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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: whatisacult ()
Date: December 03, 2009 07:53AM

True corboy thank for the ideas & thanks for coming tenzin I was hoping you would come! Corby those ideas are great & very true. Any group that doesnt do that will fail. Karma is definate.

So this is my document so far feel free to add stuff & edit. Its a document for religious ethics with the aim that any group or religion can use it. My idea was we could all compose it together. Ill check its readable for someone inside a group ie someone who wants to stay in but campaign anonymously for change online, and you can write so it makes clear how a group that is not a cult acts. Then we could pass it on to other groups and they can use it too. It just feels theres a lot of new relgious movements out there & when it looks what people are being put through its mostly because theyre going into these classes & groups with no idea of what to check or look for. Myself I saw in the NKT a group of incredibly happy people having some amazing experiences. But that didnt impress me it was the ideas of Buddhism that I wanted & still want. Anyway not to deviate this is the document so far to add to & edit.. what do you think?

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

The religious ethic:

The solution to this is to have a feedback system where the feedback is valued & considered properly & addressed both by the leader & its administrators.

Would this solve it? Lets try an example out. In any religious organisation where celibates are running the show if they have a sex scandal this is damaging so lets apply my solution.

feedback ignored- always someone speaks up in the early stages. By discounting their evidence the person with the hidden scandal will rise in the organisation & later when in a high position it will almost always come to light. At that time a lot of people will be affected. Most people will remember this scandal & think of how the person was hiding it, putting on a clean face. There will then develop 2 groups. The people trying to move on from the scandal & the people exposing it.

feedback listened to- before the person gets power the scandal is told. The person exposing it is LISTENED to & an investigation is done that establishes the truth. The accused clearly understands the catalogue of disasters that will come if they are dishonest & in caring for the repuation of the organisation cooperates with investigation.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

The religious ethic:
Again a feedback system that is not just a token gesture but genuine. Listening to feedback is a great protector of religious groups. If 1 out of 10 people are finding a problem then when you convert 1000 people, 100 of them will have a problem. So it is crucial to solve these problems & address these issues in the early stages.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

The religious ethic (please comment & revise)
Do not take large amounts of money from individuals. Find an ethical way to fundraise that is not this method. Do not lavish the leaders & admins with luxury whilst the new boy grinds away in a servile manner. Do not spend fundraised money on other than you declared it was for.

So the outcome:

Advice ignored: Amongst the entourage of the leader, accountants & admins with time people naturally leave any organisation & a few are unhappy. Those people produce financial information they were privy to that is an embarrassment. All the raised money ends up being spent on defending the group in legal circles. People come away in debt & with a feeling of having being used for their money. Due to their debts they cannot move on as it is a constant reminder so they stay bitter & naturally begin to warn others.

Advice listened to: Although some people may become unhappy in certain circumstances and leave the organisation they will not feel like they were used for their money. They can move on & not have any debts to remind them of the organisation.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

religious ethic (please comment & revise this one really needs input)
do not speak ill of the non believer. They are sponsoring your spiritual life, building your halls of worship. making the clothes you wear & providing a society in which all the things you need are given with ease. They are also supporting your religious freedom. Do not say they are degenerates, lower beings, foolish etc.
Always keep respect gratitude & valuing of the community. Keep good relations with neighbours and the community without any conversion agenda. Do not chastise people who want to read news & go outside & socialise. ( does this go against any traditional way of life?)

feel free to add advice ignored & followed scenario

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

religious ethic (please comment & revise)
Do not coerce or pressure people in any way to convert so they then have to 'leave'. Do not let people take commitments/vows/contracts when they are not ready. People who have converted must be treated well if they choose to leave and not be put under any pressure to stay. They must be as free as a bird. Once they are outside they must continue to be treated well & respected with gratitude for their contribution before they left. If the philosophy is very different from world view then the person should be supported as they go back to their previous world view as it can be disorientating. Even traidtional religions hold a strong view of the world & it is hard to move to a non religious view.

feel free to add advice ignored & followed scenario

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.


7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

Follow the feedback ethic & you dont end up in this situation?

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

Religious ethic(please comment & revise- im far off the mark with this one)
Do not treat new people & visitors different from converts. If you wouldnt do it to a new person dont do it to a convert & vice versa (corboys addition) do not treat rich young able people differently from sick elderly poor people.

