In a new testimony Ivy describes the experience of getting gradually been pulled into the NKT exactly as most of us experienced it:
I was in the NKT for 5 years. My initial year there was incredible. Everyone was so kind and seemed so happy. I stayed on the outskirts for a while, only going to GP classes once a week or a puja here or there. I was befriended on Facebook by practically everyone within a few weeks. Each time I went to the center I was bombarded with attention by nuns and starry-eyed students, which made me feel extremely welcome. Eventually one nun started asking me if I wanted to build merit by cleaning the bathrooms at the center once a week. It took me about a year to work my way into the “inner circle” of the center this way. I began volunteering for reception shifts, helping in the bookshop, doing flower offerings, cooking meals, assisting the teacher in his branch classes, and of course, cleaning the bathrooms. I became close friends with some of the more senior members of the center and soon began considering moving in to the center myself, and perhaps even ordaining …
Ivy’s story ends similar as the story ended for those who had the integrity and courage to leave the NKT and who want now to inform the broader public about the NKT in order to protect others from the damage the NKT is inflicting on their followers in the long run:
With a heavy heart, I quietly stopped going to the center. No one ever contacted me to see where I went or what happened, even though I’d been very close friends with them for 5 years. They all unfriended me from Facebook after I posted a picture of the Dalai Lama with a quote about kindness. It took me years to come to grips with the fact that I was in a cult. My entire life was built up and then shattered. I’ve been going to therapy ever since but I still am very distrustful of people, particularly dharma teachers. I haven’t been able to meditate because every time I sit my mind is flooded with memories. The NKT is an extremely dangerous organization that has ruined the lives of a lot of genuine spiritual practitioners. I hope that anyone reading my story will think twice about joining their ranks.
Thank you Ivy and all those who started to speak up!
More NKT survivors’ testimonies
- Experience made by Lynne (New Kadampa Survivor Actvists FB Group)
- Experience made by Gillian (New Kadampa Survivor Actvists FB Group)
- For list of testimonies see: Experiences with the New Kadampa Tradition and Kelsang Gyatso 2011/01/07
Header image: © Mark Peters | Kadampa Fall Festival 2006 | Gen Kelsang Atisha leads a discussion with Maryland students | CC BY 2.0