proxy for KG whose mind is somewhat “downloaded”. In NKT there are teachers who started to give empowerments after two years of being a NKT student(!). When you compare this with the outside NKT world, this is really something to be thought of. I assume Carol could add more about this empowerment giving within NKT? I would be happy to hear more.

  81. I have a question. In the Tibetan tradition, before one can be qualified to give initiation,,one must:first develop an understanding of the 3 prinicipals of the path, then complete the tantric preliminaries, then practice the deity until one has accumulated a significant number of mantra (at least 1.6 million), then complete the appropriate fire puja.Moreover,tantric knowledge for most monastics is not imparted until one has spent around fifteen years studying sutra level teachings-the whole process takes around 20 to 25 years.
    Q How long does one wait on average before receiving permission to grant initiations and what are the prerequisite qualifications?

    • In NKT after two years (if you quickly ordain and they send you to become a residence teacher of a NKT centre) people can already give empowerments. The qualification is “faith in Geshe-la” and having done a type of retreat with mantra recitation. This is what I know and observed.

      • 35 years on, I recall completing some mantra recitation during a retreat (I use the word advisedly-In the West, some refer to one day ‘retreats’??) in my first couple of years in the Dharma AND having ‘faith'(read ‘I believed the hype’ [thank you, Chuck D]) in KG. If even now I still remain unqualified to give initiations now, how much less was I then? Dharma may be the most effective medicine but I think most would admit that it takes a long time to really take effect at the deeper levels of consciousness, beyond intellectual fascination and conceptual mind games. In short,IMO two years, or twelve or even twenty two years of involvement does not bring one to the level required It seems certain KGs motive in granting permission to give initiations (actually I think they are only jaynangs, blessings and permissions to practice) is solely the spread of his doctrine

        • Carol McQuire says:

          Mantra requirement for giving initiations in the NKT is to do 100,000 mantras of the deity in question i.e. Tara, etc and be given permission to do so by your superiors…That’s what the local resident teacher had to do in my area. They had to do this in the week leading up to the initiation. I did read recently in a Dharma book, not NKT, that 100,000 of a mantra meant that you could then pass on some kind of transmission. Would be good if I could find that quote – somewhere in the FPMT literature I think. The NKT always extends something written in the traditional books into areas where it should not tread. Like the creation of the ordination with a view to ‘adapting’ the Dharma to new circumstances but all they have done in ‘modernising’ it is to take out the Vinaya…

          • to give an empowerment one must have of course the qualities (or most of the qualities) of a tantric master (which are usually counted as 20). and as far as I know one must have done the fire puje ritual with respect to that deity, and for this one must have done an approximation retreat. In such an approximation retreat one has to count (Susiddhi Tantra, Je Tsongkhapa’s Great Exposition of Secret Mantra, p.147) the following amount of mantras:

            In general perform a hundred tousand repetitions
            For as many syllables as there are
            When the count is fifteen or below.
            Three hundred thousand repetitions are prescribed
            For the count of syllables until thirty two.
            When the syllables are more than that, to ten
            Thousand for prior approximation.

            This means for a mantra with less than 15 syllables one has to count for each syllable 100.000 repetitions, e.g. Chenrezig mantra has 6 syllables, then one has to count 600.000 mantras. 100.000 cannot be sufficient, I think.

  82. john swainson says:

    Not really an answer to the last post but ‘fire puja’ brought back memories. The preparations for a fire puja at LDC were, to say at the least,chaotic. The site of the puja was a pergola which had to be encased in tarpaulin. The hearth for the puja was erected with a suitable chimney. All of this was left in the hands of one monk who was doing his best with the resources he had. It was not possible for him to prepare the site without help.We, non- involved folk, set to, in order to make it possible. All the gravel for the floor was washed and relaid as designated by the management. This was done in winter darkness and freezing weather.The site was ready for action. When all the enlightened ones had finished the puja they went on their way. Guess who tidied up?
    A number of these participants can no longer be found within the NKT.

    They came, they buggered it up and went their merry way.

    Excuse my vitriol.

  83. I came across this web site by accident , and have read all the posts down as far as here……. i would like to point out one or two things …… ….First people who take a political position regarding another persons faith, clearly indicates a lack of respect for religion, and a failure to understand the “middle way”, hence these people are in fact being led by their own intellect along a deluded path away from Enlightenment, you have my deepest compassion, please put down the stick of self proclaimed pride, be graceful to others ,this human life is far too short to be caught up in our own pious delusions, if somebody attacked your tradition as vigorous as you thunder up storms against the NKT , you may come to the conclusion this attacker is sick and deluded , i suggest you step outside of your venom and have a good look at why you are wasting so much time and energy. For me reading the various points on this site leads me to ask, Why? as Buddha taught Appearances are deceptive, How can we as products of contaminated causes possibly believe we can see enough of the truth to pass judgement on who or what is right ,our knowledge and wisdom in this life is extremely limited and stained by our own ignorance, delusions and self cherishing, no matter what our motivation is if we fail to see any other being as our mother we should feel shame. Are our actions self centered and do we really have enough moral high ground to attack others believes and faith? Perhaps it would be better to rejoice in any virtues practiced anywhere in the 300 worlds and maintain silence , and when we do speak , try not to be derisive or aggressive. Ok said my bit,,,,,, Peace Man…

    • Thank you. What is your background? From what tradition are you coming from?

      • Thank you for your interest… i was raised by a Catholic father and an Anglican mother who insisted that all her children should be allowed to seek their own version of the truth , and not be indoctrinated by any given school of thought , Thank you mother for this i am forever in your debt. Little did she expect that 2 of her sons would become Buddhists, a religion she considered “from the far east” and therefore not applicable to westerners, i often used to point out to her, Jesus was`nt exactly from the end of our street…… anyway i digress my first Dharma teaching was from Lama Yeshe in 1975, since the i have had many many teachings from a host of holy Buddhist teachers Tibetan, Indian Thai, English American..and across a wide range of “Traditions”. I consider myself a Buddhist, i do not adhere to any tradition and find it inconceivable that so much weight is placed upon “What tradition ?”.
        i repeat from my first post, our time is short… life span is ebbing away at a meteoric rate . Please put away your petty issues with NKT , any sit on your cushion longer ….just chill out guys , creating division is the job of politicians. To conclude i have had teachings from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, which were clear and precise and was fortunate to speak with him one to one , let me inform you, like all the Boddisattvas i have meet in 37 years of being a Buddhist, his heart is full to brim with love and compassion, it oozes from him … hey have a nice day guys big love and peace,

        • As suspected-a Kelsang fan/clone-37 years a Buddhist and still cant smell pseudo spiritual BS?
          Have a nice day y’all (while others burn)

          • Ah ha the cut and thrust of a open mind…… how exhilarating to be in its presence , i also have a taste for cycling does this make me a wheel ?.
            One thing more to say before i continue with my nice day , this whole blog is very sadly short of humor ,but very high in sarcasm and vitriol as
            a “passer by” i find little or nothing religious or uplifting here at all…….. g`day mate

            • Thank you for your criticism. The blog / discussions can only be as good as its contributors. You are welcome to improve it and to add humour, wisdom, love and kindness.

              I agree in general, more humour is highly needed and it is also most welcome. However, I don’t agree that the posts themselves are “very high in sarcasm and vitriol”, if you think they are please give some examples.

              Keep your chin up!

              • Thanks Tenpel for your quiet nonabrasive reply , my chin is always up ol bean, regarding my comments … ok a little harsh maybe but the character Anon , is quite scathing like a bickering fish monger , judgmental and prone to leap to wrong conclusions , ie Have a nice day y’all (while others burn). There are more … but hey whats the point…. easier to get on with my nice day….. can i suggest a topic for discussion……. At this time of year should we make greater effort in our practice of giving, like up the rev`s a bit, increase our focus on areas where we can create great merit such as offerings to the Buddha, helping the needy,etc and at the same time try to avoid our ego`s greed for recognition.
                Stay on the path

        • Those of us here who criticize NKT have been members for many years,been hurt,abused,lied to and many cast out. Most Traditions do not receive this criticism because most Buddhist traditions don’t abuse and use their followers so that the Tradition may grow. We speak from our experience and we have a right to.

    • What a thoroughly vitriolic obvious piece of NKT follower hate mail posing as religious advice
      One point-if a religious group engages in abuse, financial misdemeanours, political activities and promotes sectarianism, should a religious person inform the uninformed or keep their mouth shut?

  84. john swainson says:

    ‘How can we as products of contaminated causes possibly believe we can see enough of the truth to pass judgement on who or what is right ,our knowledge and wisdom in this life is extremely limited and stained by our own ignorance, delusions and self cherishing, no matter what our motivation is if we fail to see any other being as our mother we should feel shame. Are our actions self centered and do we really have enough moral high ground to attack others believes (sic) and faith?’

    Given the above, how can you say the following?

    ‘First people who take a political position regarding another persons faith, clearly indicates a lack of respect for religion, and a failure to understand the “middle way”, hence these people are in fact being led by their own intellect along a deluded path away from Enlightenment, you have my deepest compassion, please put down the stick of self proclaimed pride, be graceful to others, this human life is far too short to be caught up in our own pious delusions.’

  85. Don’t wait for a reply-I was advised long time back that, if you tell someone they are in a cult, it only strengthens their resolve, The poster is clearly in at the deep end.
    Why is it that these people always use Dharma language to justify their anger?I guess they think it qualifies as ‘righteous indignation’ (An oxymoron if ever I heard one) What a shame these folk dont have the maturity and strength of character to be themselves and apply the Dharma to that instead of forcing themselves into a prefabricated Dharma identity, albeit the worldly Dharma of the NKT.
    Here’s a suggestion-Instead of asking for a dependently arisen, merely labelled cup of tea, why not just drink tea?

    • Thank you for helping me to understand my deficiencies in the use of language, didn’t get a lot of schooling ! But i do understand intellectual arrogance aligned with pompous piss taking… cheers mate could you make that a builders brew with two sugars

  86. john swainson says:

    November 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    a y iotna says:

    integral by example perhaps?

    Not sure what that means but….
    ….If the parents or the child takes the option of not joining the dharma classes then the child will not be an integral part of the school as the school claims the dharma course is integral to what they do.

    I would suggest that the parents are willing for their children to attend the dharma classes as they wish their children to integrate within the school community. Otherwise, they would not send them there.

    Quote from prospective parent.

    “I often spend money I can’t afford. This money goes towards my son getting the best education I can provide for him….”

    Commendably, we have someone seeking the best education for their child. However, my question is how did they know it would be the best education before the school was operating?

    If parents want their child to attend a school providing the ‘best education’ academically, then surely it can be found closer to home. There was a plea for funds so one child could come from America.
    It is the Kadampa element which is important to these parents. To imagine they will enrol their children and then opt out of the dharma scheme is, I believe, not something that will happen.

    The Ofsted pre-registration inspection document states…

    ‘Documentary evidence indicates that all regulations are likely to be met but implementation and teaching could not be seen as the school is not yet operating.’

    So, the parents must have the desire to send their children to this school purely on the basis it is a Kadampa School and not on the record of its academic excellence.

  87. john swainson says:

    The question asked of the trustees still lies unanswered. Maybe those who promote the transparency of the NKT and its desire for truth will take note?

  88. I know I’m butting in to an already heated argument, but I just wanted to add a bit of completely unsolicited opinion. I was married to and had a child with an ex-NKT monk. I was close to ordination myself yet backed out and left the tradition altogether after I started to see some gross internal problems. During my all my years in the NKT I was told by numerous people that any expression of anger toward a bodhisattva could send me into eons of hell. And since we can never know who is or isn’t a bodhisattva, we should strive to not ever express anger. That is a completely un-realistic goal for the vast majority of us, Buddhist or not. This anger-avoidance alone caused me so much grief and stress. I had nowhere to vent my negative emotions safely. During my divorce from the ex-NKT monk, despite the horrible emotional torture he put me through, my own dharma community would not allow me to cry on their shoulders or hear my frustrations. They pushed me away and left me completely alone. And I know that they did this thinking that they were helping me not accrue negative merit, in the case that my ex was a bodhisattva. I am a grown adult, however, and though this was an extremely hard time for me, I got over it.

    My main issue now is that there will be a school run by the NKT which aims to make every child happy at all times. This is not healthy in any way! None of us are capable of being happy at all times! I bet you that any credible psychologist would look at this model and say that it is in no way nurturing a child’s natural emotional growth. Any child who is told, even once by someone they trust, that it’s not okay to be angry or sad (especially when someone does something to hurt them) is doing a huge disservice to that child. Not to mention setting them up for a lifetime of confusion and emotional struggle. I am with all the others on this site who think this NKT school is potentially very dangerous to children. I have a young child myself, I am Buddhist, and I would NEVER EVER send my child to this school.

    • You are so right. Dharma had nothing to do with being happy all the time,this is the selling point of the NKT and if you end up not being happy well it’s your fault. Dharma is about facing our minds warts and all and experiencing our emotions with equanimity. I left the NKT with such low self esteem it has taken a long while to claw back some self esteem through another teachers help(non NKT) I wouldn’t send my dog to an NKT school let alone a child. Telling children to be happy all the time is so damaging, these children will end up messed up. Pray for them they need our prayers.

  89. andydharma says:

    The Kadampa School’s claim “to be sparate from all government control and influence” is very misleading, as it has to abide at all times with OFSTED regulations and inspections; that is, the government influences, through OFSTED, what is taught and how it is taught. But, perhaps more alarmingly, the implication is that the NKT wishes to create a school that is free of all government control and influence. My question is: why? Wishing to be free of government influence in education is a very distinct political stance, and one that is being taken by an organisation that supposedly prides iself on being apolitical. I would welcome any explanation as to why the NKT has taken this stance, as I am genuinely unable to understand why this stance should be seen as desirable by the NKT, especially given that it has often benefited from state funds and government agencies in the past, and most schools could not offer a genuinely good education without allowing government to support them to some degree, support which naturally comes at the price of at least some degree of government control and influence. Perhaps this goal of freedom from government control is desirable, but I think we all would all like to know why the NKT thinks so. I do hope that a coherent intellectual defence of this goal can be made, and one that fits in with Buddhist philosophical ethics generally, and I look forward to hearing the NKT make its case.

