Only six months to become a Buddhist teacher and get a full time position

What do you think how long it takes to become a Buddhist teacher?

In the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) you can “become an effective and qualified Teacher” or “a qualified Teacher of Kadampa Buddhism” in only six months by attending a newly designed course.

I doubt that this “quick education” is reasonable and useful – except for fulfilling the need of NKT to have many resident teachers that can keep their centres going and who are able to attract new NKT students.

I have quite of different understanding of what “effective and qualified Teacher” means, and I doubt that this can be achieved by a six month course. In the Tibetan Tradition – where NKT is coming from – you usually study at least 12–15 years before you are considered a Buddhist teacher.

The requirements you have to meet to get into NKT’s six month Special Teacher Training Programme are:

1. To have been a practitioner of Kadampa Buddhism for a number of years, but at least two

2. To have the wish to become a qualified Kadampa Buddhist Teacher

3. To be free to become a full time Kadampa Buddhist Resident Teacher after completing the course

4. To be fluent in English

It is interesting to see that instead of asking for an considerable amount of money from those who would like to do the programme (NKT courses and classes are usually rather expensive, and on top of it you have to pay far more money for accommodation and food) NKT is even offering support this time:

Successful applicants will receive the following facilities free of charge from NKT:

1. A six-month course on the Special Teacher Training Programme

2. Accommodation and food at Manjushri KMC for the duration of the course

3. Travel expenses to and from Manjushri KMC

4. Assistance with visa applications if required

5. At the end of the course students who have successfully completed the programme will be offered a full time position as a Kadampa Buddhist Resident Teacher.

For me this rather indicates a desperate attempt to acquire at all costs enough “teachers” who can keep up the running of an organisation whose main emphasis has always been on its expansion. I think if you reflect about this course it becomes clear that this has more to do with business than Buddhism or the Dharma.

*In case this link doesn’t function download the NKT brochure here (PDF).


  1. It strikes me as very desperate, you know if they are doing something for nothing they have little choice. I know that numbers at the festival have dropped off and many centres are not doing well. Being a resident teacher has always been seen as a very stressful hard job but now with even more inexperienced teachers it can only be worse. It doesn’t surprise me KG is so desperate to increase his empire no matter the cost to others. It will in the end weaken the NKT but I’m afraid many will be harmed before this happens. I hope some one or thing one day can take on the NKT and so this poison one and for all before many more are hurt. My own resident teacher was responsible for driving away many students and hurting others, he had no empathy for others, was rude and brash and to me displayed none of the good qualities we were supposed to admire. He was like a spoilt child and bullied those he didn’t like. He made me feel so bad about myself and so crap for being sick. So many resident teacher don’t have the ability to guide others or support them but with NKT training is hardly surprising.

    • Yes it is desperate. Yes it is damaging.

      I met recently a person who was 10 years in NKT (most time as an ordained), and now though the person is no 10 years out of NKT and over it, the person still cannot trust Buddhist teachers or lamas nor do formal spiritual practice. The harm NKT is doing is so deep that many give up Dharma completely or have just such a long hard time after they have left.

      Most people are utter unaware of the harm NKT is doing, allow to be deceived by their outer appearance and give them even the space to offer “mindfulness meditation” in the NHS system – a type of meditation they have just no idea of – without realising that this is as if the NHS opened up the doors to Scientology to give them space to get into contact with the vulnerable in order to draw them into Scientology.

    • Just as an aside to this – my ex-partner found the NKT in 2011 near where we lived. Initially the teachings seemed to help with her general demeanor. After a short while, our relationship disintegrated (which was already under strain because of her general struggle with life and having a child) and she was romantically pursuing her non-ordained teacher behind my back. I don’t know if anything happened at that time but after about a year, and me finding solicitous text messages which she denied, she left – for a week. She came back still lying about her emotional attachment. After several months she became a lay teacher herself. And two years after coming back she had an affair with her ‘teacher’ whilst we were still living together with our child (consumated at a NKT festival!). I moved out when I found out, finding emails. Both are still ‘teaching’.
      She was always very hostile about the Shogden stuff. I studied Buddhism for a long time, and don’t believe the nonsense about HH but could tolerate it if it wasn’t discussed. Seemed like she was brainwashed. Apart from anything living with the severe tyranny of her practice and the sheer hypocricy of it blew me away, as did the betrayal and abuse of my commitment which gave her the freedom to practice (and cheat).
      Just saying. Can’t imagine non-ordained practioners teaching in other traditions – nor being able to justify stuff like this, because in the end I was the deluded one, the child-like one for being upset and angry, the violent one (never hit anyone in my life)….. Steer clear.

      • Thank you Matt for sharing this painful part of your life.

        The NKT way does not really transform people as far as I can see. Many described it as “spiritual bypassing”. The hypocrisy and dishonesty is a rather natural result of this “spiritual bypassing”.

        I hope you and your child are well. I wish you all the best!

