Reflections of a former New Kadampa (NKT) practitioner

I received a link today with posts from someone who left NKT. The reflections add new perspectives on NKT, rarely stressed. The following two points from “But the teachings work don’t they?” I feel important to highlight:

The importance of mindfulness and self-acceptance as central teachings of Buddhist practice

It is only since leaving the NKT and reading other teachers that I see clearly what was missing, just the other day I was reading a short Zen book on the basics of the practise, and the author began by saying that  “the one thing that unites all Buddhist traditions are two main practises, firstly mindfulness and secondly acceptance of ourselves. The curious thing is that despite the hundreds of teachings presented by GKG, these are the very two he doesn’t  look at in any real detail. Mindfulness I have been told can be included in his Mahamudra teachings but these are nothing to do with the very simple presentation I have found in the 6 other books I’ve already read since leaving the NKT, not just Zen but many other traditions, and although breathing meditation is taught in the NKT it is taught as a basic preparation practise not as a mindfulness practise in itself There is sprinkled throughout GKG’s books references to mindfulness, to observing our mind, but it is very sketchy to say the least not presented in any complete way. Also teachings on self acceptance, self love or anything that is likely to empower people to have faith in themselves and to develop their own wisdom is very absent. This is not the case with many other teachers, so I have to ask why out of all the teachings GKG thought to write about why so little on these two subjects which most other traditions seem to feel is very important.

The denigration of oneself and the need for individual growth

Rob Preece writes a brilliant book called “The wisdom of imperfection: The challenge of individuation in Buddhist life.” this book addresses these issue’s but also points out how certain Tibetan teachings do not encourage us to develop as individuals, I believe this is very true of the NKT, infact the individual is ignored, we are told time and time again how little wisdom we have, how ignorant we are, how only our Guru has the insight to know the truth. For those of us in the west with already very low self esteem we eat up this information with relish and use it to continue beating ourselves. Suddenly we know nothing and the Guru knows all, we are faulty, the Guru faultless. And the only light at the end of the tunnel? We will one day be a Buddha like him! Great just countless life times of ignorance and misery and maybe by some miracle one day we will become Buddha’s, but how? I do not for the life of me understand how we can even hope to emulate these great, perfect beings if all we relate to in ourselves is our deluded, dark mind. I can not believe Buddha ment for us to see ourselves in such a negative light. How can we hope to love and accept other’s if we can not love and accept ourselves? We mirror what is happening within our own mind, if what is happening is self abuse, fear and hatred, where is the light and love to come from.

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