  90. “I would welcome any explanation as to why the NKT has taken this stance,”
    The NKT is desperate to maintain the illusion of it being apolitical to appeal to those disenchanted with politics and to those who hold to the view that the Church and State should be separate. However, the main reasons are because they dont want to appear to be hypocrites for condemning the DL for his political activities and they dont want to lose the millions of pounds of benefit/tax relief they make from being a non-political, “religious” charity

  91. Thanks, anon, for your analysis, which may well be correct, for all I know, but it is impossible to verify without a response from the NKT about exactly why it set up the school and why it has created the school in the way it did and why it is so keen to have a school as free from government influence and control as possible. Defenders of the NKT often claim that the NKT is fully transparant and accountable, but if the NKT is indeed this kind of entity then it needs to present a coherent and detailed explanation of its policies and strategies. I and many other people who critique the NKT will always have as our strongest criticism the fact that the NKT simply does not make any public statements that are detailed enough to allow any deep enough checking of whether they are correct or incorrect in their decisions and in their explanations of policy. In the absence of any real openness about their policies, the NKT will simply continue to appear as a secretive organisation that has a hidden agenda and that is unable to deal constructively with criticims of any kind, both within and outside the NKT. That is a recipe for an eventual showdown with the statutory authorities and also a recipe for long-term decline of the NKT, as very few people, outside of a hard core of devotees, would choose to belong to an organisation that cannot publicly mount a coherent defence of its key decisions and policies and instead choose to operate behind an information ‘black hole’ and only make the fewest public statements possible, the facts of which cannot be reliably ascertained one way or the other. By creating a Kadampa School the NKT is perhaps signalling its willingness to try and join the mainstream of civil society, but its administrative practices and suspicion of critical analysis are undercutting its ability to ever truly join it.

  92. john swainson says:

    Just like the non-cooperation in the mediation process at Maitreya Centre.

  93. A cult is answerable to no one except itself.

  94. Fleadle says:
    December 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I would like to add here that Geshe-la knows most of what goes on, he personally sent a threatening letter to a friend of mine who wrote a meditation book, he never signed the letter but as my friend use to be high up in the NKT he knew that Geshe-la would have sent it just not had the guts to sign it. GKG pulls all the strings, he is a meglomaniac who is more concerned with spreading the NKT than anything else or anyone in it. And as he once said ‘I am the NKT’ so there you go.

    AY Iotna (the well known self appointed teacher) says
    To conclude i have had teachings from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, which were clear and precise and was fortunate to speak with him one to one , let me inform you, like all the Boddisattvas i have meet in 37 years of being a Buddhist, his heart is full to brim with love and compassion, it oozes from him

    Isnt life funny?

    • @Anon: I didn’t follow the discussion between you and AY lotna nor what AY lotna said. However, I would prefer to avoid this polemical style “(the well known self appointed teacher)”. If you have good arguments there is no need to become polemical, just use arguments. Thank you.

    • Strange most people I have spoken to that have actually met Geshe-la say that he had a very short fuse, I think a lot in the NKT who knew him feared him because it didn’t take much for him to sack you.

  95. OK, forget the epithet! Read on: the contrast between someone who received a teachng from KG and someone who actually lived in the NKTs opinion of KG was my point-Im afraid I cant agree with A Y Iotna;s rather naive assessment that KGs “heart is full to brim with love and compassion, it oozes from him” Still, I knew him,

    The reference to “well known self appointed teacher” was a tad vitriolic but I cant hack people telling me how they think I should practice-its entirely personal, between oneself and ones teacher


  96. Actually
    when i think on it, after bragging about how long he has been into Dharma ( not even a lifetime!), AY Iotna CW insults all those here who have suffered at the hands of KG and the NKT by telling them they got it wrong and that actually ” his heart is full to brim with love and compassion, it oozes from him”. He then accuses me of arrogance, pomposity, ignorance, delusion, being judgmental, greesy for recognition and selfishness (physician heal thyself) and nothing is said!
    I think he got off quite lightly with “well known self appointed teacher”

    Push me once, I forgive, push me twice, I bite my lip. Three times-you ask for it-or did Buddha teach that patience and compassion was about letting others repeatedly walk all over you?
    And BTW, as for the advice to’ help the needy and ‘practice giving and create merit this Xmas’ a puppy is not just for Christmas
    Get a mirror!

  97. john swainson says:

    merry itmas to alschr

  98. fnk ry msh

  99. “greedy for recognition” Ur, the name’s anon.

  100. sorry typing error for crones read cronies no offence intended

  101. Dear I believe belittling others is a very effective way of bolstering ones spiritual ego so will try too refrain from doing so. However, despite your seeming assumption of your own superiority, you exhibit a number of faults you condemn others for. I would suggest more time looking in the mirror than on the computer might be helpful. I hope your life goes well from now on i wish you no harm

  102. For those interested in a summery page about the setting of NKT/Shugden/WSS etc:


  103. john swainson says:

    Hi Natalie
    You mention Pema (Helen Gradwell). Wonder where she is now? Pema described the WSS as a group of people with no ‘registered office’. You will see from the attachment the WSS is a registered company formed in 2008 with assets. Wonder what will happen to them?


    Pema was aked to stand down according to New Kadampa Truth. Was she ‘urged’ to leave, was she a liability, did she have a choice?

    Ask Lisa McGovern, I believe she is your Chair of Governers and Company Secretary of the Western Shugden Society.

    • If you have access to Duedil, you will fund the following list of WSS directors Copy the names (click the people link), add NKT and google it and you can see that the directors of the registered company WSS, which clearly does have an office and directors are all also, entirely coincidentally, involved in the NKT at relatively senior administrative levels

      Ms Susan Mary Jenkins (born 56 years ago)
      26 Jun 2008 — Present (4 years, 7 months, 12 days)

      Ms Deirdre Gail Lofters (born 58 years ago)
      Director, Teacher
      01 Dec 2010 — Present (2 years, 2 months, 7 days)

      Ms Lisa Mcgovern
      Company Secretary
      01 Dec 2010 — Present (2 years, 2 months, 7 days)

      Mr John Alexander Berrie (born 51 years ago)
      Director, Hotel Worker
      01 Dec 2009 — 30 Nov 2010 (11 months, 29 days)

      Ms Helen Gradwell (born 40 years ago)
      Company Secretary
      18 Apr 2009 — 10 Jun 2010 (1 year, 1 month, 22 days)

      Ms Rosemary Elizabeth Mcdaniel (born 36 years ago)
      Director, Manager
      17 Apr 2009 — 30 Nov 2009 (7 months, 13 days)

      Ms Helen Gradwell (born 40 years ago)
      Director, Development Director
      26 Jun 2008 — 17 Apr 2009 (9 months, 21 days)

  104. john swainson says:


    You may wish to ask Lisa McGovern for some more clarification about NKT ‘support’ for the WSS.

    Is it true that;

    …any discussion of the demos had to refer to the WSS and not the NKT.

    …that the demonstrations were organised by NKT people.

    …the people who used to run the WSS website did so from a back room behind the NKT Internet Office.

    …security was organised by NKT people.

    ..demo passes were issued to people by NKT people.

    …bus stewards and demo stewards were NKT people.

    …banners and placards were produced and stored by NKT people.

    …demonstrators only had to turn up and everything would be paid for. (accommodation, food and travel).

    …individual centres donated food and drink.

    …on one occasion, food and bottled water was provided by Heruka Centre.

    ..accommodation was almost always in Centres.

    …that Centre money was not used to fund Resident Teacher attendance but students raised the money.

    …on long bus trips, people were handed money so they could buy food.

    …this money was known as Gesh-la’s money.

    …a similar process was followed in USA, France, Germany etc

    Thus I have heard…and not from anyone on this site or Survivors.

    • John thank you for your helpful comments, and the link.

      Now its also clear that WSS had from the beginning a registered office and that Susan Mary Jenkins is the director of both, NKT head centre (Manjushri Mahayana Buddhist Centre) and the Western Shugden Society (the latter since 26 Jun 2008). So the Western Shugden Society has a direction. But NKT deceived deliberately the public and claimed (and put it also in Wikipedia) that WSS had “has no leader nor registered office”

      What a bunch of lies …

  105. john swainson says:

    Hi Natalie
    I am pleased your child is making progress academically within the NKT school. If a child has a Kadampa parent and is at a Kadampa School then it follows it will have a Kadampa influence in its development.

    The public face of the Kadampa Primary School is always going to be positive.

    The Kadampa Primary School is the only place where the NKT can be assessed externally, via Ofsted, so that will be carefully managed.They may suggest that the Charity Commission monitor the activities but in reality that does not happen.

  106. john swainson says:

    Dear Natalie

    I will not comment on the merits or otherwise of Shugden.

    ‘…Geshla simply wanted to help fellow Shugden practitioners who were being persecuted.’

    Understandable if you are also a Shugden practitioner but why the emphasis on dissociating the NKT from WSS?

    I believe the answer can be found in the comments by Geshe-la after the previous protests in the late 1990’s.

    I will not repeat them here as you say, ‘it is stuff you already know’.

    See my comment above Feb 8th which indicates the NKT/WSS is the same animal.

    I have already commented about the qualities of the staff at your school and I repeat that comment.

    ‘The headteacher of the Kadampa School has a good record according to the Ofsted reports as she was instrumental in turning around a failing school in Cornwall. Good for her. She is a well qualified individual. Her role as headteacher appears to have ended somewhere between 2010 and 2011. What she has done in the intervening period I do not know.

    The staff also have Montessori backgrounds which would also indicate a sound knowledge of early years education.

    My objection to the existence of the school is it appears to have been funded by the Tara Centre charity whose stated aim is the promotion of the Buddhist faith, yet the school maintains it is not there to turn the children into Buddhists. The NKT rules state the assets of any centre should only be used for the promotion of the Buddhist faith.

    Maybe you could ask the Trustees if this is so as I can not elicit a response to the question?’

    My point is not about the quality of the education provided but the existence of a school where the claim is, it is not for turning children into Buddhists, founded by a charity which has stated, ‘the assets of any Centre should only be used for the promotion of the Buddhist faith.

    If you wish to have an example of the compassionate way in which the NKT still behaves, read the Maitreya website. I provide a link.


    You may also wish to read the compassionate response to the Dominion Post regarding the aborted sale of Highden Manor.

    I include the whole text here for ease of reading.

    “Buddhists billed after canned purchase”


    HISTORIC PLACE: Highden Manor, built in 1896, and set in 14 hectares, some of it native bush, between Palmerston North and Sanson (New Zealand).

    Backing out of a deal to buy a historic Manawatu manor has brought more than bad karma for a Buddhist group.
    The owners of Highden Manor Estate have won a $1 million court judgment against a branch of Buddhism called the New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union.
    Highden, a boutique hotel and function venue, had not been on the market when Andrew Michaels and Avril Druker were asked if they were interested in selling it.
    In March last year they agreed to take $3m for the 14.06ha property with its large 1896 home and native-bush-clad grounds.
    Overseas Investment Office approval was needed for the deal because the Buddhist group was incorporated overseas. A conservation plan was discussed with the Historic Places Trust as part of the OIO approval process.
    Then in August last year the Buddhist group told the owners it was withdrawing its application for OIO approval and was not going ahead with the deal. It is understood it had doubts that it could meet some conditions of approval.
    The business had been wound down in preparation for the sale; wedding bookings and other arrangements had been cancelled. The property market had also fallen since Mr Michaels and Ms Druker agreed to sell the manor.
    They sued the Buddhist group for the difference between what the Buddhists had agreed to pay and the likely market price when the deal finally collapsed.
    In a judgment in the High Court at Wellington, Associate Judge David Gendall has said the Buddhist group should pay $1.08m to cover the loss in value, $7100 marketing costs for an unsuccessful attempt to sell Highden after the Buddhists pulled out, and interest yet to be decided.
    The lawyer for Mr Michaels and Ms Druker, Hugh Rennie, QC, said the judgment could be enforced overseas.
    “It is a matter of finding some location where they have assets,” he said.
    The Buddhist group’s website says they have hundreds of branches, spiritual bases and study centres in 40 countries. The “mother centre” is an English priory, but the list also includes a French chateau, a property near Hollywood, California, and a centre in an Italian spa town.
    The Buddhist group took no part in the court proceedings.

    The cults threatening response (undated) to the Dominion Post article above

    “…NKT did everything correctly, nothing wrong. But now this presentation that your article gives, humiliates the NKT and is causing people to develop bad feelings towards the organisation. This seriously damages the the reputation of over 1000 NKT Buddhist Centres throughout the world, one consequence of which will be damage to the financial development of all these centres. W consider that the NKT would require a minimum of of US$20 million to compensate for this financial damage to over 1000 NKT centres.
    We are advising you the proprietors of this newspaper, the owners of the property Highden manor and their lawyer have the responsibility to provide this compensation. It is clearly impossible for you to avoid this responsibility because you have caused this damage to the NKT and all its Buddhist Centres throughout the world.”
    Steve Cowing
    General Secretary of the NKT-IKBU

  107. john swainson says:

    February 22-24 Opening Ceremony of Tharpaland.New City Temple Glasgow

    ‘Buddha’s teachings are the real scientific method for developing the permanent happiness we seek’

    I will leave you to think about the description of Buddha’s teaching as being ‘scientific’ but for me scientific refers to rigour, controlled conditions and replicable results.