  2. The trouble is people trust Buddhism that is why the NKT can weasel their way into universities and hospitals, one day the truth will be known. If I see any posters I inform the people in that shop or where ever that it is a cult that hides abuse they soon take it down. We just have to keep trying to inform others. I now have problems praying to Buddha,I am practising Zen but I would love to pray, nothing formal just connecting but it’s hard to trust till then I never knew how deep the hurt and mistrust go. NKT teaching mindfulness is a joke, they don’t understand this,I still remember being asked to teach a mindfulness course and realizing I knew nothing about it so I looked through KGs books and found a few bits and pieces but not much it was a tough course to teach but that’s how it was in the NKT making it up as you went along,I got good at ad libing I had no choice.

  3. Lineageholder says:

    How about Meaningful to Behold Chapter 5? The whole chapter is about the practice of mindfulness and alertness. You can’t practise without it – every Lamrim meditation is a practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness pervades every practice in Geshe Kelsang’s books!

    • LH, what do NKT mindfulness teachers – who never took a proper training in those type of mindfulness meditations that have been researched – recommend to a person who says he/she gets depressed by doing breathing meditation or who says he/she feels pain, anger, resentment, depression, and aggression deep within? What would be the advice? What is your definition of mindfulness? What is their definition of mindfulness? What is their qualification? What are they teaching?

    • Dear LH, Mindfulness is not taught as a lone meditation technique, in every other Buddhist tradition I have read our been to teach basically the same principals for mindfulness and it is taught as a foundation, the most important practise this is not the case in the NKT. Even breathing meditation is put down but it is actually a very beneficial and helpful meditation. Anyway the main point is that you cannot become a experienced teacher through as few weeks training it comes as suggested by name from experience. When I left the NKT after 10 years I had very little actual meditation experience and no mindfulness experience, this to me says it all and I have heard many others say the same. In the NKT it is all about expansion in my Zen group 20 is the maximum aloud so the teacher can concentrate on his students and build a relationship with them in the NKT you don’t even meet your teacher.

  4. The Devils Advocate says:

    LH, you have clearly never read the mindfulness chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara nor do you have any concept of the nature of the mindfulness meditations being bandied around the market place during the current MacMindfulness epidemic. Otherwise you would know that the two are almost totally unrelated- the one being a proper path focusing on ethics, concern for future lives and developing understanding of selflessness with the other being about providing a totally decontextualised method of mind control for thoroughly short term considerations. Perhaps study both before making such silly comments as you only demonstrate profound ignorance

    • Give LH space to explain herself. I am interested what her / the NKT mindfulness teachers’ understanding is and what they actually teach in the NHS.

      • The Devils Advocate says:

        LH will. as usual when answers demonstrate obvious flaws, run a mile and wont answer
        Truth and falsity are like a lake and a mirage-the more intense the scrutiny, the more evident the reality

        • Lineageholder says:

          I write one comment and get five replies! Whatever I say you will find fault with so it’s pointless even trying. My point was that mindfulness pervades the whole Buddhadharma so Fleadle’s comment that he/she has no mindfulness experience in NKT is completely absurd unless he/she never meditated. It’s also wrong to say that breathing meditation is devalued as it’s everyone’s first experience of mindfulness, concentration and inner peace. That’s all I need to say, all the best you you all.

          • I asked you six questions and reminded one poster to give you space that you can give answers. Your answers to those six questions are still very much welcomed and appreciated.

            If your point is “that mindfulness pervades the whole Buddhadharma” and it follows for you that “Fleadle’s comment that he/she has no mindfulness experience in NKT is completely absurd” you must accept that since emptiness pervades the whole Buddhadharma it would be completely absurd that someone has not realized emptiness who follows Buddhadharma.

            You further miss to discriminate between “the whole Buddhadharma” and NKT as an organisation that offers only a fraction of the understandings and teachings of “the whole Buddhadharma”. In that context you blur the fact that the teachings on the “four foundations of mindfulness”, satipaṭṭhānā, are just not present and not being taught in NKT and can therefore not be meditated upon or experienced.

            It’s also wrong to say that breathing meditation is devalued as it’s everyone’s first experience of mindfulness, concentration and inner peace.

            In NKT breathing meditation is called nowadays a “preliminary meditation practice” and in the past (I don’t know how it is nowadays) it has been explained as inferior to Guru Yoga and as not having merits – except for calming the mind a bit. People, like a good friend of mine, who found breathing meditation extremely useful were encouraged to stop it and to focus on Guru Yoga (which means seeing Kelsang Gyatso as a Buddha and worshipping him). My friend was told that his problems derive from “a lack of merit and negative Karma” and Guru Yoga would help him better than the breathing meditation. At the end he lost what he found to be extremely helpful for him – confidence in the practice of breathing meditation – and the strongly recommended practice he was encouraged to do, Guru Yoga, didn’t help him either – except for being closely tied to the NKT at the end and fearing to leave the organisation or the Spiritual Guide because this would lead him to the hell realms, meeting no qualified Spiritual Guide in the future etc.

