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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Atisha's cook ()
Date: October 05, 2008 04:36AM

hi -

i'm an NKT practitioner. my own experience has been positive, and i've always been encouraged to think for myself and specifically to avoid developing cultish mentalities. i do understand that not everyone's been so fortunate, and that those who've had bad experiences may very well benefit from support. i know that the nktsurvivors group won't allow any of its ex-NKT members to share any of their positive experience, though, and that seems somewhat unbalanced. Tenzin Peljor and Dave Cutshaw both make no secret of their desire to destroy NKT, rather than to help and encourage NKT practitioners to create a better, more open and accountable spiritual tradition, which is the motivation of many ex-NKT and NKT folk alike. as has been remarked above, quite a lot of beneficial steps have been taken and changes made, such as the introduction of the Internal Rules. i would think that a characteristic of a cult would be an unwillingness to accept criticism or to re-evaluate its methods and practices, but i don't see this (from my pov at least!) in NKT. unfortunately, i do see quite a lot of manipulation of vulnerable people by the likes of Cutshaw in order to accomplish personal vendettas. i wish that nktsurvivors was more about supporting and helping its members, rather than encouraging negativity and victimhood.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Jimmy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 05:05AM

Thanks for posting my comment. Yes, I am a member of the NKT. Does this disqualify me for joining in the thread here? I don't intend to post much, I've sort of said my bit, but it would be nice still to have the opportunity to defend the NKT if it comes to it as this is a Cult Education Forum and if there are no supportive messages on here for the NKT, people will assume we belong on your cult listing.

I know the NKT is not a cult. When I go through all the characteristics of a cult, I honestly cannot find one that fits the NKT. My non-Buddhist parents, relatives and friends, bemused by the criticism that has arisen as a result of the opposition to the Dalai Lama, have also scoured the negative messages on the web and said that they have never seen anything remotely cult-like about my behavior and that of my friends -- and over the decades these same non-Buddhist parents and friends have met hundreds of NKT people and attended festivals and stayed at various NKT Centers in different countries. I could tell you many stories like this. I could put you in touch with my parents and others if it would help.

I seriously think that perceptions of cult-like behaviour are exaggerated due to the NKT joining in protests against the Dalai Lama, therefore starting off on the wrong footing, as it were. If the NKT had never opposed the Dalai Lama, I very much doubt we would have ever incurred a bad reputation (of course we would have had our critics, everyone has critics; but nothing like to the extent on the Internet today). Calling the Dalai Lama out on this feels to people like we're shooting Bambi -- to come up against the Dalai Lama must mean you yourself are evil. I don't buy into that. I think it is reasonable to oppose the Dalai Lama on this repressive ban of Dorje Shugden, regardless of his reputation as a champion of peace. It does not invalidate the NKT teachings, nor make the practitioners in the NKT members of a cult. It does not make us Chinese sympathizers or traitors against the cause of Tibet.

Anyway, as I said, I don't intend to post much here, but thank you for the opportunity to say what i have said.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Jimmy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 05:32AM

Sorry, me again.

Just saw an article written by a non-NKT and non-Shugden Tibetan woman, that in a way sheds light on the problem and what the NKT are up against:


Now i'll shut up and go away ;-)

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 07:43AM

I decided to wait and see what would unfold on the message board.

No one seems to have been willing to reply to Mr. Ross's inquiry--are you members of NKT and capable of discussing it--or allowing others to discuss NKT from a perspective outside itself.

Some may chirp, 'This is a violation of right speech.'

In my opinion, it is right speech to state 'there exists a variety of perspectives and here are the relevant URL' if there is a group that has already generated controversy and about which other persons formerly in that group have chosen to discuss it.

Stating that information exists from a variety of perspectives makes it possible for new practitioners like Judy and others to read this for themselves and then decide for themselves, and do so shielded by anonymity--and do it early in her involvement with NKT, so that if she decides to leave, she can do so before getting too painfully entangled.

Here is a message I already sent to Judy by Private Message early this morning (October 4th) at about 7 am PST, October 4th, Saturday. Judy, I hope you got this. Be well.