  108. what a shame that the people who come along seeking ‘permanent happiness’ don’t realise that first they’ll have to recognise that the whole of existence is characterised by suffering before they can have it! I wonder if they will be told that they will have to imagine themselves burning in hell as part of this ‘scientific method’ or have the NKT got some sort of chemical they give people? it strikes me as a little contradictory to claim on one hand that you are preserving the purity of the Gelug (which in turn preserves the ancient teachings of Indian Buddhism) while at the same time claiming to be modern and scientific-what exactly are these new scientific, modern bits I wonder? i

  109. john swainson says:

    happy parent says:

    ‘After a discussion with my 7 year old daughter they are told that meditation stops bad things happening. They do breathing meditation where the leader sometimes tells them to breathe out the bad smoke.. Neither are they told they can be happy all the time.’

    My daughter was distraught when Father Christmas was revealed as a fake. ‘You lied’ she wailed. Should have told her before she went to University! However, she got over it.

    There is a difference here in that with the Father Christmas story the child comes to understand the dfference between fact and fiction.

    Imagine finding out that meditation does not ‘stop bad things happening’.

    Educational theories describe many factors which contribute to an understanding of the world. The way a child may describe, say, a car when they are 5 years old will be different to the way they describe it when they are much older. ‘It’s a broom broom’ etc. It is a simple way of referring to an object which has observable features, in this case, the sound. To refer to the car in this way is appropriate for the child as it is an understanding based on a ‘fact’.

    A simple understanding but valid.

    The teaching of anything, to be effective, must take note of the learner’s ability to understand. The concepts may be simple but they are the foundation for a more complex understanding.

    • How ever qualified the teachers may be they will be soaked in NKT dogma and they will pass this on to the children. I was reading last night in a Zen book how important it is for students to understand that life will not get easier and easier as they meditate as it will bring up many emotions and in fact the journey will be harder some times how does this compare with NKT you can be happy all the time? I’ve seen the damage this does to adults how much more harmful will it be to a child.

  110. john swainson says:

    It is not unusual for a faith school to promote its own agenda. The point here is that the school is not owning up to being a faith school.

  111. bringing children up in this organization is a dangerous thing because it is clearly going to all go very wrong at some point and it won’t be possible to cover it all up any more. The school is not separate from the NKT community all the teachers are on an elitist educational programme which holds the NKT to be the chosen people

  112. John Swainson says:

    On a lighter note for a minute. I found the following on some website a while ago. The recent mention of hell realms reminded me of it.


    The following is an actual question given on a University chemistry mid-term
    paper . The answer by one student was so “profound” that the professor
    shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now
    have the pleasure of enjoying it as well :

    Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs
    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle ‘s Law (gas
    cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

    One student, however, wrote the following:

    First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need
    to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which
    they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to
    Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many
    souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in
    the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member
    of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of
    these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we
    can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they
    are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.
    Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law
    states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the
    same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
    This gives two possibilities:

    1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter
    Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell
    breaks loose.

    2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell,
    then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

    So which is it?

    If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my first year
    that, “It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and take into
    account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be
    true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen
    over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozenover, it
    follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore,
    extinct……leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine
    being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting “Oh my God.”


  113. Carol McQuire says:

    Tenzin, you said…What do you mean with “China is more prepared than the UK for starters….”?

    Here is a link to some information; also add that China is creating huge food stocks for the coming climate change…In this way they are much more prepared than, for instance, the UK. (THis is very off topic but you asked!)


    • Thank you!

      BTW, I change the theme of the blog.
      In the new theme the comments are now better to read in the case there are many subcomments to a comment, and at the end there is a “Return to top of page” which makes navigation easier.

  114. john swainson says:

    Derbyshire newspaper back end of 2012.

    The school’s literature states that children will “learn the skills of how to be happy”.
    Head teacher Ratna Kelsang, 40, is an ordained Buddhist herself and was head of Mousehole Primary School in Cornwall for four years before moving to Derbyshire.
    “I was asked to set up this project here and it seemed like a plan for the best school in the world to me,” she said.
    “Our basic aim is to teach children that, if they are happy, they can achieve their potential and benefit others around them.
    “We are not trying to turn them into Buddhists but we do want to nurture spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, with time for meditation and reflection.”
    The teachers at Etwall will tell you that you do not need to shave your head and wear orange robes to be a Buddhist.
    Ratna Kelsang wears her robes, which are part of her Buddhist culture, outside school hours. But at school she wears ordinary clothing.
    “It’s not something normal to wear robes in society, so we keep things easy here,” she said. “We felt the children would feel more comfortable if we approached things in a normal way.
    “We want it to be a normal, excellent school and to be accessible to everyone.
    “Our aim is to teach all the children to key stage one and two levels and meet Ofsted requirements. We intend to keep them in line with or above their age-expected levels.
    “In our opinion, education is not just about the children getting A grades, because A grades don’t guarantee a happy life. A happy mind is what helps us have a happy life.
    “Every parent wants their child to be happy. That is their wish and the wish of our school.”
    The school’s founders say it is the first in the world to follow the works of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism who established the new Kadampa tradition.
    Kadampa Buddhism presents teachings in a manner intended to be suitable for the modern world. One of its aims is to teach people to deal with daily life with a calm and peaceful mind, no matter what the circumstances.
    Geshe Kelsang Gyatso was born in Tibet and has founded more than 1,200 meditation centres around the world and is the author of 21 books.
    Etwall’s Kadampa Primary School has capacity for 100 children from the age of three to 12. Before it could open its doors on September 3, the school went through the standard Ofsted approval process.
    An Ofsted spokesperson said: “The Education Act requires Ofsted to inspect an institution that has applied to be entered onto the register of independent schools.
    “Ofsted then reports to the Secretary of State on the extent to which the school is likely to meet or is not likely to meet the independent school standards once it is open.
    “At the end of the inspection, the inspector should feed back to the headteacher or principal their judgement of the school’s readiness for registration, making clear where a regulation is not likely to be met, and what must be done to improve.
    “Inspectors should take account of any plans with clear steps or milestones and a proposed timeline by when changes will be made when they make their judgements.”
    Kadampa Primary will use the National Curriculum for primary education but meditation will be a part of every school day.
    After registration, the pupils drop their school bags on the floor, slip their shoes off and leave them outside the classroom.
    They sit cross-legged on plump cushions on the carpet and take part in a breathing meditation. This is guided by one of the teachers and lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. They repeat this after their lunch break, at 1pm each day, to prepare for their afternoon lessons.
    Teacher John-David Kelley, 29, has come from Florida to be a part of the new school.
    He said: “To be able to do meditation with my colleagues and get the opportunity to use my skills on finding peaceful minds with children is really great.”
    Another teacher, Raka Ghaderi, 44, from Liverpool, said: “I have always wanted to be able to incorporate meditation into the children’s day. It’s not been possible before, but now it’s great to teach them after lunch.
    “It’s a rejuvenating experience and they are much more receptive to the learning experience after meditating.”
    Victoria Kocher, 42, has travelled from Sarasota, in the USA, and brought her son Dylan, 10, with her to be a pupil.
    She said: “I was at a Buddhist festival in the Lake District two years ago and heard about the project back then.
    “I just followed the wish for it to happen and here we are. It’s amazing and I feel very lucky to be involved.”
    Ordained Buddhist Nampur Kelsang, 28, is the lead teacher and has arrived from Mexico to start the term.
    She said: “It’s wonderful to have such a mix of cultures and beliefs.”
    The teachers are not the only ones who have upped sticks to attend the school.
    Lucia Zalbidea lived in Kilburn, London, until the beginning of term. The 42-year-old and husband Carlos have moved north so they can register children Celina, seven, and Ignacio, nine, at the school.
    Lucia said she had dabbled with yoga but never tried meditation. She is not a Buddhist but is open-minded and believes the new school has “endless possibilities” for her children.
    She said: “The reasons to be here far outweighed the reasons for us to live in London.
    “My children are happier already and I want them to learn about being calm and how they relate to others.”
    Daughter Celina said that moving from the bustle of the capital to rural Derbyshire was a big adventure.
    She said: “I had a lot of friends in London, who I’ll miss, but I have already made new ones here.
    “Sometimes my friends at my old school were hard to get on with but here we all respect each other more.
    “I like meditating because I can calm myself.
    “Instead of being too excited, I can be calm and it’s easier to learn things in lessons.”
    Head teacher Ratna Kelsang said: “I really feel this place is actually owned by everyone in it and we feel like a family already.
    “This school would not have happened without imagination. Now we will get to see the children’s imagination and what they can achieve through it.”
    The cost of tuition at the school is £3,900 per pupil, per year.
    If you are interested in enrolling your child, contact the Kadampa Primary School by calling 01283 735254 or find out more online at http://www.derbyshirekadampaprimary.org

  115. john swainson says:

    Radical thinkers were one element involved in the splitting which occurred in the major religions. The NKT may not have this problem. It is said that you could put four reigious men in a room and you will have five opinions.

    • Thank you.

      BTW the NKT has removed the realated companies entry at https://www.duedil.com/company/06631434/western-shugden-society
      What has been deleted is the following information:

      Related Companies

      Manjushri Mahayana Buddhist Centre
      Susan Mary Jenkins has been an officer of both

      Tharpaland Kadampa Meditation Centre
      Helen Gradwell has been an officer of both

      As I expected this type of manipulation I made a PDF copy http://info-buddhism.com/WesternShugdenSociety-duedil.pdf


      Ms Susan Mary Jenkins (born 56 years ago)
      26 Jun 2008 — Present (4 years, 7 months, 12 days)

      Ms Deirdre Gail Lofters (born 58 years ago)
      Director, Teacher
      01 Dec 2010 — Present (2 years, 2 months, 7 days)

      Ms Lisa Mcgovern
      Company Secretary
      01 Dec 2010 — Present (2 years, 2 months, 7 days)

      Mr John Alexander Berrie (born 51 years ago)
      Director, Hotel Worker
      01 Dec 2009 — 30 Nov 2010 (11 months, 29 days)

      Ms Helen Gradwell (born 40 years ago)
      Company Secretary
      18 Apr 2009 — 10 Jun 2010 (1 year, 1 month, 22 days)

      Ms Rosemary Elizabeth Mcdaniel (born 36 years ago)
      Director, Manager
      17 Apr 2009 — 30 Nov 2009 (7 months, 13 days)

      Ms Helen Gradwell (born 40 years ago)
      Director, Development Director
      26 Jun 2008 — 17 Apr 2009 (9 months, 21 days)
      1 to 7 of 7

  116. john swainson says:

    Duedil is not the only site to publish all this stuff so with a little Googling all is available. I will not list the sites so the ‘watchers’ will have some work to do.

    The Charity Commission has informed me…
    …’I have reviewed our papers in respect of the aborted purchase of a property in New Zealand by New Kadampa Tradition. and we have engaged with them on the matter… For your general information I have been in touch with the charity about how this matter will be accounted for; and they have confirmed that there will be disclosure of the issue in the Dec 2012 accounts (there was no reference in the Dec 2011 accounts). I will check that point when the accounts are received but thank you for bringing this to our attention.’

    • I have no overview over the assets of NKT. There was something in New Zealand: http://www.newkadampatruths.org/?p=254
      and then there was something in UK, the Tara Centre assets were sold against the wish of the community members who built it up, wasn’t it?
      Could you kindly inform us about these (and other cases?)

      Thank you!

    • I would like to know where the money that paid off the £10000 WSS debt came from Also, which funds are being used to pay off the legal case against the Nkt in NZ? Surely it’s not appropriate for a fine to be paid out of funds given to a charity in good faith Strikes me as somewhat corrupt for supposedly honest organisations, the WSS and the NKT (totally unrelated) to hide their company details and financial transactions details from public view. Aren’t charities financial activities a matter of public interest?Isnt it morally and legally unacceptable for such bodies to behave like this?

      • john swainson says:

        Where the money comes from will remain a mystery to most of us. The RSPCA have recently been taken to task over spending donated money on an expensive court case. The funding of two Shugden monasteries by Kelsang Gyatso is questionable. I have in posts elsewhere raised this issue but had no response. The NKT claim that Kelsang Gyatso lives a simple life and has no personal wealth yet he can make substantial donations to the founding of monasteries. Where does this cash come from?
        According to the Internal Rules of the NKT it is not allowed to raise cash for anything other than NKT business within the centres.

        • Thank you.

          Since the NKT raised money for the Western Shugden Society it follows Western Shugden Society and political actions are “NKT business within the centres.”

          Their home is very ‘modest’ btw ;-) maybe just a mail box address?

          Home of a New Kadampa Tradition branch: The Western Shugden Society's home

        • Always follow the money Remember Capone

          • Is where the money comes from really such a mystery, his poor disciples who weren’t so poor before they met him. You think your giving to help all living beings when really your giving to help GKG sue people and bully them. I know so many who got into debt,endless teachings,empowerment and festivals and if you were ordained you had to go.I dreaded the summer festival every year,you’d pay a new to get cold and damp camping and to work your ass off on your holiday.what a joke!

            • to confrim this:
              like so many, I gave first my savings (as a loan) but didn’t get the loan back. Then they asked me to pay a horrible room rent which was almost as thrice as much I paid for my whole flat before I moved into the NKT centre. Then they asked me to stop my university study (too mundane) and to work more for the centre (instead of working by paid work) and they suggested to take state benefits instead. When I couldn’t pay the rent at one point any more they immediately knocked on my door: “where is the money?” I said I don’t have any money any more they should take the money from my loan. They said I would create terrible negative Karma by being in depths “to the Three Jewels” and that my loan has nothing to do with my situation of not paying the rent. They suggested to get the money from my family and friends instead … later I had to give my loans (it were two) as a gift because it was foreseeable that I never get them back and I wanted to let go the problem.

              This is just an example for how so many have experienced it. Most of us get and got into depths. NKT gets all out of you and if there is nothing left, they will “inspire” you to make depths and to get the money from your family.