          • You gave lamrim as an example of mindfulness it is not. Mindfulness is observing the mind with out judgement, or adding or taking away what is perceived. This practise is not taught in the NKT. Mindfulness in the NKT is only taught as part of concentration not as a practise in itself as it is in the NKT. You don’t reply to people’s questions because in the NKT silence is taught as a method to appear superior. Don’t talk or engage with those deluded people, you may think it makes you seem above us or more wise or peaceful to me it just appears you have no answers to intelligent questions. But you are correct it is pointless you replying because we will most likely always find holes in your answers because their are so many to be found. In the NKT dogma trumps common sense, experience and logic. Yet like Tenzin I’m still keen to know what you think, because much of it is how I once thought.

            • You gave lamrim as an example of mindfulness it is not. Mindfulness is observing the mind with out judgement, or adding or taking away what is perceived. This practise is not taught in the NKT. Mindfulness in the NKT is only taught as part of concentration not as a practise in itself as it is in the NKT.


            • Dear Feadle,
              here are two essays about mindfulness which might add to give a broader background:

              Toward an Understanding of Non-Dual Mindfulness
              (PDF) – John Dunne
              Is Mindfulness Present-Centered and Nonjudgmental? A Discussion of the Cognitive Dimensions of Mindfulness (PDF) – George Dreyfus

              Very best

              • Re ‘Fedal’ comment and Yr response.
                – I will look at the articles you posted closely as time permits In the meantime a couple of general comments. The notion of ‘non- dual’ does not occur as such in the pali records of the historical Buddha. What is meant by that term when applied to the suttas is ‘ Not going to extremes’ – The middle way that avoids (not ‘transcends’) various extremes.

                Unfortunately in later traditions it drifts more and more into ‘oneness’ notions which are more properly the concerns of theistic traditions. Extreme application of ‘oneness’ leads to sweeping pseudo profound statements asserting the identical ‘nature’ of opposites. Also one ends up with, to me, silly, and theistic terms like consciousness without an object, objectless awareness. which is behind conceptions like ‘naked awareness’ – even at work in Burmese ‘insight’ terms like
                bare attention.’ etc.

                In the historical Buddha’s approach ‘consciousness’ always has an object. People seem to go weak at the knees when ‘consciousness’ is named – particularly when it has a capital ‘C” The work simply means ‘knowing’ but in the ‘C’ word form often becomes code for ‘God’ “ultimate reality” etc.

                Also in the suttas the word ‘sati’ (mindfulness, recollection, awareness, even memory depending on context) usually or often occurs in conjunction with the word sampajanna (Wiki) Sampajañña (Pāli; Skt.: samprajanya) means “clear comprehension”,”clear knowing,””constant thorough understanding of impermanence”, “fully alert”or “full awareness”,as well as “attention, consideration, discrimination, comprehension, circumspection”. …..Thus it is usually sati+sampajanna, in one block, INCLUDING in the supposed locus classicus for ‘mindfulness’ the satipatthana sutta. The sampajanna part is where, hopefully, judgment and discernment enters the picture…or all is lost.

                A very simple description/definition is this.. Sati knows something is there, Sampajanna knows what it is.

                PS Why is Judgment and judgmental more often used as a put down these days? Seems to me what is usually being referred to when people say ‘judgmental’ is actually ‘moralising’ – that well know critical thinking free zone.

                • Thank you very much. There is nothing I can’t agree with.

                  I especially agree with “sati+sampajanna, in one block”. It’s also Jay Garfield’s opinion that “minfulness” actual means sati+sampajanna. You can find similar statements in Abhidharmakosha or Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim Chen Mo …

                  When I use the term “non-dual” I attach it to a definition given in the Gelug school. There it has the meaning 1) no inherent existence appears, 2) there is no mind-object duality (mind and object appear as one due to the deep state of concentration) and 3) no conventional phenomenon appears. For me these definitions are rather food for thought than final truths.
                  Similarly, the objectless meditation is according to my understanding and experience not objectless. When you apply this type of meditation, the mind comes to rest in itself and then what appears is mere (conventional) mind. This would be congruent with the third mindfulness of the four close placements of mindfulness. But in the objectless meditation you won’t focus on mind, you just rest the mind and as a result of that relaxation the mind appears naturally to itself. Its a different technique to achieve the same as can be achieved in refined states of the breathing meditation. (There is a text by Thanissaro Bhikkhu that discusses advanced levels of breathing meditation where the mind appears to itself …; and I spoke with two Theravada monks about it). You can use this objectless meditation also for Vipassana.

                  I agree also with your thoughts on “judgemental” …; actual, to cultivate Buddhist ethics you must be judgemental in order to discriminate right from wrong and in order to discriminate wholesome states from unwholesome states of the mind.