Advice ignored:
converts are like slaves whilst new people are lavished & praised. Converts criticised & being judged on their personal life whilst new people are treated with tolerance & respect. Converts come away feeling used & like the love teaching is hypocrisy. This solves many, many problems.

Advice taken:
During the early stages of the organisation using this guideline of measuring converts and new people some inequalities in respect for people & valuing people are noticed. They are corrected & the organisation becomes healthy with people feeling treated well & happy. Then later, when it is bigger there are not big problems. It also prevents convertees getting special treatment because the equality extends to that a new person could be a potential elder in the future & the convertee was one a new person & also a beer drinking hedonistic normal person.

9. The group/leader is always right.

religious ethic (please comment & revise)
As a leader admit your mistakes. We are all on a spiritual journey together & seeing how you overcome problems will help us do the same. Purity is about your intention so if you are open to feedback on how to do things administratively this does not damage peoples faith in you as long as you have a good intention of cherishing & respecting other people both converts & non converts. Do not hide your faults & shortcomings. Do not discourage feedback by showing distress. If you are distressed by information, people who work for you will hide it from you. Do not teach arrogance by chastising people. Because then they will copy you. Do not be distant from your disciples as misunderstandings will develop if people cannot contact you. Do not dictate policy rather ask people for ideas. Of course the teaching cannot be edited but to administrate enforced control of peoples activities & speech leads to rebellion & harm to everybody, yourself, your admins, current members & former members.

feel free to add advice ignored & followed scenario

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible

Religious ethic (this one is a mess lol- suggestions please!)
Do not pressure other sects to follow your methods, each sect has their own way. If another sect is pressuring you then show them this document. The only time to interfere in another sects business is if members of the other sect ask you for help. At that time help in accordance with their wishes if it is ethical. Do not belittle other sects as you do not know if they have secret more advanced instructions that surpass yours. If another sect is being unethical they will culminate many ex followers raising protest. Therefore the issue will automatically be resolved between the sect & its ex members. Therefore there is no need to criticise other sects as nature will take its course. The sect will have to adapt & stop upsetting people. If you think your sect is better than other sects you might be able to say this without it corrupting your heart but when everyone starts copying you & saying it and it becomes the norm what will happen? If your sect is supreme then everything will confirm . blah blah this is too long can anyone help?

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: dz ()
Date: March 23, 2010 08:09AM

Well I'm not going to be very analytical, but I did stay in one of their centers, as they advertised an affordable room for rent, and it was close to work and school so I just figured I'll check it out. It was the same w the other "tenants" and basically we all ended up leaving sick of the ordeal after a while. One of my housemates was a lesbian, and she caught on pretty quick that her sexuality wasn't acceptable to the organization, so she became a good critic.

The foremost thing I remember about NKT was that people weren't supposed to read the books of any other "spiritual guides" or lamas, gurus etc . That was just ridiculous and of course I was reading all sorts of things in that house. So I barely considered myself a student, but then again I was doing the offerings, cleaning the meditation room etc, as part of the responsibilities of living there.

But yeah it was actually kindof pathetic, the person in charge of the center was a recovered alcoholic, and you could tell the person was really quite fragile psychologically, it was as if this persons whole life and existence was dependent on this meditation/teaching gig she had, and anything that challenged that would have probably caused her to crack so I just left her alone. Usually you would expect someone in that position to have a lot of confidence as well as a lot of experience in debating various concepts in Buddhism, but this person's approach was basically that of continuously quoting the books. I have to say it did seem to attract the less intellectual types, some of them really nice people, but I just felt bad for what they had gotten themselves into, I would definitely say it is a cult and definitely say it seeks to exploit people for whatever they will give.

It took awhile for me to see this. I took one trip to Seattle to see GKG, and made some observations. I felt that he didn't appreciate my presence in his meditation halls and I left shortly thereafter. I do think GKG has clairvoyance, (many of the Tibetan masters do) but it seems like he uses it for power and control. Of all the tenants of the center, I was probably the closest to becoming a convert, I was really checking things out, but a lot of things really didn't agree w me, it was like a totalitarian institution.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: itsnotyourfault ()
Date: June 19, 2010 01:09AM

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this group and I've just left NKT after 10 years of involvement. I am writing in response to the original thread. I currently have no affiliaion to any groups, religious,politic or otherwise. I am writing as I have a moral obligation to share the knowledge that I have gained with people who are curious (for whatever reason) about the NKT because I believe people who get involved are at risk of emotional/sexual manipulation/infantilisation.