              It was just only natural that there were flyers at the NKT festivals: “Where there is a will there is a way” which suggested to acquaint your family members to the idea to give their money at the end of their life to NKT (“the three Jewels”). Actual these manipulations and pressure go all into the direction of taking what was not given, which is stealing. The Vinaya code of discipline for monks and nuns forbid fully ordained persons (and novices is recommend to abide also by most of their rules) to ask any lay person (except your closest family members, parents & sister) for any material goods – except for food on alms round. So you cannot even go to a lay person and ask for medicine if you are fully ordained. The rule is there to avoid that the faith of the lay people is abused and overly stressed.

              In the forest tradition, then if you don’t have a flight ticket to go here or there you can just not ask someone to pay your ticket. Either you are invited or your closest family pays. Soft hints are seen there as permissible, and they argue already if hitch hiking is already too offensive as soft “hintings”.

  117. john swainson says:

    This is on a Shugden website.

    ‘One of the principle functions of journalists in democratic society is to hold those in public office up to scrutiny – to examine their conduct and words to see if they are honest and reliable.
    As Christopher Hitchens wrote in Salon Magazine: “The greatest triumph that modern PR can offer is the transcendent success of having your words and actions judged by your reputation, rather than the other way about. The “spiritual leader” of Tibet has enjoyed this unassailable status for some time.”
    Thankfully some journalists have been prepared to look beyond the veneer and, as with most politicians, the reality doesn’t match the PR. Unlike the Dalai Lama, however, most politcians, no matter how self-important, don’t pretend to be divine. This selection of articles show a more realistic picture of the Dalai Lama as a flawed politician, a flawed human being and a very flawed ‘holy man’.

    Substitute, Tibet, Dalai Lama, with NKT and Kelsang Gyatso.

    • Yes, substitute it.

      But still, really, I don’t like that projections of journalists (based on a extreme leftist, religious hostile background, and one sided information) “enlighten” others with their bias instead of giving sober information (it’s just so unjust). How much biased information which is sold as ‘enlightenment’ can even delude academics can be read in this blog entry by a psychology professor:


      I commented there a bit.

      When I was in India at the end of 2012, I met Manuel Bauer, a non-Buddhist and well known photographer in Switzerland. He had the chance to be with the Dalai Lama around the clock. In an interview he said (and he confirmed this when we met accidental):

      (translating by google translator with slight corrections):

      “His humanity just permeates everything, every moment. It is this patience that he radiates, it is the compassion. He has no official, private or even a “best side.” He is every moment he himself, focusing exclusively on the essential. It touched me deeply.” And he [Bauer] laughs at thoughts as he had initially, fearing that during the cooperation is going the picture of the Dalai Lama necessarily normalizes, perhaps coarsen because he is just a human being. “Nothing like that happened,” Bauer says. “I was really ready, to sacrifice my Dalai Lama imagefor the reality, losing him behind the scenes. But I did not need. The Dalai Lama lives, what he teaches, and has given my respect even more depth.”


  118. John Swainson says:

    Completely off topic but just been reading some stuff about how Dorje Shugden blessed rice cured some dogs. I know that prayer and receiving blessings are used in many religions. The ‘holy’ hand of a saint, the finger bone of another saint etc. What is the understanding here? I am chucking salt over my shoulder to avoid bad things happening. I am not walking under ladders. Que?

  119. Is their scientific proof of the cure? Did the dogs try other forms of Western medicine first? Now theyre cured, has their devotion to Doggie Shugden increased? I bow wow wow to you oh great savior (Quick, hide he thighbone trumpets)

  120. john swainson says:

    Is there scientific proof for Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity etc?

    • Is there scientific proof for Buddhism

      Maybe I am wrong … my thoughts:

      In the sense of demonstrable same results (of attaining enlightenment) under similar conditions (applying the Dharma to one’s mind), maybe yes (I would say). The problem is one cannot produce the result (enlightement) under exactly the same conditions because each individual has quite of a unique mindset and can not achieve with exactly the same condition as someone else the same result.

      At least there are some who demonstrated enlightenment – like Milarepa. But how to produce the same result under exactly the same conditions? And who are the guinea pigs? And the experiment can last over some lifetimes … Ha Ha Ha.

      • Carol McQuire says:

        There is an accumulating body of research that is looking at the effects of differing types of meditation on brain function. Look at the Mind and Life Institute research – you might like to look at the Mind, Brain and Matter conferences http://www.mindandlife.org/

        Of course the NHS has panned out ‘meditation’ for stress, anxiety and depression as it goes on ‘evidence based research’ and all the tests for the 8 week Mindfulness courses with back up show much better results than the pharmaceuticals. But this is health based research (you should know that pharmaceutical ‘effectiveness’ is not by any means a given) and not research into enlightenment. In terms of personal experience I was a completely cynical disbeliever but employed the empirical method and found results from prayers and meditation that went far beyond what I ever expected. It helps to meet a few ‘Masters’ – not an experience that can be shared via words, it’s an experience of what is humanly possible…

    • Hi John,
      I just read a German translation and summery of the lectures by Prof. Donald Lopez about the creation and death of the Scientific Buddha: http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300159127

      It might be very interesting for you and others to read it too. It is very thought provoking and explains the issues of the creation of a Scientific Buddha by Buddhist traditions as a response to the missionary activities of Christians in their countries who used Science as a weapon to denounce Buddhism and to establish Christian faith as superior. The Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Thailand for instance opposed this colonial approach by taking the “weapon” of science out of the Christians’ hand and used it to demonstrate (or to claim) that Buddhism would be more in line with science and were thus superior … Lopez also addresses issues of watering down Buddhism / meditation by reducing it to stress reduction etc. arguing that actual meditation didn’t have this purpose but increased the stress to push the practitioners to strive to reach Nirvana …

      I will try to get something from this book online.
      So far I have only found one online paper by Lopez about “Buddhism and Science”:


      • and additionally: due to the efforts of HH the Dalai Lama and many many others, since 2012 Natural Science has become a part of the Geshe curriculum in India: http://tibet.emory.edu/science/

        (it’s quite interesting in that context to see that KG/NKT who portray Tibetan Buddhism as backward and degenerated and who are not much inclined to science but yet call themselves “Modern Buddhism” have nothing similar nor tend even into such a direction …)

        • The Dalai Lama sets a good example of someone who is open to others ideas and beliefs,I guess he had to be because of his position but it means he had connected to many different people.The NKT criticised him for this yet they could learn from him as they are totally cut off from others.I remember a friend of mine from the NKT telling me she found it hard to relate to people outside the NKT.This is a common problem and one I noticed when I left, because of this separation you end up becoming very isolated. Who they think they can help I don’t know as the only people they listen to are NKT people they assume they have nothing to learn from others as only they have all the answers. Certainty seems to be one of the things that attract many to the NKT and perhaps many organised religion but too much certainty kills our spiritual life because we close off from others. Buddha taught us not to merely follow him or do what he says but to find out for ourselves I believe that means our own personal path not just memorizing what someone else thinks. In the NKT people lose themselves, when I left I quickly realised I didn’t even know what my opinions were anymore all I had in my head was what KG thought. The spiritual path is about discovering ourselves, growing as people this is impossible in the NKT and is the reason why so many find unhappiness in that cult.

      • last and least: maybe this essay by Allan Wallace on Free Will and Karma is also useful for you and some others:

      • Ah, this seems to be the origin article of the German translation/summery I just read:

      • Anon/The Devils Advocate says:

        I hate to say that I told you so but……………there were those here who were keen to demonstrate the scientific link.
        interesting as such a link might be, do we as Buddhists really need scientific confirmation for the validity of our beliefs? I dont.
        Of course,it would be nice f they did: concur but if they dont, I for one dont care-im a Buddhist, not a scientist
        I see no need to justify my views through science, the new religion. Theories come and go, emptness and buddha nature are constants

  121. john swainson says:

    540th birthday of Copernicus. The Sun is at the centre of the Universe. Dangerous talk at the time. Gallileo found the pressure of religion too much when he presented his findings, so he retracted. What one knows to be true from observation can be hidden by ones desire to be comfortable. Scientific proof v metaphysics?

    • is there scientific proof for Buddhism-does it matter? Even if there is (which physicists and psychologists frequently clam,) so what? Do we really need the approval of a ‘truth’ that is constantly finding itself to be incorrect and reinventing itself? So much for ‘eternal truths’
      Science is the religion of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution -they which brought us weapons of mass destruction, ‘safe’ abortion, mobile phones etc etc Do we really have to seek the validation of our beliefs from Oppenheimer and Frankenstein? We were here before them and we will be here long after science has ceased to hold its dominant position among world faiths

      • Afaik there isn’t scientific proof for the existence of a creator god or a permanent soul, whereas logic and science both affirm the non existence of these very clearly

        • john swainson says:

          Can it be proved that something does not exist?

          • Yes. There are these non-affirmative negations for instance. It can be proven validly that inherent existence does not exist. First this is done by the valid cognizer of inference later it is seen directly through the force of the a union of mental factors concentration and wisdom (or more specifically at least with a union of calm abiding and special insight). It can also be proven, that the absence of the ‘hindering of contact’ (= definition of ‘space’) exists, that allows things to appear at a certain location.

            (I am not very good in philosophy but this is all dealt with in the Pramana and Dura, two important study topics in the Indo-Tibetan tradtition.)

            • john swainson says:

              I think we are coming at the question of proving something does not exist from different angles. Coming from the Buddhist view it is possible to say something does not have inherent existence. Coming from a conventional view where existence is taken for granted there is a case for the argument that you cannot prove a negative. I should have phrased my question differently.

              • A friend of mine did philosophy at uni-One of his exam qs was “is this a question?” His response was “Is this an answer”
                Logic is fine, within perameters but reality lies beyond perameters
                The donkey at the bottom of my garden does not exist-I just proved it when I checked-ther is no donkey there
                Endless philosophical speculations fill the mind with………endless philosophical speculations

                In the words of nagarjuna-it is better not to have the itch than to have the pleasure of scratching it
                AND It is more comfortable to be relaxed (Atisha)

          • Carol McQuire says:

            I mistakenly filled in a form for my daughter’s grant application and I found myself having to ‘prove I had never married’ her father and therefore show that it was reasonable to not be able to supply documents ‘proving’ my non-existent divorce! When I asked the bureaucrat on the phone to tell me how I could possibly ‘prove’ I had never married there was a silence. I could prove this only as ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ after showing that I had been a single parent for more than 15 years. This goes to show that sometimes the truth cannot be ‘proved’ except by experience.

            • Carol McQuire says:

              And a way to test whether something has ‘truth’ or not is to see whether it disappoints us, shows us that we were mistaken as to its identity. Showing that the NKT does not provide what it promises does not show that all Buddhist practices do not fulfil their intended purpose – the issue becomes what the purpose of practice is. If Dharma reduces hope and fear – enlightenment is said to be beyond all hope and fear – then what disappoints is not Dharma. Rather a dogmatic way of putting it, but once you do realise what all these teachings are going on about you do then get the drop by drop, slow results that Tenzin talks of…

  122. john swainson says:

    ‘I guarantee that if you follow these instructions you will achieve enlightenment’ I remember these words being uttered as I sat in a very cold ex gymnasium some years ago.

    ‘The Quick Path to Enlightenment…During this week, Gen-la Dekyong will grant the Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments of Heruka Body Mandala and Vajrayogini and explain how we can quickly make progress towards enlightenment through these practices.’

    Tenzin said…

    ‘The problem is one cannot produce the result (enlightement) under exactly the same conditions because each individual has quite of a unique mindset and can not achieve with exactly the same condition as someone else the same result.’

    Does this mean the result is the same for everyone even though we have a ‘unique mindset’?

    If enlightenment is something to be ‘attained’ should we be able to describe it?

    The guarentee above and the claim ‘we can quickly make progress towards enlightenment through these practices.’ implies consistency of approach will give us the required result.

    The ‘unique mindset’ to which Tenzin refers, suggests the process of ‘being enlightened’ is a far more
    complex enterprise than just following a quick path.

    The transformation from ordinary man/woman in the street with a unique mindset to enlightened being should be handled sensitively over time.

    I know of the stories where enlightenment has suddenly occurred as the causes and conditions come together, karma ripening and so forth, but these are the exceptions. It is possible to win the lottery at the first attempt.

    Just some ramblings.

    • Thank you.

      This guarantee by the New Kadampa Tradition is misleading and propaganda.

      The problem is that the mind must have the inner conditions that the practice of HYT brings a good result for the own mind. There are so many conditions that are required in order that the practice of HYT bears its result for a practitioner. Actual the HYT is meant for Bodhisattvas with sharp faculties – so its not even suited for every Bodhisattva. You need a stable basis in genuine bodhichitta and realization of emptiness, quite a lot of merits, proper guidance and instructions, so that it can function for an individual to really transform the person. If these complex conditions are not there the HYT won’t help the person no matter how much “you follow the instruction” – as an example see Wass and Elliot – I am sure they followed the instruction as good as they could. Not only this if the required conditions are not there the HYT can really harm the person.

      The NKT bestows HYT even to newcomers to Buddhism with such wrong promises. As Carol quoted the Rinpoche: NKT have distorted the Dharma by adding hope and fear to it through this it became non-Dharma. Now they sell this non-Dharma as the ultimate all-solving product – it’s non-Dharma business with wrong promises.

      Does this mean the result is the same for everyone even though we have a ‘unique mindset’?

      The results of the three types of enlightenment (see next point with respect to full enlightenment) is the same, though we have a ‘unique mindset’. (There are differences in results for the enlightenment of Shravakas and Pratekya Buddha. For instance Shravaka enlightenment, Nirvana, can include that although the person has got rid of the afflicions and their seeds for ever, they might have strange modes of (unafflicted) conduct due to bad habits. – There are some stories about this …)

      [However, nne must have the right conditions inwardly and outwardly according to one’s own ‘unique mindset’ to unfold one’s potential fully. Since those conditions (especially the inner) are rare, HYT is meant only for few gifted (virtuous) people.]

      If enlightenment is something to be ‘attained’ should we be able to describe it?