                  I am interested in more of your thoughts. Thanks a lot.
                  BTW, there are two articles about mindfulness / mindfulness and ethics on my website that cover these issues very well:

  5. The Devils Advocate says:

    Hey LH heres a further question-I happen to be studying the six perfections at present. On my desk are works by Pabongka (Gelug), Kelsang Gyatso, Gampopa (Kadam and Kagyu), Paltrul Rinpoche (Nyingma) and Ngorhchenpa ( Sakya). Perhaps while your defining the NKTs practice of mindfulness, you could also explain why KG would think my reading list inappropriate (bear in mind all four traditions of Tibetan Buddhisms sutra teachings incorporate Kadampa practices)

  6. The Devils Advocate says:

    As expected, no answer

  7. The Devils Advocate says:

    In fact KG DOES teach genuine mindfulness as conceived in the Theravadin vehicle in his commentary on the wisdom chapter of Shantideve-under the heading understanding the selflessness of phenomena through the practice of the four close placements of mindfulness
    However, this practice in the mahayana is for the purpose of bodhisattvas realising the selflessness of phenomena
    The eleventh root bodhisattva vow is against teaching emptiness to the untrained In the sixth chapter of Chandrakirti’s Commentary on Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ there are six lines that describe the person who is ready for a teaching on emptiness. That indicates how important it is to really find the right moment and the right person to teach this topic. The wrong shade of meaning and the student might feel it is nihilism, which will leave very bad imprints on their mind streams
    IF the NKT genuinely teach this mindfulness to the needy, are those beings ”trained’?If not, the NKT do not follow their vows and lead those untrained beings to hell

    • The Devils Advocate says:

      So, either you teach Dharma to unsuitable vessels or decontextualize it for the purposes of worldly gain. Either way, its eating poisoned food-and that has consequences

    • NKT teaches only one method within the Sutra system to deal with negative emotions which is that method that is taught in Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara. In the context of this method you apply antidotes to negative emotions. However, mindfulness with respect to feelings, body, phenomena and consciousness as it has been researched and as it is being taught in MBSR and MBCT, Zen, Theravada, Mahamudra tradition – the satipaṭṭhānā method – is just not present in NKT.

      If a person has anger the NKT is incapable to derive from their system and to encourage the person to mindfully observe the anger, how it arises, moves and ceases or comes and goes. NKT teachers will rather create more tension and stress in others by their single approach to condemn anger as extremely negative. Due to the single approach of NKT to only condemn negative emotions without having techniques and teachings to mindfully observe negative states of mind etc. and to apply shamatha and vipassana methods on them, people will rather be tempted to repress such negative emotions, to deny them, to shun these emotions and even themselves (for being ‘so negative’). The stress will rather increase due to the condemnation of negative emotions such as anger, so that people will be unhappy or angry with such negative states of mind which increases their stress and tensions.

      NKT is marked by “spiritual bypassing” and is extremely unhealthy in how they deal with emotions and with themselves. NKT mindfulness teachers will highly likely mislead and damage people in the long run.

      FWBO teachers at least had a MBSR or MBCT training. However, both organisations will rather use the NHS mindfulness classes to recruit new members for their organisation. NHS is quite blinded in this context.

      • The Devils Advocate says:
        Suddenly mindfulness meditation has become mainstream, making its way into schools, corporations, prisons, and government agencies including the U.S. military. Millions of people are receiving tangible benefits from their mindfulness practice: less stress, better concentration, perhaps a little more empathy. Needless to say, this is an important development to be welcomed — but it has a shadow.

        The mindfulness revolution appears to offer a universal panacea for resolving almost every area of daily concern. Recent books on the topic include: Mindful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Mindful Teaching, Mindful Politics, Mindful Therapy, Mindful Leadership, A Mindful Nation, Mindful Recovery, The Power of Mindful Learning, The Mindful Brain, The Mindful Way through Depression, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion. Almost daily, the media cite scientific studies that report the numerous health benefits of mindfulness meditation and how such a simple practice can effect neurological changes in the brain.

        The booming popularity of the mindfulness movement has also turned it into a lucrative cottage industry. Business savvy consultants pushing mindfulness training promise that it will improve work efficiency, reduce absenteeism, and enhance the “soft skills” that are crucial to career success. Some even assert that mindfulness training can act as a “disruptive technology,” reforming even the most dysfunctional companies into kinder, more compassionate and sustainable organizations. So far, however, no empirical studies have been published that support these claims.

        In their branding efforts, proponents of mindfulness training usually preface their programs as being “Buddhist-inspired.” There is a certain cachet and hipness in telling neophytes that mindfulness is a legacy of Buddhism — a tradition famous for its ancient and time-tested meditation methods. But, sometimes in the same breath, consultants often assure their corporate sponsors that their particular brand of mindfulness has relinquished all ties and affiliations to its Buddhist origins.

        Uncoupling mindfulness from its ethical and religious Buddhist context is understandable as an expedient move to make such training a viable product on the open market. But the rush to secularize and commodify mindfulness into a marketable technique may be leading to an unfortunate denaturing of this ancient practice, which was intended for far more than relieving a headache, reducing blood pressure, or helping executives become better focused and more productive.