I have found the teachings given within NKT to be of the highest quality. I have tried them out in meditation and in daily life and found them to be non deceptive. They have been of immense benefit to me. I love meditating and would whole heartedly recommend a regular gentle practice.

I have found many of the practitioners friendly.

However as I have become more and more aware of my own mind through my daily meditation practice I just couldn't get mature answers to many of my questions or enquiries. I could get plenty of quotes from Kelsang Gyatso's books but when I tried to engage on a level of personal experience the subject would be changed quickly. This happened so many times with practitioners of all levels including those with 15 to 25 years of "experience."

I have found that if you want a conversation about the feelings that you unravell as you progress along your daily practice you're unlikely to find the support that you'll require within the NKT. Of course there will be exceptions but I've found them to be very few and far between. I've drawn the conclusion that the NKT is a great place to hang out if you actually want to avoid your feelings and thoughts. It's also a great place to hang out if you want to absolve yourself of responsibility and accountability. That is very likely to be seen as deep faith. I doubt that your avoidance of yourself will ever be challenged as it would in Zen, Insight practice (which also have their own trials and tribulations.)

I have read lots of other internet based pro/anti NKT debates and they try to critique the problems within the NKT from a Philosophical/Historical Buddhist reference point (force of habit I suppose).

I would like to suggest that if you'd like to critique the NKT it would be wisest and most beneficial to start from an abuse reference point and check for signs of it. There are lots of resources on the web that expain, the "Abuse Cycle", tools and techniques that abusers use. If you think you might be in an abusive relationship within the NKT I would recommend suspending judgement, educate yourself on aspects/methods/techniques used to abuse and then carefully check for yourself. By the way the spiritual path and counselling are in my experience very compatible and enhance each other. Also NKT isn't the only way, there are lots of people who have left NKT and successfully continued along their path.

Abuse methods, techniques and tools are not difficult to spot once you know about them. Knowledge of these things strips the power from abusers.

A basic litmus test is this "Does this person respect and value my thoughts, feelings and boundaries?" If the answer is a firm No then you've potentially just taken te first step to recovery, the second step is getting a support network that you trust. Abusers rarely change, only carry out interventions with great care and expert guidance.

An example of this is that when someone gives personal information of how they have been damaged by the NKT there is usually a flurry of NKT'ers ready to say that there are good things about NKT and that they are very happy in it. Of course, that's fine. But if you critique this from an abuse point of view the first persons thoughts/feelings and boundaries are not being respected.

The NKT have a right to reply but the context here is crucial. Please NKt'ers, how do you think the person feels when you do that. They are trying to heal. Try asking them more, listen and find out about that person, look for patterns that crop up time and time gain all over the web (963 people on NKT Survivors group.) realize that you may have been groomed to carry out "abuse by proxy" and other abuse techniques here, it's the context that's key. "Abuse by Proxy" look it up and check for yourself, there's lots of it about. NKT will improve naturally in leaps and bounds if you listen more and defend less, it might just be fun too.

I know from my own experience that minds associated with abuse such as denial, self doubt, self loathing etc can be very subtle so don't be quick to judge yourself or others. Take your time (on both sides of the fence) and be prepared to allow those minds to surface for you, then there will be less ignorance on both sides.

If I set up a Charity and there were 963 people on a survivors group relating to me (Kelsang Gyatso) I would be absolutely horrified.

Kelsang Gyatso you have a moral responsibility to listen to each one of these people and apologise to each of them as appropriate. We have been damaged by the culture that you have created in the institution that you have created and you are therefore ultimately accountable and responsible for this. If you have genuine humility you will have no hesitation in posting an apology on the NKT Survivors website noting very clearly and specificaly all of the mistakes that you have made in relation to your kind mothers who have sought refuge in your Sangha community. There is an opportunity to set an example of accountability for your actions.