      Of course. Its utter peace due to the total pacification of all afflictions and it is “omniscience” (to make it more accessible: basically one can see the two truths simultaneously) due to having abandoned the latencies of ignorance which functioned that phenomena appeared wrongly as inherent existent.

      The guarentee above and the claim ‘we can quickly make progress towards enlightenment through these practices.’ implies consistency of approach will give us the required result.

      This claim ignores the Wisdom of Individuality (which goes along with compassion and countering attachment, Lotos Family, Buddha Amithaba) that there is not ONE path for ALL. There is not ONE “enlightenment package” which you can sell to all people and “guarantee” that they attain enlightenment through this. But this wrong approach and the implicit raising of wrong hopes is what the ‘NKT-enlightenment-business’ is all about, if you look more deeply.

      The ‘unique mindset’ to which Tenzin refers, suggests the process of ‘being enlightened’ is a far more complex enterprise than just following a quick path.

      Exactly. And you can ask qualified and experienced Buddhist teachers who, I assume, will confirm this. It is so much complex because our mind is so complex due to the imprints, latencies, habits over so many many lifetimes. Milarepa is often mentioned, why? Because it is so rare to find someone like him. If it were so easy than ever body should do exactly exactly exactly without alteration totally pure only what Milarepa has done, “than enlightenment is guaranteed”. But it’s not like that.

      The transformation from ordinary man/woman in the street with a unique mindset to enlightened being should be handled sensitively over time.

      Exactly. A careful, openly investigative, self-critical, introspective, gradual, step by step, slowly slowly process is needed. Hurry and rushes don’t change the mind. Details and refinement are important.

      I know of the stories where enlightenment has suddenly occurred as the causes and conditions come together, karma ripening and so forth, but these are the exceptions. It is possible to win the lottery at the first attempt.

      Yes. It happened also with disciples at the time of the Buddha. He just asked them a question back or said one sentence. But when he was praised for his power (I remember a specific – very interesting – story in this context [about a son who relieved his father from grief]) the Buddha made clear what specific action(s) in the past were the cause of this quick result. Since we don’t know our karma, hoping for instant enlightenment might be very misleading. Therefore, I think, the best is to follow a gradual but persistent and continuous practice approach with methods that work for the own mind and reduce the afflictions.

      Just some ramblings.

      No, I think these are valid doubts and thoughts. BTW, the Tibetans have a saying: “If you don’t have doubts you are either a Buddha or a fool.”
      Doubts are just natural, and to question things again and again until one has clarity is indispensable on the path.

      the comment was revised. if you read this note the revision has been finished.

      • NKT damage so many with their wild claims and promises.Many come to them like me with a bad self image desperate to change and instead of teaching you to accept yourself as I’ve read in many other Dharma books they tell you how faulty you are and how if you practice you are guaranteed results. When you don’t get results you blame yourself it’s a recipe for disaster.

  123. Everybody who gets enlightened maintains their individuality minus the clinging- We do not all melt into universal Buddha mind and lose our personalities-while lamas exhibit similarities they each have their own characters

    • again, the idea that everyone can get enlightened through practicing Heruka or Vajrayogini is sold simply because these are really the only weapons the NKT have in their armory. I recall Naropa reciting millions of Heruka mantra for instance, without achieving his desired goal. this one size fits all mentality is a must in a system which is supposedly tantric but where the focal point of tantric practice, the guru disciple relationship is absent- I think there was something in the British Buddhism blog article about it;theMacdonaldization of Buddhism

      • Another very obvious consequence of the dehumanization resulting from control within the NKT is the demise of the traditional teacher-disciple relationship. The pinnacle of the NKT educational programme is tantric practice. The essential foundation of the tantric experience in the Tibetan Buddhist context is the teacher-disciple relationship as exemplified by such figures as Dromtonpa and his master Atisha, or the yogi Milarepa and Marpa the translator. In the Tibetan tradition, it is the teacher who grants intiation and advises the student on which practice is most appropriate to his or her psychological make-up. Even in the earlier, non-tantric stages of the path, the development of a proper relationship with the guru is considered indispensable. Hence, the fundamental meditational texts of the latter-day Gelug tradition, for example, commence with teachings on guru devotion.In the tantric tradition, it is through a combination of formal meditative practice and practical personal advice that the teacher leads the student through the various stages of development to the stage of enlightenment.

        In large organisations like the NKT however, the sheer size of the organization means that it is virtually impossible for the majority of followers to develop anything resembling a close relationship with a fully qualified tantric teacher, other than in a purely imaginary context: ex members of ten years standing report never having met Kelsang Gyatso, for instance, despite holding relatively senior positions within the organization. While devotion can certainly arise and be cultivated in a formal meditative context, in particular, through the practice of guru yoga, in the latter stages of the tantric path, where the potential for subtle deviation becomes an even greater danger, the personal advice of the realised teacher is considered even more indispensable.

        For many in the NKT, the tantric master is little more than a photograph on a shrine and the author of a number of works on one‘s bookshelf. This certainly raises the question of whether or not an organization of the NKT‘s size can be capable of living up to its claim of preserving the purity of the Gelug tradition for, by its very nature, such a huge infrastructure is incapable of facilitating the intimate teacher-disciple relationship which lies at the heart and foundation of the Gelug tradition‘s tantric path and which indeed is indispensable in ensuring effective Buddhist practice.

        In such an organization, ‘product’ (enlightenment) is delivered by uniform employees offering a standard and systematic method of achievement, (in this context, passage through the NKT educational programme). To a degree, one can liken this process to buying ‘off the peg‘ clothes rather than tailored ones, even to the extent that these ‘off the peg‘ clothes are designed so that ‘one size fits all‘. There can be little room for the variance of individual propensities within such a system: human character types are, unfortunately, not uniform.

        In effect, the figurehead of such an organization holds a position similar to thesole designer for a large, mass-produced clothing company whose range stretches to only a very limited number of products, rather than that of the tantric master, who resembles the skilled tailor capable of delivering bespoke clothing according to the varying needs of his or her individual, personal customers.

        • For many in the NKT, the tantric master is little more than a photograph on a shrine

          just briefly: for me he was just a mental image. i fabricated an image of him, i even had nice dreams of him. i made him up in my mind to a Buddha and a perfect being. the shock came when i encountered his own actions. image and reality were quite different. however, disillusenement, disenchantment is indispensable on the long journey. Actual, I am fortunate to have seen him in action and to allow myself to get through the struggle.

          • When senior ‘ordained’ people, who have worked for the NKT for years haven’t even spent five minutes with their ‘tantric guru’ you have to ask how people can have any faith in such a system I guess it’s down to not knowing anything else people just go along and without thinking jump in at the deep end

            • with seniors there is contact. maybe sometimes a bit strange contact. my RT, a pretty woman and NKT nun, was put on the floor of rooms around Geshe-la’s room at Manjushri Centre. accoring to her in the other rooms also were nuns. when she was still a devoted believer of him, and I explained my worries/ difficulties with this issue of faith she remarked rather innocently (without any bad intention but to help me): I have also sometimes difficulties with faith. Or what would you do if you wake up in the morning and your spiritual master is entering your room, and sits comfortable besides you on the bed while you are still in the pyjama?

              Later when I have left her there was an incident where she got furious when she heard that a healer, who was a student of Lama Gangchen seduced students of her. At that time she – out of an emotional mood – expanded on the story. A person I trust and who left later her too, told what she elaborated on this event. According to him, Geshe-la rubbed her arm, saying “This is what you like, isn’t it?” “You must see me now as Heruka.”

              Although my RT was a great manipulator, she also could be honest at times and the two situations where she said this were not the usual setting where she was controlling others but was carried away by her own emotions.

              (I know this is hard stuff for pro NKT people in general and also in mundane business. But I felt I should at least mention it.)

              • We’ll, well, we’ll : the old “you must see me as a tantric Buddha’ chat-up line Of course, no one will believe you, despite the fact that you are a fully ordained monk and are therefore jeapordizing (sp?) your vows Perhaps there was a precedent for Thubten Gyatso and Wass’ sexual abuse after all The plot thickens- Is Kelsang Gyatso just another creepy old pervert who cant follow the rules?l

                • i said only what my RT said and that I feel she didn’t say it to badmouth him.
                  after all it also can explain why he was so “tolerant” with what Wass and Elliot did.

                  however, i have only knowledge of this occasion which happened and was reported by my RT.

                  • After all, he’s only human!

                    • Carol McQuire says:

                      I have been wondering if Gyatso was fully ordained or not? He is very unclear about this and there has never been a proper ‘biography’ of Gyatso published. In fact, most of what is said about Gyatso isn’t clear at all. He didn’t get a formal Geshe degree (in his own words) which in some ways does not matter as the title can be honorific (but Lamas Yeshe and Zopa did not take up the ‘Geshe’ title and were in a similar position to Gyatso). And on his own admission in the prefaces to various books, Gyatso also states that he never studied in tantric college. Therefore I wonder if he was at all qualified to give good advice to his students, not having the experience necessary. Gyatso talks about ‘getting transmissions’ in dreams, I think from Manjushri/Tsongkhapa and in the NKT the idea is that Gyatso is the ‘second Tsongkhapa’ which is so entirely absurd as soon as you start to read the biography of Tsongkhapa! NKT students get the short straw at every level (advice, teachings, ordination) but this is in the context where there is little knowledge of Buddhism in this culture as a whole and therefore there is nothing to compare Gyatso with. I was in shock when I started getting personalised advice from Tibetan teachers and that this is regarded as the norm!!

          • You are lucky to have seen GKG s true colours for yourself as so many just can’t believe he is capable of wrong doing. I’ve heard of people who have read NASTY vile letters he sent threatening people and they still find an excuse.It’s hard to let go,for me giving up GKG was the last thing to go but when I read how he had hurt my friends I couldn’t be ok with it,then the more I dug the dirt was endless. As a test I tried digging up dirt on some other Lamas with no OR little success,it is true as GKG himself taught no smoke no fire.

        • I think GKG sells this uniform style of Dharma,ignoring individuals because it is truly how he views us. He talks of us all as the same,just deluded beings no matter what sex we are or our different up upbringing,because of this he doesn’t place any importance on his students learning about themselves or patterns of behaviour. It means you leave the NKT with as little clue about yourself as you had when you first arrived. I have learnt more about myself in 6 months of therapy than I did in 10 years in the NKT. Buddha teaches we must know ourselves yet in the NKT it’s all about other’s to the detriment of you own health and mental well being. Without self knowledge we can not know other’s,but a army of people who neglect themselves for the sake of a greater cause is great for growing an empire.

        • Carol McQuire says:

          Brilliant summary! Thank you!

          • laughingdaquini says:

            I left the NKT finally in 1998 after 7 years involvement. The protests against the DL were the last straw for me. Until a few months ago I had no idea there was such a strong movement on the internet to expose the NKT for what it is – a deceptive and brainwashing cult, characterized by massive abuse, deceit and hypocrisy. I have just read through a lot of the comments on this thread and it makes for some very interesting and entertaining reading. The pro-NKT posters such as Person and Atisha’s Cook have very weak responses and lines of argument. They always use the same old chestnut of the manipulaive control freak ie “If you can’t say something nice then better not say anything at all” Such a stance attempts to make the person holding up valid criticisms look like they must just be such a bad and negative person. It attempts to use the manipulator’s technique of guilt-tripping to try and stop criticism of them. Fortunately we, the readers, are not so stupid as to fall for this rubbish. So dear Tenpel, John, Anon, Carol, Fleadle and all the other sensible ppl on here please keep up the good work and out these charlatans – expose them for the cunning, manipulative yet ultimately stupid frauds that they really are! Thank you.
            Oh, and I too have met KG in person and far from oozing compassion, as one of the pro-NKTers claim, he oozed indifference and even a bit of suspicion towards me. Maybe he could sense, being clairvoyant and all, that the person sitting in from of him was no sycophantic fool who could have the wool pulled over her eyes as easily as most of the other creepy brown-noses who hang around him, like flies around sh*t…

            • Thanks LD for such a straightforward comment. I was made to feel pretty bad about myself by my so called NKT friends but I now realize when your in the thick of it you are so blind,something pretty bad has to happen to see the truth about GKG. Most people I have spoken to who have met GKG have said he had quite a temper and was in no way open to criticism. I know it’s easy to say the right thing in the NKT but doing it is not so easy. Friends who abandon you to protect their own Karma just because you dare to criticize the NKT, it all seemed so logical when I was a part of it now it seems uncaring and cruel.

              • You are only worth in NKT if you toss the partyline, if you contribute to its expansion by money, attracting newcomers, working extremely hard etc, in brief, if you bring benefit to the organisation and its growth. As soon as you get sick, are weak, have doubts “going in the wrong directions” you are feared and treated like the devil in person.

                These are just the outcomes of a “cult” which operates with fear, guilt, hope, black-and-white thinking, and mental states which are infused by pride, confusion and sectarianism. Its a mental poisoning what happens. And once this mental poisoning has been (skilfully and gradually) infused into the mind of a newly won follower one cannot see any more. One really gets spiritual and common sense blinded. The deeper intuition might ring alarm but it is suppressed because one’s own feelings and intuition is “deceptive” (while Geshe-la knows, he is omniscient), and to see faults is the lack of “faith” without “faith” no spriritual progress, not any realization – this is mainly the propaganda of the group … and its a thorough mental “brain” washing – hard to see, hard to understand but it functions, and we can witness the outcome, in our minds and in that of others. It destroys the people.

