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).