        While a stripped-down, secularized technique — what some critics are now calling “McMindfulness” — may make it more palatable to the corporate world, decontextualizing mindfulness from its original liberative and transformative purpose, as well as its foundation in social ethics, amounts to a Faustian bargain. Rather than applying mindfulness as a means to awaken individuals and organizations from the unwholesome roots of greed, ill will and delusion, it is usually being refashioned into a banal, therapeutic, self-help technique that can actually reinforce those roots.

        Most scientific and popular accounts circulating in the media have portrayed mindfulness in terms of stress reduction and attention-enhancement. These human performance benefits are heralded as the sine qua non of mindfulness and its major attraction for modern corporations. But mindfulness, as understood and practiced within the Buddhist tradition, is not merely an ethically-neutral technique for reducing stress and improving concentration. Rather, mindfulness is a distinct quality of attention that is dependent upon and influenced by many other factors: the nature of our thoughts, speech and actions; our way of making a living; and our efforts to avoid unwholesome and unskillful behaviors, while developing those that are conducive to wise action, social harmony, and compassion.

        This is why Buddhists differentiate between Right Mindfulness (samma sati) and Wrong Mindfulness (miccha sati). The distinction is not moralistic: the issue is whether the quality of awareness is characterized by wholesome intentions and positive mental qualities that lead to human flourishing and optimal well-being for others as well as oneself.

        According to the Pali Canon (the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha), even a person committing a premeditated and heinous crime can be exercising mindfulness, albeit wrong mindfulness. Clearly, the mindful attention and single-minded concentration of a terrorist, sniper assassin, or white-collar criminal is not the same quality of mindfulness that the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist adepts have developed. Right Mindfulness is guided by intentions and motivations based on self-restraint, wholesome mental states, and ethical behaviors — goals that include but supersede stress reduction and improvements in concentration.

        Another common misconception is that mindfulness meditation is a private, internal affair. Mindfulness is often marketed as a method for personal self-fulfillment, a reprieve from the trials and tribulations of cutthroat corporate life. Such an individualistic and consumer orientation to the practice of mindfulness may be effective for self-preservation and self-advancement, but is essentially impotent for mitigating the causes of collective and organizational distress.

        When mindfulness practice is compartmentalized in this way, the interconnectedness of personal motives is lost. There is a dissociation between one’s own personal transformation and the kind of social and organizational transformation that takes into account the causes and conditions of suffering in the broader environment. Such a colonization of mindfulness also has an instrumentalizing effect, reorienting the practice to the needs of the market, rather than to a critical reflection on the causes of our collective suffering, or social dukkha.

        The Buddha emphasized that his teaching was about understanding and ending dukkha (“suffering” in the broadest sense). So what about the dukkha caused by the ways institutions operate?

        Many corporate advocates argue that transformational change starts with oneself: if one’s mind can become more focused and peaceful, then social and organizational transformation will naturally follow. The problem with this formulation is that today the three unwholesome motivations that Buddhism highlights — greed, ill will, and delusion — are no longer confined to individual minds, but have become institutionalized into forces beyond personal control.

        Up to now, the mindfulness movement has avoided any serious consideration of why stress is so pervasive in modern business institutions. Instead, corporations have jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon because it conveniently shifts the burden onto the individual employee: stress is framed as a personal problem, and mindfulness is offered as just the right medicine to help employees work more efficiently and calmly within toxic environments. Cloaked in an aura of care and humanity, mindfulness is refashioned into a safety valve, as a way to let off steam — a technique for coping with and adapting to the stresses and strains of corporate life.

        The result is an atomized and highly privatized version of mindfulness practice, which is easily coopted and confined to what Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, in their book Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion, describe as an “accommodationist” orientation. Mindfulness training has wide appeal because it has become a trendy method for subduing employee unrest, promoting a tacit acceptance of the status quo, and as an instrumental tool for keeping attention focused on institutional goals.

        In many respects, corporate mindfulness training — with its promise that calmer, less stressed employees will be more productive — has a close family resemblance to now-discredited “human relations” and sensitivity-training movements that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. These training programs were criticized for their manipulative use of counseling techniques, such as “active listening,” deployed as a means for pacifying employees by making them feel that their concerns were heard while existing conditions in the workplace remained unchanged. These methods came to be referred to as “cow psychology,” because contented and docile cows give more milk.

        Bhikkhu Bodhi, an outspoken western Buddhist monk, has warned: “absent a sharp social critique, Buddhist practices could easily be used to justify and stabilize the status quo, becoming a reinforcement of consumer capitalism.” Unfortunately, a more ethical and socially responsible view of mindfulness is now seen by many practitioners as a tangential concern, or as an unnecessary politicizing of one’s personal journey of self-transformation.

        One hopes that the mindfulness movement will not follow the usual trajectory of most corporate fads — unbridled enthusiasm, uncritical acceptance of the status quo, and eventual disillusionment. To become a genuine force for positive personal and social transformation, it must reclaim an ethical framework and aspire to more lofty purposes that take into account the well-being of all living beings.