                • It strikes me that in most dharma organizations nowadays, you are only valued for your contribution to the cause and not for who you are, not just in cults. It just shows twelfth more readily in cults. The teachings say we should not see the teacher as being like a musk deer but there are no such admonishment so for dharma groups and those who contribute. Of course, if you give expecting to receive, you create the cause for being slapped in the face. However, I have yet to come across any group that values people for who they are-its usually all about how much you give. And the more of your time you give, the higher up the imagined hierarchy you go. I now feel that the whole community thing is BS and that all that remains is me and the Buddhas words-it’s lonely and it’s been painful getting here but it feels more genuine than anything I’ve felt for decades Shame that we have to burn to see this (PS It’s toe the line, not toss)
                  love to all fellow loners

                  • Sounds bitter but, whereas in Tibet, two types of monastic (workers disciplinarians, teachers, students on the one hand, those intent on devoting their time to meditation and realization on the other) lived side by side in relative harmony, here in the West it’s those who work for the centre ( now, the holy beings) and meditators (often now, the renegades) I am probably among the oldest/longest associated with the Dharma in the community I visit but, because I choose to keep myself to myself and focus just on practice (in accord with my teachers instruction) I am treated like some sort of uncommitted outsider!,

                    • Thank you.
                      This is very true.

                      One finds a lot of those cult like tendencies also in other Western Buddhist groups … and also I have to confess that I find myself in situations where I am not able or willing to take care of ill persons …

                      That there are similar tendencies of this cult like behaviour also in other Western Buddhist groups and among us Western Buddhists makes it very hard for ex_NKT to settle in any other Western Buddhist group. I met so many Ee-NKT who searched for a new home but never found one. What usually I then say is: Dharma practice is not about joining a group or to find a group as a new home or to be a member of a group. It’s by far more important to receive teachings from genuine lamas and to apply that understanding to your mind, and this you can do also at home, alone. Ususally I mention that many Tibetans did exactly that: they travelled over weeks to a lama, received teachings and went home to their household (or cave) and just practised. However, for many Westerners groups seem to be of utmost importance (‘where do I belong to?’ ‘i must belong to something …’) but the problem is that this is a part of identity grasping and that Western Dharma groups are rather not very healthy which is also natural because of our Western neurosis, falling apart of families, and our unfamiliarity with Dharma and healthy growth in the Dharma. So all in all it is not easy in any way. But many ex-NKT might still have the idea there is an easy and save place out there one needs to find and join to practice Dharma. Usually I say, this is an illusion, you won’t find such a place, give that idea up and just make the best out of your present situation … This longing for a save, inspiring, mature group seems to be a dilemma for many (ex- and non-NKT alike). I think its better to accept the reality – though this might be hard.

                    • I totally agree,we really want to belong and I think for many find that family replacement. I do think we can go to groups to get a teaching or the chance of some guidance but we don’t have to get too involved. I go to a Zen group but just so I can meditate in a group and have advice when I need it. They are nice people but they don’t encourage that kind of attachment to a group you get with the NKT,they don’t try to get you more involved. Ultimately their is no perfect group but I don’t believe any will be as poisonous as the NKT is or could have as many problems.

                  • john swainson says:

                    Yes, I have not joined any Buddhist groups either. The idea of going back to that sort of thing does not appeal. Reading and studying are fine. Thinking is good but it makes my brain hurt.
                    Looking back to the early days I was keen and eager to please. Many have felt the same and abandoned all to join up. The saying which has been attributed to many, ‘if you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow,’ is appropriate here. I feel this is what the NKT does.
                    There is another saying which carries some truth. ‘Wait until all the bangs and flashes have died down.’ That is the time to evaluate.and see what is in front of you.
                    At this point you maybe start questioning what you see. The answer is usually, ‘if you look for faults you will find them…you need to see your teacher as a Buddha,’ etc.
                    So some doubts about your own wisdom arise and you work harder to achieve the ‘right view’.
                    From the postings earlier, it seems to be able to work like this requires a great deal of attainment or understanding. This is not for the beginner.
                    Having an ‘ordinary mind’ is all you have when you start.and It is with the ‘ordinary mind’ you have to try and understand some radical ideas. Emptiness, etc. This means you have to alter your whole way of thinking and how you think about yourself, your identity, the thing you have known for years. No wonder that when you are in this transition and are abandoned there is a problem. You are in limbo.

        • Thank you Anon! I found only now a brief time to glance through new comments. This is an excellent comment and summery, I agree with Carol. Thank you very much!

          Also the article at British Buddhism Blog is very well thought out and hits the nail on its head.

          Here is the link:

          • Good points John,a lot of people who are desperate to belong and feel LOST find the NKT and at first it’s great like a ready made family but it’s conditional to you towing the line and putting in the hours. When I first got involved I overheard a monk saying I had potential,it’s all about how useful your be.When I was admin director for a while I started to see people as just commodities to do jobs,there was so much to do the pressure was crazy. I had this image that I’d move in and spend my days meditating and praying fat chance of that!

            • This issue is massively important-we are in great danger of destroying the thing we love most if we think that the essence of practice is evangelical proselytizing as part of some kind of Buddhist Salvation Army PRACTICE IS WHAT PRESERVES THE DHARMA

  124. john swainson says:

    In order to have balance with regard to the Kadampa Primary School I post this link.


    You may make what you want of it all. The fact still remains that the school appears to be funded by the NKT which is not within their brief according to the Internal Rules.

    • Wow, thank you. Ofsted gave them a really good mark. I will insert the school report in the post.

      Though I am impressed, and the results are worth of praise, NKT has been most of the time successful in impressing others in the beginning. They must win the faith and heart of people, and they know it.

      Let’s see how it turns out in the long run, and how especially this point develops: “The development of opportunities for pupils to learn first – hand about other cultures and communities nationally and internationally is at a very early stage.”

      • Today in theUk, the two most important teaching unions are, having given a vote of no confidence against the head of ofsted , debating whether to call for a complete reform of the organization or its total closure because, in their words, it is not fit for purpose A good ofsted report proves not that a school is good but rather that the educationalists employed there know how to tick the right boxes-any educational professional knows this

        • john swainson says:

          The following extracts from the Ofsted report do not appear to agree.
          I am not being critical of the staff at this school, as teaching is a complex activity, but of the apparent inconsistency.within the report

          ‘Teachers work hard and prepare carefully for lessons. Every teacher produces plans for each lesson…’

          ‘…These vary and not all show sufficient consideration for pupils’ different starting points. The school has a good range of tests and checks on pupils’ learning which the headteacher analyses rigorously, but this is not consistently used well by teachers to inform their planning’…

          ‘…Consequently, in some lessons, not all pupils are sufficiently challenged, especially the more able. Additionally, teachers’ expectations of how much progress pupils should make in a lesson are not always high enough’.

          But we also have this statement.

          ‘A great strength of teaching is the very good knowledge which teachers have of each individual pupil. This results in teachers giving very effective one to one guidance and support which contributes greatly to pupils’ good progress including those with special educational needs’.


          ‘…good knowledge of the individual…resulting in effective one to one guidance…which contributes…to pupils’ good progress…’

          ‘…not all show sufficient consideration for pupils’ different starting points…’

          ‘…not all pupils are sufficiently challenged…’

          ‘…expectations of how much progress pupils should make in a lesson are not always high enough’.

          Also, when I was teaching, special educational needs included the most able.

  125. john swainson says:

    Quote from Ofsted report. The school is ‘spiritual rather than religious’.


    • like “Modern Buddhism” “spiritual but not religious” could be just a new strategy of NKT to make them more acceptable in the world and to reach more people.

      it’s quite amazing to see how one of the most controversial (and for me also one of the most backward and sectarian/’fundamentalist’) Buddhist group promotes themselves to be “Modern Buddhism” and tries to give itself a touch of freshness and modernity which they don’t possess – while at the same time they portray the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism as backward – and most people seem to believe these ‘PR stunts’*.

      * a term which might be still up-to-date. The ‘Sera Expulsion letter’ accused KG of “PR stunts” for his claim to have been for a long time in retreat.

  126. john swainson says:

    In order to further the charity’s objectives in the future there are plans to develop the first International
    Kadampa School.
    So we know that Tara Centre is the source of funding.

    Internal Rules state…

    18§1. Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres is to spread NKT Kadampa Buddhism, all the assets of these Dharma Centres shall be used only for this aim.

    It is stated in the Ofsted report the school is spiritual rather than religious.

    I believe he NKT is defined as a religious charity.

    • True, this is a contradiction. I assume that the school “is spiritual” is what NKT said to Ofsted, and Ofsted just repeated it as so many scientists repeated just what the NKT secretary said to them no matter if its true or a tactic or contradictory to other facts. NKT is quite skilled in getting their message through and in adjusting their presence so that people “generate faith”. Maybe to call themselves “spiritual rather than religious” is a part of a new ‘marketing strategy’ like it is the term “Modern Buddhism”. And maybe NKT didn’t know that “Research has suggested ‘spiritual’ people may suffer worse mental health than conventionally religious, agnostic or atheist people.” or was it a polite hint of Ofsted that there is some “worse mental health”? (thank you for the link.)

      Wouldn’t this contradiction of the school not being religious and the charity constitution of NKT stating that funds can only be used for spreading the NKT teachings be something that has to be reported to the Charity Commission: that NKT uses funds and property in a way that it is against their charity constitution?

  127. Carol McQuire says:

    Dear Tenzin,

    The Ofsted report isn’t that ‘good’ at all. In the report it states that ‘none of the classes are inspirational’ and nothing is above the level of ‘good’ except ‘spiritual welfare’. Really good schools in the Ofsted reports are called ‘outstanding’. My daughter attended one – there are many. The category ‘good’ just isn’t impressive at all.

    Also, the report cannot be accessed via the Ofsted website itself, which is extremely unusual. I have asked Ofsted to clarify this. Perhaps John has seen the report online at Ofsted and can send us the Ofsted link.

    Thanks for all your good work!

    • Thank you, Anon and John for your input and clarifications/corrections. It appears I saw it too positive. In Germany only few schools would get the highest rate. If there are many schools in UK who have the level “outstanding” then it follows that “good” isn’t that remarkable – more over they are a bit distant from the lofty ideal to become “the best school in the world”.

      BTW the school follows the work of ‘Geshe’ Kelsang Gyatso:

      The school’s founders say it is the first in the world to follow the works of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism who established the new Kadampa tradition.

    • john swainson says:

      Probably not put it on the database yet. The report was on the Kadampa School Facebook page.

  128. JS “The fact still remains that the school appears to be funded by the NKT which is not within their brief according to the Internal Rules.”
    Precisely. The quality of teaching has never been the issue. The fact that money procured by a religious charity who are bound by charity rules to only use the donations they receive for promoting their version of religion, is being used for clearly stated, non-religious, non promotional purposes is the contradiction and amounts to a misuse of funds and the betrayal of donors good faith
    The only alternative is that the charity admit that the school is a covert NKT promotional activity, in which case the claim that the school is not being used to promote NKT religion is false.
    I am afraid it can only be one or the other. Surely, even the Charities Commission can see this obvious contradiction?

    • got an email that says: “The Charity Commission already know about the school issue and the Internal Rules. They say it is up to the trustees to ensure the charity is acting in its own best interest and justify their actions to the members.”

      • Which is basically saying if someone does something that they think its morally justified, then it is automatically morally justified-they really are totally ineffective and cowardly wets, desperate to protect themselves from criticism Useless toss pots.

  129. john swainson says:
    • Shock horror,NKT parent’s think that the NKT school is great. Most Steiner parent’s think the school is great but I’ve met a few adults who went through Steiner school and they are all odd,these types of school do not prepare children for the hardships of life.Main stream school can be tough but there is no better preparation for society. A bubble of fluffy hippy nonsense is not a reflection of our society. NKT world is the a bubble where people hide emotions instead of experiencing them,these kids will be taught certain emotions are bad and for a child’s emotional wellbeing that is fatal. I saw the promo video and a girl of about 7 said meditation makes bad things stop. I couldn’t believe it,this isn’t what meditation is about.Children need to know whatever they feel is ok,so they develop emotionally and are never afraid to express how they feel.

      • The claim of NKT that meditation would ‘stop bad things happening’ is already totally wrong and misleading. If the child believes in it then it might want to meditate away all bad things which could happen or which happened; e.g. divorce of the parents, bad marks etc. Sooner or later the child finds out that meditation cannot ‘stop bad things happening’, what will the NKT or school teachers say to the child? Maybe, “it’s your fault, you did not meditate good enough” or “it’s a purification” or “you need more faith” or “your negative doubts block the success of your meditation”. Sounds a bit strange but this is the way how NKT addresses problems to their followers with respect to their practice. I doubt if the NKT teachers can go beyond their own system …

        • My meditation hasn’t stopped the NKT happening and the NKT meditation hasn’t stopped thiS blog
          is there anyone at the NKT I can complain too? I want my money back It didn’t do what it said on the tin

          • You don’t have faith. You need more faith. I assume you also lack merits. Geshe-la says if we have enough merits all your wishes will be fulfilled. We can very easily increase your merits by giving your money, savings and will to the Three Jewels [=NKT] – you could also give a loan that’s also good though not that meritorious. There are many pure practitioners in our tradition but without faith – especially in our root guru – we cannot fulfil our wishes. I am sorry for you. It’s a purification process.

          • And then there is another point: you are very negative to demand back your money. This only shows your attachment and stinginess. With such a negative mind you cannot achieve anything. It’s time to let go your money.

  130. john swainson says:

    NKT apologises and gives back Conishead Priory.
    Bexhill Buddhist Centre returned to original trustees.
    Losang Dragpa Centre reopened as slur of impurity unfounded.
    Heart disciples come clean and say ‘honest cop guv.’
    ‘Wind farms are not harmful, we were kidding’ says spokes person.
    Owners of Highden Manor offered twice the damages awarded by the court for the inconvenience caused.
    Sitting tenants at the new International Retreat Centre in Germany given free lodgings for life.
    Charity Commission says ‘how can we be of assistance?’
    New Kadampa Truth finally owns up.
    Charity Commission accounts finally show spending on real charity work.

    New teaching aid offered to primary school The instructions say only to be assembled by the under 12’s with the help of a manipulator, sorry, an adult.


    It is April Fools’ Day

    Look it up Tenzin!