Leader is perfect...leader admits mistake...disciples lose faith. Only I think, if it was blind faith in the first place. I think my faith would increase if I saw my guru sincerely apologise, that would be a beautiful example of humility.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder don't necessarliy crave wealth and resources but they do crave submission and total obediance, when they get that you are a deemed a friend, when they are challenged/questioned in the slightest they deem you trouble. They also never apologise to the people they harm and to them there behaviour is always justified. Again check for yourself, are you involved with anyone like this. There are great books on this such as "Walking On Eggshells" and several others.

If you are curious about the NKT I really wouldn't recommend it at the moment but there are small signs of reform so I'll keep an open mind for the future. Unfortunately it's going to be tough for them with so many people already "groomed" to play out their historic culture, it'll be down to the good guys(and I know there are some), who may ultimately split away to enable reform. it's books are great but to my great sadness over the years it's become a watering hole for abusers. It's an enticing hole because the water really does taste nice (the books and courses.)

If you are in the NKT already and have doubts about your treatment then I'd recommend becoming knowledgable about abuse and checking for yourself. I think it's a good health check for anyone, especially someone taking responsibility for their own destiny!

NKT'ers I know you like to reply but before you do I'd be grateful if you would contemplate for a while what your next step would be if you set up a charity and then found an abuse support group linked to it with 963 ex members all hurting suffering like me from some anger and bitterness. What would you do? Besides Kelsang Gyatso, who else do you admire greatly, what would they do in that position?

I know that things aren't black and white and that there is also kindness, compassion and love abound.

Lastly I apologise to those of you who were affected unduly by some of my actions in NKT. For a time I was "groomed" and looking back I gave some teachings that included some of the brainwashing lines that many of us are very familiar with. For that I am regrettful and very sorry.

"You can search the whole universe for someone who is more deserving of your love than yourself and you will find no-one."

Love and best wishes

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: overthetop ()
Date: July 05, 2010 08:56AM

I haven't finished reading this whole thread yet, because I happen to still be engrossed with the Former SGI member thread concurrently.
After discovering this forum and quickly becoming disillusioned with the SGI, I determined to try to find another school of Buddhism. Well, I was hoping that perhaps I had found something that I could follow after checking out the NKT center in my town. Wow! I was led back to this link through one of the posters over at the SGI thread...


I couldn't help but notice that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso appears on this list of controversial Buddhist teachers.

I am seriously stunned. I am so saddened right now.
Looking for an alternative to the SGI, and now I feel lost again...and I will admit, becoming afraid to continue my spiritual practice...

I went to a couple events at the NKT center here in my town. In comparison to my SGI experience, this was incredibly low-pressure.
Needless to say, I'm having lots of second thoughts about the NKT after doing some internet searches. I don't want to end up as a "survivor" of any Buddhist tradition...

After reading several people's stories about their experiences in the NKT, I feel like it's all so similar to the SGI (but quite a bit milder.)

I seriously feel so sad and lost right now. Is there anyone else out there that can share objectively in their experiences with the NKT? I would be interested in hearing more personal stories....

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Tenzin Peljor ()
Date: July 05, 2010 08:00PM

I am seriously stunned. I am so saddened right now.
Looking for an alternative to the SGI, and now I feel lost again...and I will admit, becoming afraid to continue my spiritual practice...

I went to a couple events at the NKT center here in my town. In comparison to my SGI experience, this was incredibly low-pressure.
Needless to say, I'm having lots of second thoughts about the NKT after doing some internet searches. I don't want to end up as a "survivor" of any Buddhist tradition...

After reading several people's stories about their experiences in the NKT, I feel like it's all so similar to the SGI (but quite a bit milder.)

I seriously feel so sad and lost right now. Is there anyone else out there that can share objectively in their experiences with the NKT? I would be interested in hearing more personal stories....

You feel sad and lost right now.
This is understandable, I think.

You may have placed your hope into something and now you realize it might be unreliable.

To feel sad about this may be a normal emotional response.

On the other hand, from a long term perspective, you could also feel some relief or joy. Because what actually saddens you may be a great help for your own spiritual journey because it might protect you from getting totally confused and lost by following a misleading teacher or misleading path.

Actually there is rather the danger to follow another "cult" (or group with too many destructive patterns) after one left one because either the Karma of following misleading teachers is not exhausted (from Buddhist pov) or the underlying patterns for the spiritual search (e.g. looking for a ersatz-family or easy-understandable Buddhism, easy Buddhist practice, charismatic / convincing teachers etc) are not recognized yet (from psychology pov). This is rather typically.