        • It is always easy to see the dangers of something but how about its benefits? I can see what Loy’s aim is but I would appreciate if he could be as equal open to the tremendous benefit mindfulness can bring even when de-contextualized e.g. treatment of depression, pain and borderline syndrome. The application of mindfulness has pulled out people from “the hell”:

          I would rather say: let “the worldly”* use de-contextualized mindfulness if it helps them, let the spiritual practitioners who follow the Buddha use mindfulness in the context it has been taught, as a tool of liberation and freedom.


          One could turn my argument easy against me, saying: ‘why you don’t apply these thoughts to NKT?’ My answer would be: ‘because the NKT is a utter twisted, misleading system, that in the long run or when you plunge into it will deeply damage you.’ But de-contextualized mindfulness will rather give ease and change things to the better than deeply damaging others. It might not really transform “the worldly” or it might support many of your delusions but so what, people who look for improving Samsara do just that, one can not proselytize then to a deeper meaning. If it helps them in the long and short run, let it do them.

          I think there are also more important spiritual topics then over-focusing the possible dangers of de-contextualized mindfulness. However, it’s still good to have a look on it.

          * who strive to seek happiness in this live and this world and who are mainly focussed possession, material things (the eight worldly Dharmas)

        • I think the point is selling it as a Buddhist technique while de contextualising it from the supporting teachings is disingenuous-you wouldn’t sell a bicycle seat and claim it was a bicycle.v there is also the issue of the NKT claiming to teach pure dharma where this clearly is not and dispensing with the Buddhist framework is pretty much the same thing as selling teachings for money, a real no no from a traditional perspective and certainly not ‘pure’ conduct in any way shape or form
          As long as non Buddhists teach it as a stand alone technique that s fine- they can do as they please but to sell it as a Buddhist technique without the framework sucks- it turns gold into plastic

          • If the motivation to say that MBSR etc. derive from Buddhist techniques is to honour the origin of the technique it would be fine, I think. If the motivation to advertise it as a de-contextualised Buddhist technique is to use the good reputation of Buddhist meditation to sell the product better … [insert your judgement as it pleases]. However, I don’t see this as a major fault. It might be less honourable to not mention the origin at all … All in all it helps a lot of people.

            • The Devils Advocate says:

              Its a great fault, though appearing small because it represents another step in the degeneration and destruction of the Buddhas precious teaching
              Your advice to [insert your judgement as it pleases] could be taken as a devaluation of the human capacity to form moral judgements, something we should never belittle as it is what keeps us from being reborn in hell! There are negative, incorrect judgements and there are positive, correct ones-let us not forget that important distinction!

              • Its a great fault, though appearing small because it represents another step in the degeneration and destruction of the Buddhas precious teaching

                I don’t think so. The degeneration is rather a matter within one’s own continuum. These techniques are not been announced to be Buddhist in nature but to be somewhat core techniques that have been stripped off its “traditional religious context” (or so). Though this wrongly implies that the philosophical background of the technique can be ignored (like in the case of Hinduist Yoga), the skeleton they use is still useful for people who might not find benefit with profound Buddhist teachings.

                With respect to avoiding degeneration, I think, the key point is the study, practice, meditation and understanding & the living example of the Buddha’s teaching. The degeneration does in my opinion not lie too much in the outside but the inside.

                I remember Alex Berzin: when he studied at Harvard University, he came to a point to think: “how sad that these teachings are extinguished”. However, when he met the Dalai Lama he realized: “No, they are very alive!”. So the living example of a realized being is the key point, the true paths in the mind of the Sangha, for the non-degeneration and continuance of the Dharma.

                At least, these are my quick spontaneous thoughts in this context. Maybe I have to reconsider this issue …

                • I don’t see a problem with mindfulness being taught without religion or with them saying it came from Buddha, if it gives people a little happiness then that has to be a good thing. This to me is the main problem with organised religion or gets far too snobby about things and acts like certain things are owned by a faith. I truly believe Buddha wanted us to find our own path i don’t think he would give anyone a hard time for trying to find happiness. We have to start in our worldly place because that’s where we are, we must all start somewhere. I also find criticising NKT for lineage issues isn’t as important as pointing out the abuse they cause and all the hurt they cause that is enough, whether they are teaching the right scripture our not doesn’t seem important and always seems to smack of sectarianism which the NKT are certainly guilty of. I don’t think the Dalai Lama is faultless but he had tried hard to stop sectarianism and that is a very good thing. Mindfulness being taught in office buildings is great even if the fees are not.

              • Your advice to [insert your judgement as it pleases] could be taken as a devaluation of the human capacity to form moral judgements, something we should never belittle as it is what keeps us from being reborn in hell! There are negative, incorrect judgements and there are positive, correct ones-let us not forget that important distinction!

                [insert your judgement as it pleases] I just wrote because I lacked the right phrasing or word what would be fair to say. I didn’t meant that this cannot be criticised. I was thinking of terms like “sneaky”, “tricky” or so but felt they are not really hitting the nail on its head. So I just left it open to insert the right words/phrasing that expresses the criticism well enough.