  131. john6747 says:
  132. I have found both this article and subsequent posts rather interesting. My husband is a member of NKT and the further he gets into it the more I feel him drifting away from us his family, he beleives it is making him a better person. So i guess he has good intentions but I see it as a form of spiritual materialism. He is currently in Portugal (we reside in Australia) for Kelsang’s apparent final teachings in this lifetime, not that we can afford such an extravegant trip. I would never stand in the way of his spiritual journey and even encouraged him to explore Buddhism and meditation in the early days. He discovered NKT which resonated and brings him further away from his family the deeper he delves. I told him recently he was part of a cult and perhaps should visit a “Buddhist” country to get some perspective. He got angry and defensive, apparently I am delusional. He also recently said he wanted our son to learn meditation, and I have no problem with it as it is beneficial but I made it very clear that I did not want our almost 6 yo son to be indoctrinated and brainwashed into the kadampa way. I have been to a few teachings and it wasn’t for me, I found the view too narrow and the whole thing with being promised an extra special re-birth if you follow this so-called Guru or what I see as the pretend Dalai Lama a hollow promise and manipulative, not to meniton the money he spends with his commitment to NKT. I go with the Dalai Lama when I attended his one day teaching in Melbourne when he said to stick with your own tradition which is cultural, don’t take mine on becuase you like what you hear, all philosphies have value and basically teach the same.

    • Hi Nicole, I’m sorry to hear about your husband getting involved with the NKT. I was a member for a long time and trading how you see through the tradition so quickly shows you have sharp insight. It sounds like your husband is already quite brainwashed as he is very defensive. When I first met my husband I was still very involved and got really mad when he would criticise but slowly he made me see their were lots of questions I couldn’t answer. I would advice you drop little doubts you have in conversations but be subtle about it and don’t do it in a confrontational manner. One thing your quickly taught in the NKT is that others won’t understand because their delusions are too strong. Stay firm when it comes to your son and insist he can be taught how to meditate on brbreathing meditation,remember everything your husband says he believes is helping you two. It was concerns for our son that finally got me out and opened my eyes as I saw how unhappy many NKT kids seemed. Plus I saw a side to Kelsang Gyatso that unmasked he was anything but a kind loving monk. I advice also contacting inform they can support you and are set up to help those who are involved our know someone involved in a cult. I’m sure Tenpel well help you too he has much wisdom. You are you in my prayers also. Much love

    • Nicole I also want you to know you are not alone please contact me whenever you need to. Tenpel can give you my private email just refer him to this message. You have friends and supporters here many of whom were sucked in by the NKT but who thankfully saw the light and got out. I am ask Buddhist but practise ppb my own as I don’t think I’ll ever trust a group again. I do get the DLs point cultural cross over with religion’s can often cause problems and these are extreme in the NKT, they pick on the vulnerable those of us searching for something. I hope your husband sees the light soon but until then please know I’m here for you in whatever way is helpful.

    • Dear Nicole,
      thank your for your feedback and comment.

      This is a very hard situation you are in but I think you respond very good to it.

      It is extremely important to communicate boundaries for oneself and the child in order to prevent harm.

      In a case I know very well it was the women who made her husband (they have three children) aware of the abnormal behaviour of the people following the cult and said clearly that she doesn’t think its good for him nor the children. She was very persistence and her gut feelings were right. Her husband finally opened up and contacted someone who had some expertise of the group and then after a discussion with that person he decided to leave it. I think in family relations the emotional bond can be (often) strong enough to use it to awake the partner but there is no certainty. The way fleadle describes it do drop doubts (or to hint contradictions) in a balanced way might be also very good. I also agree with fleadle that a contact with INFORM might be very useful in sake you look for some professional support.

      As fleadle said: he seems to be quite indoctrinated already, however, if you have a strong emotional bond there might be still some chances. It is great to see the clarity and care you have for your child.

      I wish you and your family all the best and please let us know if you need any help or support.
      Very best,

      • Thank you Tenpel and feadle for your kind repsonses. You know, I’m not looking forward to his return as I know we are going to be on completely different wave lengths especially when he has been a part of a large group of kadampa followers. i mean you have to be pretty brainwashed to ignore your family responsiblities to travel to the other side of the world to be present for this monk’s apparent final teaching in this lifetime. They couldn’t have marketed this retreat better, that somehow you will miss out on something if you don’t go and if you do, well i suppose you’re guaranteed good future lives. How can anyone guarantee that? Don’t your own actions, thoughts and karma determine that? Seems a bit extreme to me and Buddhism from my understanding isn’t an extreme religion. What i saw when I lived in Japan was that it was a way of life something you practiced and not something you preached. Even when he comes back from the weekend retreats here in Australia, he’s always happy but it is fleeting and the language he uses is all what he has been brainwashed with and I find it quite irritating. We don’t seem to be able to have an objective discussion on spirituality as he always recites what he has been taught through kadampa as this is the only truth according to him – no person or religion has the monopoly on what the “truth” is when it comes to spirituality and when I come a across a group that claims such things my instinctual repsonse is to walk away and while there are some things I can agree with, there is alot that I do not. I will check out INFORM

        • Carol McQuire says:

          Dear Nicole,

          I am very sorry to hear that your husband is distancing himself from your family and spending your family money to go to teachings abroad. Gyatso has ‘retired’ three times now – it is just a marketing ploy to get people to go, as you say… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4813g6HlwI This is what he is being offered – a paradise on earth, and nothing compares to that, not even one’s own family. I myself, left my partner in Mexico to come to the UK to get empowerments with the NKT. We had problems in our relationship that made me move towards the NKT – the Dharma itself is very attractive and helpful and the NKT use that attraction. Once someone is in the group it is difficult to get under their skin, into their unconscious, without arousing defensive reactions and even more clinging to the group, as you know. I have seen so many people leave their families (even one woman left her young baby to become a nun) – you will need to be very loving and very astute and very clever to help your husband get through this. I am wondering what would help, as analysing the group as you do, and using that language will not help him ‘see’ through it. What shocks me profoundly is that Gyatso has set himself up above Buddha Shakyamuni – he has invented an ordination that no-one else in this world has ever used – that goes into future lives but with no monastic training (Vinaya)!! extraordinary! You can see the subtle meaning in the video – ‘teachings from Buddha’s heart’ and you pan to seeing a figure in silhouette on a teaching throne and then you see Gyatso, so your mind ‘sees’ Gyatso as Buddha. But for NKT members he is more than just ‘Buddha’, he is the source of everything and the NKT is his world. I hope you don’t mind but I would venture to say that the only thing that will keep him in your family is for you to give him all the love you can, show him affection, understanding, tolerance. Anything else will alienate him from you even more. Are you interested in Buddhist teachings? Can you attend other groups and invite your husband? So that you agree to share Buddhism…I don’t know – the NKT is toxic and once the poison is in the system it’s so difficult to find an antidote…I feel for you. xCarol

        • Dear feadle,
          i am happy for you have my email address. Also i did actually suggest to my husband that we could teach our son “breathing meditation” ourselves and i got a very defensive “I know that!” however I am digging my heals in on this one and will remain strong. He’s not even bothered to call or contact us since he has been in Portugal which I find bizzare even if only to talk to our son who misses him. I also feel only he can remove the blinkers and see things for what they really are but as long as he comes back from these events all happy and glassy eyed my words are wasted. I have asked him to do his own research however if he is happy with how it’s all going it’s not something he is going to want to look at or take on board objectively. He gets asked to help out at the community “general sessions’ which is a soft introduction, they do not delve deeply there, the idea is to get them up to the temple and they seem to target areas where there is a large demographic of people with issues and are searching for something more. When the usual person who sets up the shrine can not go, they call him and he drops everything to do this as he sees it as a huge honour. Is that not manipulating the ego? So sometimes will skip coming home for dinner after work to do this. i once asked why the monk running these sessions could not do this but apparently it is a lay person’s job. This past Easter weekend, of which we usually celebrate, the temple had a retreat on and my husband expressed that he wanted to go. I told him it was his choice go to the retreat, or stay and have a family weekend creating a happy memory for our son. He chose to stay but resentful that he didn’t go, which is why I’ve not stood in his way for this trip to Portugal despite my concerns. It seems they sell these events in such a way that the “folllower” feels that they will miss out on some empowerment or whatever if they do not attend as many of these things as is possible for them. Would that be an accurate assessment?
          Thanks again for your caring and beautiful words.

          • Hi Nicole, you are right you do feel you are missing out if you don’t go to an empowerment but also slowly you are taught everything but the NKT is meaningless, so things that mattered before suddenly become less important and even feel selfish. He will probably believe he can’t help your son by being with you two but that the best he can do is be a Buddha four his sake. It’s a twisted logic that destroys families. Carroll has made a lot of valid points on here and I advice following her advice. Be patient and loving and ask lots of questions like you really want to know. She is right if you attack he will only be defensive like Carol says mums have left their children because of the nkt so treading carefully is a good idea. My email is fisalter@gmail. Com can you pass this on Tenpel please them delete plus my number 07723997134. Thanks. Love flea

          • Carol McQuire says:

            Dear Nicole – I have written to you on this site, on October 28th. If you cannot see it, let me know & I’ll repost. You are also welcome to contact me off site if you wish. carolmcquire@hotmail.com Good luck xx Carol

        • One thing with the nkt it sells certainty in a scary uncertain world this is very attractive. Unfortunately this certainty separates the person from others who have more open views. Remember he thinks he is helping you and his son. Keep staying strong and dropping those doubts. I found out there is a cult support group in Australia I advice contacting them for help and support so you don’t feel alone. Good luck,I’m sure with such a lovely caring intelligent wife he will come to his senses eventually. My husband kept pointing out to me how closed of I was too other spiritual ideas and when his friend once told me I was so black and White it is very hard to talk to me out was a wake up call how can I help people if they feel they can’t relate to me? My aim was too help people and I slowly saw I couldn’t do this in the nkt. I also noticed how unhappy many of my NKT friends were and how over the years their problems remained the same. Take care Nicole

          • Here is a transcript from the festival introduction.

            Through understanding the nature and function of mind correctly then we under stand that our mind is very different from our body, you know from our body, very clearly. Then we clearly understand through this…so we understand our mind is very different from our body. This proves that after our death, although our body will cease, but our mind will not. Our own mind leaves our body and goes to the next life, like a bird leaves one nest and moves to another.

            Another example is that during sleep, for example, during our sleep when we are dreaming, our body is like dead, no function. You know. But when our mind leaves the body and goes to the dream world, experiencing dream life which is new life, we should know that our death is like sleep. Sometimes when people say when people die they sleep. So our death is like sleep. Our experience of future lives are like dream. Buddha says you should know all phenomena like dream. There’s no inherently existent phenomena. Everything is like dream. So therefore death is like sleep. Our experiences of future lives are like dream. The circle of this death and dream will be continually without end. This proves the existence of countless future lives very clearly, very clearly. There’s no doubt the existence of countless future lives. Our dreams teach you even dream alone, sleeping dreaming alone shows.

            Milarepa says you should mix sleep, dream and waking. You should mix, it has great meaning. So anyway through understanding this and contemplating this explanation I have explained, then without forgetting meaning previous then you should think, you should understand and think the happiness and freedom of my future lives is more important than this life because this life is only one single life but my future lives are countless and endless. Therefore, there’s no doubt that future lives are more important than this life. Then we can make strong determination. I must prepare for the happiness and freedom of my countless future lives now.

            In Joyful Path of Good Fortune we have this by the same author.

            ‘With this human life, each day, each hour, each minute can be completely worthwhile. Every single moment of our precious life has great meaning.’

            ‘If we understand the great value of our precious human life we may still waste it if we think that it will be easy to be born human again. In fact, it is very rare to be born human because it is rare for anyone to practise pure moral discipline which is the cause for such a rebirth.’

            To place great emphasis on this life being less important than future lives surely contradicts what he said in Joyful Path.

            As the actions in this life may be the cause of a fortunate rebirth, then surely this present life is very important.

            What happened to the idea of achieving enlightenment in this life?

            Seems to me like ‘Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

            • Very good John your on the ball. Jam is way too samsaric in NKT world the best you get is a big stick of guilt to beat yourself with. It’s contradiction city in the NKT that’s why no-one ever had a clue what to practise!

            • Hi Nicola
              My previous post may seem unconnected with your problem. However, it gives a flavour of the stuff your husband will be listening to. There is the feeling you cannot talk to others as they do not understand. I remember the phrase ‘stay normal but change your aspirations’. This may be good advice if done skilfully, or it may lead to conflict.

              • Hi John, thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts. Your initial post was in no way unrelated as I have spent the entire weekend researching and trying to understand better NKT and where my husband will be at, on his return. I actually watched and listened Kelsang’s introduction to the festival and although I have not read any of his books one bit that did strike me was when he said the only thing that is important is our future lifetimes. How about what we do, say and think in each and every moment? We are here to live this life the best way that we can and from my understanding that will determine our rebirth. It comes across as hell, fire and brimstone except in this case there are 13 hell realms to be fearful of. I said to my husband why is he so concerned with his future lives when he’s still living this one? My priority is to be the best I can be (and i am far from perfect) and to be the best mother I can be so my son grows into a fully integrated human being who has no need to search outside of himself for validation or answers to his existence. Perhaps he will and it will be his choice, not imposed upon him by we, his parents. Is this promise of blessed future incarnations not dis-similar to fundamentalist Christian or Muslims promising similar things when they reach Heaven? I am alarmed by what I am discovering and feel I may have already lost him as after this retreat, he will be far deeper than every and I have no doubt that there will be more to go to, not just here but in other parts of the world. As much as I wish to help him, I am starting to feel it is a losing battle and perhaps I need to do what is best for myself and my son as there is only so long that I can stand by and watch this. It seems unless I also become a part of it, we will have no ‘common ground’ or anything in common for that matter except our son. It’s not funny but kind of funny, I backed into his car in the driveway last Friday and have been fretting ever since, trying to get his headlight fixed before his return however it wont be happening for a few weeks while they source a new headlight. I’ve not had any contact or have been able to contact him to at least mentally prepare him for my misdemeanor, and have been worrying how he will react to my momentary distracted moment as he can be a bit harsh, however I have resolved to myself that perhaps I have provided him with his first test as I am picking him up in his car at the airport on Friday night for a camping trip. If this trip has been of benefit something like this hopefully will be taken with a pinch of salt. By the way I am not a Buddihist, only dabbled with it by going to a few teachings and reading some books written by different Tibetan Lamas. My husband’s approach has put me completely off Buddhism but now I know that it isn’t Buddhism at all but the NKT teachings he is absorbing. It seems they have very much an “us and them” mentality which is sad. How can one person demand total reliance upon him as their guru? That is dangerous to me, I would be interested to know the vows he took and renewed last year? Were they to Buddha and his dharma or to kelsang and his dharma upheld by DG?