In my own case I was in two Buddhist cults and was almost following the third cult by developing faith in Geshe Michael Roach! Happily I was warned by Alex Berzin who was the only one speaking about Roach openly when nobody did. When he expressed his concerns I felt disappointed like someone is destroying all my hopes. But the point is: these are fake hopes. To put (blind) faith or hope in misleading or gone astray teachers is only self-destructive. So I would like to suggest to see it positive: someone is protecting you from following the next misleading path or misleading teacher. Personally after having survived my former cults I am extremely happy to have been warned by A. Berzin. To open up for a third spiritual teacher and being again misled, I think finally I may have commited suicide... It is extremely hard to recover from faith that has been abused.... (Please NKT refrain to put personal notes on "your name and shame" website and twist personal things as it suits you.)

With respect to NKT: they are extremely skillful to attract new members. One of the keys how it is suggested to precede with new members was expressed in a broshure of the TTP it said:

"Be very careful not to give the impression it is a recruitment drive We need to come over as really quite ordinary and quite matter-of-fact at the beginning... We should not worry about converting people at the beginning... To start with we need to agree with people, to show that we understand where they are at, not to resist them or argue with them. If we have a wild horse, the best way to tame it is to mount it, to go with it."

New members are usually "smiled to death"—I call it that way—what means, the new members are welcomed by giving them a lot of attention and comfort, a lot of smiles etc. This meets with the lack of love and attention many experience in our western society with its lack of healthy families whose members stand in for each other. In cult language this "smiling to death" is called "love bombing". It feels extremely good, doesn't it?
But once one is a member of the "cult" it is expected to work hard and over the top of one's limits. The kindness of the beginning will never be given later though one desires for it. Hence even long term members and devotees were often left alone when they got seriously sick or seriously problems (them is told then rather coldly: this is your karma (this means: it is your own fault, I do not like to get involved) or this is your lack of merit (which means: work harder for the organisation).* Hence it is better someone destroys your illusions and it would be also good to understand what you actually are looking for from a Dharma pov and a psychology pov.

Also the pov of itsnotyourfault would be good to consider. Especially I agree with the lack of respecting boundaries and the narcistic personal disorder issue.

It may be good to note that Kelsang Gyatso only blames others be it the Dalai Lama, former disciples, his successors, other teachers, and the complete Gelug tradition and monastics, as well as Buddhist head organisations. About himself he has publicly spoken that "I have done no fault" "We have done not anything wrong". The NKT mainwebsite calls the criticism "accusation against the innocent". An acknowledged academic researcher and his work (published by Routledge) has been portrayed by NKT as "heavily biased" and as a "disgruntled ex-member". Kelsang Gyatso's understanding of democracy he expressed in that way "I. I am the NKT".

For hearing or reading more personal stories you may enter the New Kadampa Survivors: []
Here are 2 reports: []

Very best and—most of all—take time, relax and check carefull.y!
I wish you a good start and good spiritual friends and genuine teachers for your spiritual path,
* its a bit more complex and there are varieties but all in all this is a well recognized pattern of ex-NKT-members

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/05/2010 08:10PM by Tenzin Peljor.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: overthetop ()
Date: July 05, 2010 11:57PM

Thanks for the response.
I am currently in the process of leaving the SGI, and I am vary wary of getting heavily involved in any other cult-like group.
After doing some objective research of NKT, I feel a great amount of trepidation. Unfortunately, I believe that the fear I'm experiencing right now will definately impede any spiritual progress I hope to make at this point.

I guess I feel so lost and sad because I feel this deep need to find some sort of spiritual path and I feel like I keep bumping
into these groups that don't have my best interests at heart.

I have always been afraid of religions, but I have reached a point in my life where I am longing for spirituality.
It's a need that has been unfulfilled throughout my life and something I am determined to find...

You're right, maybe it's a good thing that I have been thwarted from joining this group, and I will have to continue my search.

I haven't yet become heavily involved with the NKT, but was leaning towards that path.
I am so very thankful that I can make an objective decision and trust myself. I think I will find my way, even if it takes
a while...