                I agree with you about the moral judgements. It was not meant as a devaluation …

      • Pema chondron has stated that labelling emotions good or bad is damaging because we identify with those feelings so strongly. Emotions she says are simply human feelings and are perfectly normal, if observed we can get to know them and understand them then accept our mind fully only then can change come. When I first came to the NKT I was very angry, the teachings made me feel so bad about myself for all my anger. My teacher told me I was sick because I had so much anger,I believe he was t right that it was making me physically ill but he and KG only made matters worse by putting pressure on me to get rid of it. When I read pema saying we are human and its ok to feel human emotions I cried,I had never been given permission to feel before. I came from a very abusive childhood and the NKT continued this abuse, they reinforced my low self esteem so that when I left I had more not less anger. They do not help people, they draw in vulnerable people and do great harm then abandon them when they question. KG guarantees if you follow his teachings you will be happy,I guarantee you will not and if I could I’d ask for my money back, money that helped no one. I give to wspa every month now apart from other charities that helps beings,NKT money just sues people and hounds good people.When it falls down I’ll have a party but I will also be there for those who have been left high and dry with no funds, no provision for the future, boo support because I damn well know KG and his minions will not be.

  8. Lineageholder says:

    Wow, I see an unbelievable amount of inaccuracy and projection about NKT teachings and practices Seriously, why are you wasting your time writing about and criticising something you don’t understand? All you can do is mislead people with your misunderstandings. Why don’t you practise your own traditions instead of intellectualising about other people’s traditions? It’s really pointless and just makes you appear angry and sectarian. All the best to you.

    • Can you answer our questions or do you fiddle around answering by throwing judgements on others to escape answering the questions?

      As a former NKT teacher in NKT (General and Foundation Programme Teacher) as well as a practitioner and student of the NKT I think I am able to think, reflect and write about NKT, and I also do think I understand NKT more than NKT understands the Dalai Lama or Tibetan Buddhism ;-)

      Your argument:

      Why don’t you practise your own traditions instead of intellectualising about other people’s traditions? It’s really pointless and just makes you appear angry and sectarian. All the best to you.

      falls back on you considering your campaigning against the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism – with for you are either liars, hypocrites, thieves or just degenerated etc ;-)

      • The Devils Advocate says:

        LH is simply baiting posters; she has no intention of answering [how could she-she doesnt have any answers] She is simply here for reasons of boredom and self-amusement.

      • Lineageholder says:

        I’m not avoiding answering the questions, it’s just that the answers won’t mean anything for you because you’ve decided ‘NKT is bad’ – for example, you just compared it to Scientology! Any answer I give will be viewed with a negative mind and just the basis for creating more negative karma and critical minds. I think you’re wrong to assume that just because you were are a former NKT Teacher that you actually know anything about NKT and what it is now. There’s no doubt that individuals made mistakes in the past and that people have suffered, but that’s what happens in any organisation, especially a new one, and especially in samsara. People have to gradually learn how to act skilfully and they also have to practice and gain experience of the teachings. Don’t expect perfection in samsara! I can understand why you’re quite unforgiving about NKT but it’s better not to cling to the past – things change and move on. I really do wish you the best. We are fellow Buddhists and are aiming for the same goals. I hope you achieve yours.

        • Zopa Dechen says:

          Lineage Holder.

          I found your answer very interesting – it is almost exactly the same as that given to me by a current NKT nun with whom I had a coffee yesterday afternoon. This shows to me that the NKT has ‘given it’s opinion’ on what should be ‘said to the public’ and that people are following the NKT’s advice and telling people what they have been told. In other words, there is no manifest critical faculty shown by NKT members that can analyse reality as is and seriously discuss the ideas at hand concerning the practice (or not) of ‘mindfulness’ in their own group. I would doubt that anyone has read Kabat-Zinn or is in the least informed of what MBCT etc, is.

          I find it very sad that everyone in the NKT says more or less the same thing about everything…that exactly expresses the essence of my concerns…

          • Lineageholder says:

            Sorry friend, this is simply incorrect. We all think our own thoughts and give our own answers. No one owns me or tells me what to think.

            What these responses show is that, in the absence of information about NKT, people make up their own stories, none of which bear any relation to reality.

            • synchronized

              If you are indeed a non-synchronized thinker you could answer the six questions. Is there any reason not to answer them?

              • Lineageholder says:

                Yes, your sarcastic and negative attitude, as witnessed by the above post, is the reason. You’re not open to thinking any differently, sorry. I’d be wasting my time.

                • Yes maybe this time I was a bit sarcastic.
                  If you can answer any question we asked so far this would be highly appreciated.

                • Youve got lots and lots of time to waste explaining why any answer you give would be a waste of your time, and lots too to comment on peoples negativity,, to condemn them then condescendingly wish them ‘all the best’, but you still havent answered a single question-you are trolling, time wasting. Either answer or stop posting You are baiting people, having fun by contemptuously taking the piss and putting them down-yet you still see fit to condemn others for their misguidedness-troll

                  a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,by posting inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.THATS YOU

            • Dear LH, The only thing we are told in the NKT is what to think. In FP and TTP we memorize what to think. When we are asked any question we say what Kelsang Gyatso says. I remember before an exam once saying too my teacher if I can’t remember exactly what Geshe-la says is it ok to write what I think, my teacher looked at me sternly and said no-one is interested in what you think. This sounds up the NKT, all that matters is what KG thinks, no one else matters. Leaving has meant finding out what I really think about things, it was a real shock when I left raising I didn’t know what I really thought about anything. Buddha taught us to know our mind not to know someone else’s.