                • Hi Nicole, I’m sorry your having such a tough time. It sounds like your husband had been involved for a while? The vows he took were probably Bodhisattva as they are taken before most empowerments,this gives people commitments and ties them in tightly so its harder to leave. Many I’ve spoken to feared hell so much they wouldn’t leave others leave but suffer ptsd because they believe their still go to hell. Only you can decide if it’s worth waiting for him and what is best for you and your son. It sounds like he is very brainwashed and hasn’t yet started to see any issues, their is no guarantee he will leave anytime soon. I know their are exit experts who help loved one’s get family members get out of a cult but even they say it’s hard to keep them out. You have to decide if this is something you can live with. It may be worth sitting down with him at some point and telling him you love him but feel like your losing him, maybe finding out if your son feels that too. Telling people only future lives matter means many abandon this life, I’ve known people leave families behind, end marriages all sorts. Don’t forget your constantly told its for the sake of all living beings so it then seems crazy to you to put your family before countless living beings. It is very extreme Buddhism. I was drawn to Buddha’s teachings through the Dalai Lamas books, I had no reason to think when I found the NKT it was different to that Buddhism,I didn’t find out about the protests against the DL till much later ans by then I was totally brainwashed so I believed the DL was bad. Their is a huge variety of people in the NKT many are very intelligent people but simply searching, I have learnt since we need to look within not to a monk on a throne. I hope you find a solution. Please keep in contact you are not alone.

                • Hi Nicola
                  My advice, for what it is worth, is not to give up on him.
                  I had the love of a good woman who had the wisdom to let me go my own way with the NKT. She ‘allowed’ me to go to festivals, empowerments and run an NKT class although I didn’t teach.
                  Eventually, the mismatch between the teaching and the practice became clear and I left, or some would say ‘chucked out’ as I had become a nuisance.
                  As you say, the car may be a test, but it may not be wise to point out his shortcomings if there are any.
                  I have just returned from the funeral of an old friend and eulogies were read. Mostly they referred to how the person had changed from being a Wildman in his youth to a more temperate person in what became his latter years. The consistent message was of a person who cared.

          • well said, fleadle & carol, there is hope if the partner is strong and clear while at the same time patient and loving. Not an easy situation … your own example shows how such involvement into NKT can unfold and collapse.

        • Thank you Nicole. This sounds that there is already a deep rift between him and you/the kids. When I was at that point nobody could reach me any more. I needed years to pass beyond that and to make an u-turn.

          With respect to the NKT: this marketing strategy they apply now for more than a decade. I was in NKT from Dec. 1995–June 2000. And I remember I was always urged to go to the summer festival or HYT (Vajrayogini) empowerment because it would be highly likely the last time that he is giving it and then there is no further possibility in the future. When I said I feel not prepared for this and I am happy just with the Lamrim and practice of Chenrezig me was told that I would lack compassion because I would not strive strong enough to attain “enlightenment in one lifetime” by relying on Vajrayogini. NKT has a very coarse and a very subtle way of pressurizing people with Dharma-phrases.

          Its non-sense that future happy rebirths can be guaranteed, there is no guarantee for a future happy rebirth except one has attained the peak level of the path of preparation of the Bodhisattva path (this is before one enters the path of seeing). Even if people have accumulated a lot of good karma, the decisive moment is the moment of death. Even a very virtuous person, when negative throwing karma is activated at that time will go to a lower rebirth, similar, even a very negative person when positive throwing karma is activated at the time of death will go to a higher rebirth. So you are right, when you say: “Don’t your own actions, thoughts and karma determine that?”. Yes!

          Seems a bit extreme to me and Buddhism from my understanding isn’t an extreme religion. What i saw when I lived in Japan was that it was a way of life something you practiced and not something you preached. Even when he comes back from the weekend retreats here in Australia, he’s always happy but it is fleeting and the language he uses is all what he has been brainwashed with and I find it quite irritating.

          NKT raises hopes and fear in people, so his fleeting happiness is based on newly created hopes, expectations the NKT teachings raised in him, this cannot be stable in any way. Institutionalized religion without true spirituality mainly gives people “good feelings” but it does not offer means that they can really transform. Metzinger, a philosophy professor, with whom I do not fully agree in all of his thoughts as expressed in “Spirituality and Intellectual Honesty” (PDF) and his public lectures (I heard one just last Friday), hits the nail on its head when he points out (what I call “Institutionalized religion without true spirituality” and he (a bit misleadingly) just calls “religion”), that “religion” is: missionary, dogmatic, dishonest with respect to questioning things, not open for other good arguments, mainly giving good feelings to followers but not open for deep and honest intellectual inquiry while true Spirituality is not missionary but still, open for good arguments, relies on honest inquiry etc. So your husband became not a spiritual seeker but a follower of institutionalized religion that lacks Spirituality and that offers a pseudo-liberation that in actuality is just bondage. Here an extract from Metzinger:

          What about the ethical principle of intellectual honesty as a special case of the spiritual stance? Spirituality is an epistemic stance, the unconditional desire for knowledge, for an existential form of self-knowledge beyond all theory and dogma. Similarly, in science, rational methodology systematically maximizes the acquisition of new knowledge. On the one side, there is the search for direct experience, for instance in systematic meditation practice. On the other side, we find data collection, the principle of strictly data-driven procedure. Here, we have the dissolution of the phenomenal self, there, the ideal of continually and repeatedly letting one’s own theories fail through their contact with reality. On the level of spirituality, the ideal of truthfulness is particularly well developed, and in science, there is the “principle of parsimony”—the continued striving to make the ontological background assumptions made in explaining observable phenomena as weak as possible and to minimize structural assumptions.

          Spirituality is radically individual and does not evangelize, whereas today’s modern science is a globalized, highly professionally organized enterprise, and one that communicates new insights and research results and hence builds on the systematic dissemination of knowledge, for instance through public media. Still, all of those readers who really know serious and respectable scientists will be able to confirm that these are often truly spiritual people, even though they would never describe themselves as such. Many scientists would even outright deny this claim. Nonetheless, the seriousness and sincerity of the scientist, the radical openness to criticism, and the strictly experience-based search for formal elegance and simplicity are, in their core, essentially the same as the earnestness of spiritual practice.

          This brief analysis might elaborate / highlight the points correctly pointed out / observed by you.
          You cannot have any objective discussion because he is a follower of institutionalized religion that lacks deep spirituality, that is deeply dishonest, mentally closed, dogmatic, stressing good feelings BUT never stressing to radically and honestly question things. (My mantra about NKT has always been that it is in nature a deeply dishonest organization and that the opponent power to their deceptive system is honesty and truthfulness.)

          So your experiences as expressed in your comment and as expressed in your observation here are just natural:

          We don’t seem to be able to have an objective discussion on spirituality as he always recites what he has been taught through kadampa as this is the only truth according to him – no person or religion has the monopoly on what the “truth” is when it comes to spirituality and when I come a across a group that claims such things my instinctual repsonse is to walk away and while there are some things I can agree with, there is alot that I do not.

          It appears to me that you know by far more about Spirituality and Buddhism than your husband, at least you seem to have a far deeper sense or gut feeling for it.

          Wishing you and your family as well as your husband all the best,

          PS: I hope INFORM can support you.

          • As an additional note: institutionalized religion that lacks Spirituality also offer to people secure feelings to belong to something, they take away people’s fear from death and promise the paradise after this life if you follow them. True Spirituality seeks the truth no matter if this search isolates you from the world and goes along with doubts and insecurity for which one needs inner strength.

            It might be interesting to find out what emotional needs NKT seem to fulfill for your husband.

            • Thank you Tenzin, John, Feadle and Carol for taking the time to respond. You have all helped and given me a much deeper insight and understanding of what my husband has involved himself in. He’s been with NKT for 3 years now. I guess I must practice compassion for where he is at because he’s in this with the best of intentions. I also must practice my marriage vow to him to love him unconditionally and not discard him or our marriage because things are too difficult. It is understandable that he found solace in NKT as we were going through difficulties both personally and in our marriage at the time he hooked up with them. In 2009 we experienced a very traumatic event, the Black Saturday Bushfires, of which we were all lucky to walk out alive, we lost our home and all material possessions and it has been a long process for us to get back on our feet in a myriad of aspects as I am sure you can understand. So we have been through a great deal together and it would be a shame if our marriage broke down due to his involvement in NKT. Thanks again for providing me with support and a much better understanding.

              • Dear Nicole,
                thank you very much for your openness. I am very sad to hear that you had this very traumatic event and lost your home and all of your material possessions. Yes, this needs a long time to get back on your feet. It makes it also understandable what might drive your husband to find a refuge in religion/NKT.

                I think unconditional love is the greatest healing power and you cannot help yourself and your husband better than cultivating it and keeping it up. What he won’t find in NKT is unconditional love it is great when he can get it from you and I think there is nothing more powerful than this. I am very touched to read your thoughts and my feeling is that you really know what is good and not good, what should be done and what should not be done.

                Three years in NKT, then he is already quite “brainwashed”, however, true love is more powerful and longer lasting, I think, because love is based on reality and the NKT brainwashing is not based on reality. Sooner or later reality shines through the clouds of delusion.

                Wishing you and your family all the best

  133. john6747 says:

    Just been catching up on what the Kadampa School is doing. Looks like the kids are having a good time. The parents appear to be happy. As contributors to this site know, I have no problem with a school which creates an environment which allows children to achieve their potential, but I have always criticised the decision by the NKT to fund this school as it is not part of the Charity’s remit to do so. The Charity should, according to its rules, only use money for the promotion of Kadampa Buddhism. They make the claim that the school is not Buddhist and yet see no problem in using the Charity’s funds for this purpose.

    The above video shows the children in meditation class and they are reciting the Liberating Prayer. The Muslim parent claims the school is not Buddhist and therefore there is no problem with the meditation sessions. I wonder if she is aware of the content of the Liberating Prayer?

    • Sam Hoff says:

      John, can you please answer the following questions:

      1. Why is there an oracle of Shugden like Nechung, if Shugden is a Buddha?

      2. Why is there no picture of Kelsang Gyatso and Trijang Rinpoche together?

      3. Do you admit the New Kadampa Tradition BANS from their centers most tibetan buddhist teachings and even the traditional Gelug protectors?

      4. Why does Kelsang Gyatso disagree with Trijang Rinpoche’s position that Shugden’s outward visual appearance is that of a worldly gyalpo?

      5. Why don’t you understand the main teachers of the Dalai Lama are Dilgo Khyentse and Trulshik Rinpoche?

      6. How does the Dalai Lama control the government of India?

      7. Why did Pabongkha refer to Shugden as Dolgyal?

      8. Why did Pabongkha place Shugden under the control of Vajrabhairava?

      9. Why was the abbot of Drepung monastery and the previous Dalai Lama, the 13th, opposed to Pabogkha’s propagation of Shugden?

      10. Why did Pabongkha apologize and promise never to propagate Shugden again?

      11. Why did the Eighth Karmapa and Gorampa criticize Tsongkhapa?

      12. Despite Trijang Rinpoche, why did Gelugpa monks specifically view and practice Shugden as an Unenlightened protector under the control of Yamantaka?

  134. jigmeyeshe says:



    The NKT’s only ‘Kadampa School’ is now closing. As if often the case with changes of ‘policy’ in the NKT, the decision has most probably been made at the highest level without any consideration for the people involved at the lowest level – it’s unusual for a school to close mid term, without warning. I wonder what provoked this – according to the new accounts the school is no longer losing money. Perhaps the fact that the sudden changes in teachers, many having left last year, left parents asking why? There issues about the overwork of the teachers and the lack of transparency in dealing with parents. There was discussion and lately there have been letters sent to the relevant authorities. The school also wasn’t defined as a ‘faith’ school even though all the teachers were involved with the NKT and the school paid rent to Tara Centre, whose grounds it is in. When there are too many questions that would provoke an ‘external’ investigation the NKT usually back away very quickly.

    Bridge Heyes, the Resident Teacher who was a director of the school, told the press: “The governors of Kadampa Primary School Derby made the decision to close the school. The governors decided to close the school due to having no confidence to run the school.” When asked to elaborate further on this, or whether it was a regrettable decision, there was no further response.

    Perhaps the NKT’s lack of training and competence to run a school became evident even to the NKT themselves…

    There is a giveaway in the article – they are going to close ‘due to ‘unsustainable levels of red tape’. They can’t follow the rules so rather than having a shaming investigation they are closing down very quickly.

  135. The Kadampa Primary School in Derbyshire has announced to close. The Derby Telegraph writes, that there are 40 pupils, who don’t have a place to learn now. “Mystery surrounds why the fee-paying Kadampa Primary School, in Etwall, which opened four years ago, has suddenly announced it will finish at half-term – which starts at the end of the coming week.”

    Read more at http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/parents-shocked-after-derbyshire-primary-school-announces-it-will-close/story-29809902-detail/story.html#LWv55uUFRI3vlE6F.99

    (I updated the post above, adding the link to this article.)


  1. […] validity of the NKT, reinforced by pressure to be seen by other members, and a personal practice of being smiling and happy all of the time. For me as an Ex-adherent and Ex-teacher of the NKT it seems that the research team has fallen pray […]

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