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Tenzin Peljor ()
Date: July 06, 2010 02:23AM

Lets try to focus on the underlying emotions. I get from your post that there is fear, that there is longing for a true spiritual path and spirituality.
Taking the latter emotion first: the stronger the longing for a spiritual path the more one may be open for all those (exaggerated and unrealistic) promises usually made by "cults". Also those groups promise an easy path. All what they say may sound very good and it might well meets one's own desires. But the problem is here: for a true authentic spiritual path which is according to one's own predispositions and aims, one needs some effort and hardship and time to find it. Like it won't be easy if one has a certain type of cancer to find a good treatment and doctor and one has to investigate this matter carefully, so it is with genuine spiritual paths and genuine teachers. This needs time, investigation etc. There are many known spiritual masters or practitioner who didn't find the correct path and teachers in the beginning and adjusted it. Also the Buddha followed in the beginning certain Hindu Teachers and left them when he recognized it does not lead him where he wants to go. Angulimala was misled by his own teacher and became a serial killer! So the spiritual path includes hardships, suffering, errors, self-corrections. But the cults usually promise: with us you are secure, only follow us, then everything will be fine (meaning no need to doubt, to struggle or to have hardships etc.) And exactly this is unrealistic and meets the desire for an easy, quick and secure path. Ha ha life is a bit different to this ;-)

I like to quote in such context Bhikhsu Bodhi:
Bhikkhu Bodhi
The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the hard tacks of pain, disappointment, and confusion. However, for suffering to give birth to a genuine spiritual search, it must amount to more than something passively received from without. It has to trigger an inner realization, a perception which pierces through the facile complacency of our usual encounter with the world to glimpse the insecurity perpetually gaping underfoot. When this insight dawns, even if only momentarily, it can precipitate a profound personal crisis. It overturns accustomed goals and values, mocks our routine preoccupations, leaves old enjoyments stubbornly unsatisfying.

At first such changes generally are not welcome. We try to deny our vision and to smother our doubts; we struggle to drive away the discontent with new pursuits. But the flame of inquiry, once lit, continues to burn, and if we do not let ourselves be swept away by superficial readjustments or slouch back into a patched up version of our natural optimism, eventually the original glimmering of insight will again flare up, again confront us with our essential plight. It is precisely at that point, with all escape routes blocked, that we are ready to seek a way to bring our disquietude to an end. No longer can we continue to drift complacently through life, driven blindly by our hunger for sense pleasures and by the pressure of prevailing social norms. A deeper reality beckons us; we have heard the call of a more stable, more authentic happiness, and until we arrive at our destination we cannot rest content.

This is far more realistic than the cult's promises like "enlightenment in a arm chair" or the fulfillment of all wishes by just reciting mantras.
The path is not easy because the mind is tricky.

So I think it would be better to relax the longing for "a spiritual path here and now" and to think: I am on the path, its a part of my path to check the paths carefully. The better I invest time, energy and money in this the more I can later be sure that I didn't invest wrongly in something which it does not deserve.

There is another issue here: real change of oneself comes only very slowly , for a real change of the mind one needs patience and time, compassion with oneself. Usually the cults promise the "quickest and purest path" - another illusion, I think.

So the longing may be based on unrealistic expectations. If the unrealistic expectations are cut through and one becomes more realistic, the strong longing might relax and ease enters the heart, though there is still the wish but not so much any more that one is carried away by it—or even utter blinded by it.

To sum this point: Alex Berzin said to me: "Relax! Look what you have right now, work with this and then things come naturally at hand. Don't be so fanactical!"
All my new teachers advised: Relax!

This is an important point I think.

Now with respect to the fear. First of all cults are known to manipulate feelings of fear and guilt. Personally I think the very first step is to just accept the fear. Look there is fear in my mind, there is sadness, watch it! Accept these feelings as your teacher, they teach you something. Just being mindful aware of feelings on the basis of accepting them and not to reject them, is a great and powerful practice. There are many teachings on this but the key is: to stop to fight those feelings and to stop to label them as being only bad, rather accepting, welcoming and using them. The Mahamudra Tradition as well as the Theravada have a lot of helpful practices with this.