    • Dear LH, most of the people that comment on the NKT were in it for years, if you really believe we don’t understand the teachings after years that reflects very badly on kelsang gyatso and his teachers. Why don’t you answer one question using your knowledge instead of just making silly comments. In the NKT you learn how only NKT teachings are genuine and all other teachings are inferior and that’s not sectarian? Why do you bother coming when you have nothing to add and no way to clarify anything you say. Is it lack of ability or do you just not want to help other’s understand neither a good reflection on your path.

  9. The Devils Advocate says:

    Not a single point raised was addressed and all we got was vitriolic allegations of sectarianism and inferiority-wasting everyobodys time on purpose

    • You still didn’t answer any of the questions
      If the Nkt is so good, why are centres worldwide filled with ex Nkt- why do so many leave?
      You say we are all Buddhists but you worship a worldly deity for worldly purposes- I do not because that is not a Buddhist way. So we are not both Buddhists – I am a Buddhist, you are not- you are a worshipper of a mundane spirit

  10. Could it be that LH doesn’t answer because she can’t? Could it be that the contradictions are so blindingly obvious, even from the perspective of an insider, that she is just too frightened to even look at these, for fear of it causing her to question her assumed values? Is it once again the case that ignorance is bliss and its simply easier for underlings to assume someo ne else’s values unquestioningly and not exercise critical evaluation? What a quandary , where questioning might lead to the recognition that ones whole forcibly imposed and prefabricated value system is actuall based on another’s human weakness and not the buddhas wisdom.

    • I think LH feels compelled from time to time to oppose what is been said on the blog, which is fine.

      However, LH doesn’t have good arguments in general.
      Actual I banned LH already from the blog but in a way LH gives such a good example of how NKT is in general operating that I approved his/her comments because other wise readers might think we speak of something which doesn’t exist and LH shows rather that the object of our criticism exists and how it can operate …

    Hope the above course is part of the 6 month teacher training.

    • No, I think this teacher is long term NKT. This approach to address “common problems of life” seems to be a method to win new followers.

      I fear to get sarcastic and to repeat myself endlessly, but the final end of this way to attract people into “a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere” is that they are going to learn that they need a “root guru” and that “Geshe-la gives a rare Vajrayogini empowerment … this might be the last in his life”. After that they will learn that “to leave the root guru will lead to a rebirth in the hells and over many life times you won’t find a qualified teacher again”. Also they will learn, that in order to make their practice or meditation successful they need merits. The best way to create merits is to donate your money to the “Three Jewels”=NKT or to work for the “spread of Dharma”=spread of NKT, or “to serve the guru”=become a obedient slave who pays for his own slavery … yes, not to forget, they will also learn how “pure and stainless” NKT is compared to the “degenerated Tibetan Buddhism” and that experience shows that to follow only one Spiritual Guide=Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and only his teachings= KG’s books, and only his protector=Shugden is the best way to attain powerful realiziations. However, if it doesn’t work the way you think, it’s your fault. It only shows: 1) you have too much negative Karma, 2) you lack merits, 3) you have not enough “devotion” to the Spiritual Guide. Therefore work harder (for NKT). On the way they will also learn that HH the Dalai Lama is a “ruthless dictator” who “destroys the Buddhadharma”. However, this won’t be advertised by the NKT in the beginning, that’s why I repeat myself here.

      I fear most people who will be attracted by the NKT through such means as this course about relationships have to learn it the hard way after they were initially seduced into a “comfortable and relaxing atmosphere”.

      • Examination of Bad Conduct

      Deceivers, well-mannered and smooth talking;
      Should not be trusted until scrutinized.
      Peacocks have lovely forms and pleasing calls,
      But their food is extremely poisonous.

      • Commentary: The beautiful, well-groomed appearance of those who deceive others is pleasing simply to behold. One is enchanted upon hearing their suave words.

      But they are not to be trusted until they have been thoroughly investigated; they must be identified as cunning, bad-natured people, always sizing up others.

      The peacock possesses a beautiful rainbow-hued body and a very sweet voice, but its food is a powerful poison found in dangerous, precipitous places.

      Sakya Pandita

      Verse 152 • Ordinary Wisdom • Sakya Pandita’s Treasury of Good Advice • Translated by John T. Davenport • Foreword by His Holiness Sakya Trizin • Wisdom Publications • 2000 • Boston

  12. Hi Tenzin

    You are being German again.

    ‘Hope the above course is part of the 6 month teacher training, attempt at irony.

    Dealing with difficult people?

  13. You don’t even need to complete the teacher training programme either, as I started teaching general programme classes when I had barely started the TTP.

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