So my honest suggestion would be: take time, don't harry, relax, look a bit here and there, and if fear overcomes you, use the energy or despair to ask the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help you to find a good path and good teachers. Make prayers and dedications that this may be fulfilled this is better than just feeling lost and doing nothing.

Maybe all of this is quite stupid then please just ignore it.
All the best, t

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2010 02:27AM by Tenzin Peljor.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: overthetop ()
Date: July 06, 2010 10:26PM

No, none of this is stupid.

In fact, I appreciate your insight as a person who apparently gets sucked into these cults rather easily.

In a way, I feel that it was all in my best interest, though, as now I see it as just a part of my search for the truth.

Now I know which direction NOT to look!

I appreciate your help very much. I also appreciate this forum very much.
Thanks to all of you who shared your insight.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: whatisacult ()
Date: July 11, 2010 05:48AM

Hi all

Im still in the NKT & feel a huge range of emotions. I believed when I moved into a centre I would be happy. And I was incredibly. But other people its not working for them! So I wrote this long document & sent it to the NKt office. I was told it would be looked at . But 12 months later Im seeing that my letter made no difference. My local centre is bordering on closing because the admin director boots so many people out. I went to speak to a man who had been asked to leave. In his room is one of the most beautiful & extensive shrines to Geshe Kelsang I have ever seen with pictures of Trijang etc. He was on the foundation programme. All he had done is said that he didnt agree with or like the way the admin director was doing a few things and didnt think he was the right man for the job. Its like judging someone spiritually because they disagree with you on how to run a computer. Its a computer for gods sake its not the Dharma. Now his relations with the community are cut, he can no longer attend fp. He is obviously very devoted & a good student. And even now hes trying to practice patience. Years ago people would be booted out if they did something extreme like eating meat on site, lots heavy petting in public with monks & nuns around. But now the good people who wouldnt dream of doing such things are being attacked. It just seems like you have to sit back & maintain a dignified silence whilst some executive type person drives your centre to closing down and destroys the lives of devoted loyal people. Noone is even allowed to defend the centre. So the internal rules dont work because the rules that are made to protect a centre from bad management cant actually be applied. As soon as someone reports anything to the NKT office they will most likely be removed from the centre for being a troublemaker. There is no accountability, no appeal procedure.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: itsnotyourfault ()
Date: July 13, 2010 07:12PM

Hi whatisacult and everyone,

I think it's healthy to ask the following questions regularly to check for an institutionalised mind, something cults very successfully and very quickly instill. Lodro (former NKT monk) once said to me "look we are not a cult, you are free to leave at any time." It's not a locked door that keeps us there it's the brainwashing messages repeated over and over again that "this is as good as it gets, you won't find what you need elsewhere. Often this message is inferred, which is even more powerful as we consider that we have come to the answer "cleanly" ourselves.

So here are some questions, I hope they help..

1) Do I think it's possible to meet my needs from outside of the NKT?
2) Have I checked thoroughly if this is true? What's stopping me?
3) What if I find out that NKT is the only place that can meet my needs and yet I know deep down that it is a disfunctional family?

I was so scared of getting to No.3) that for years I didn't check even though I knew deep down that I should. That's institutionalisation and unfortunately it works far better than a locked door. "Better the Devil you know!"

I know from my own experience that there are other options besides the NKT, many people have left the NKT and found healthy supportive groups or decided after finding these groups to practice by themselves for a while.

It's great that you shared that you didn't get a response from the NKT office, it's valuable evidence for others in their healing. We weren't the only ones who were given no healthy dialogue when the sheen started to wear off.

As well as asking "What is a cult" you might ask "Are my thoughts and feelings valued and respected when I search for truths that don't fit in with the "message", am I encouraged to continue with these enquiries with the support of those in authority?"

To get out of an institutionalised state of mind we ultimately have to trust ourselves, no mean feat for many of us with low self worth/low self esteem, many people in NKT have previously been abused,mistreated prior to joining.

Whilst in NKT I had low self worth, with the help of a Counsellor I addresses many issues including personal boundaries and trusting myself (oh yes and learning to cherish myself), then when I was able to trust myself enough to consider searching beyond the NKT I started to lighten my heart and also accept the fear. Since then my meditation has grown deeper and richer and I can see that NKT was part of my path.

I hope that this is of some benefit to those who come across it and thank you to Tenzin Peljor for your boldness.

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