Dear Judy:

If others show up to yell and scream if this is to be posted publicly for you and others to read, you will be able to see that you risk having your practice compromised by stepping into a group that may have concealed from you that it is in a position of discord and isolation in relation to much of the Tibetan Buddhist community.

It is very difficult, even for a seasoned practitioner, to settle the mind when in group or dharma center that has put itself in a situation of discord.

This is something you should have been told about from the start.

I remember visiting a friend's house. His wife told me that their nephew might come visiting later in the day and that he was mentally unstable. She told me this immediately, as soon as I arrived, so I would not be unprepared or suprised if the man showed up and behaved oddly.

It hurt my friend's wife to say this, but she wanted me to know the full facts, so I would not be caught off guard. That refusal to keep a secret and her not witholding information is honesty and that is compassion. And its a sterling example of right speech.

Therefore, anyone thinking of joining any group that calls itself Buddhist, should be told the full history and loyalties of the group.

A new member deserves to know if this group has the social history needed to create the necessary conditions to support practice. Therefore, offering a person information about the history of a group from a variety of perspecties is right speech. Dont let anyone try to shame you otherwise.

if I recall, the NKT is at odds with the Dalai Lama
over a dispute concerning a protector deity. The DL once followed this practice, then later decided it was harmful and repudiated
this devotional practice.

Gyatso and what became of the NKT
clung to this practice, and their stance toward the DL became

You may not have been told about this.

You probably met some lovely, nice people. They themselves may not know
all the details. And as a prospective new member, the outreach people at NKT may well be putting thier best foot forward.

Here some things to read



Google new kadampa tradition in the exact phrase slot, try putting 'Dalai Lama' then substitute 'shugden' then substitute 'deceit', and see what you get.

A reason to look into this is that the foundation of all Buddhist
practice, no matter what the tradition, is to investigate one's
own entrapment in the afflictive mind states of greed, hate
and delusion.

If you join a group that withholds this from a newcomer, its pattern of
discord with those who do not share its beliefs, you may risk
being pulled into what could be called a family quarrel, and
your own practice could be compromised by getting entangled
in the afflictive mind states that are part of the NKT itself.

In short, here you are, wanting to learn Buddhadharma and without
knowing it, being in the NKT could risk making you cannon fodder
in a doctrinal dispute that is part of a turf battle.

Before you get further into Tibetan Buddhism, I urge you to get and
read a book by Alexander Berzin, entitled

Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship Snow Lion Publications

Some excerpts are here, and the rest of the website is great.



there is a fine discussion venue called e-sanga


Final Thoughts on Right Speech

Some may declare that even to mention this in public is a violation of right speech.

Dont be intimidated by this. If discord already exists, it is honesty and right speech to mention that discord exists and supply information so people can read for themselves. If controversy exists and this is withheld from a new member who could later be affected by that controversy, in my opinion, it is dishonest, and a lie by omission to withhold such information.

Its common to say 'Oh, a beginner cannot understand the issues, but later on she will, so dont tell her just yet'. All too often later on, you have friends in the group, maybe you have taken up residential practice or become a monastic, or dedicated some substantial time or money. All of this makes it hard to leave.

Two, if some meditation practices are wrongly taught to you, they will not deepen your discernment, but might lead you into trance, which would compromise your capacity to achieve genuine and penetrating insight--vipashnaya--which is CHERISHED in Buddhist practice.

A controversy ridden group such as NKT also is apt to isolate itself in relation to other Buddhist communities. THis is not healthy, generates afflictive mind states that compromise practice. Anger and secrecy drain vitality away from one's life and constrict one's mind and heart--never a good thing.

Again, you dont have to agree with any of this, but its here for you as a library to consult and then form your own stance.

C (PS I practice in a non Tibetan Buddhist tradition that has no stake whatever in this matter. )

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2008 07:58AM by corboy.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 08:16AM

This is an old message but it illustrates a difference between two irreconciliable perspectives--whether one puts total faith in one's guru as an emanation of Buddha, leaving no perspective outside of the guru-student relationship one can turn to if that relationship begins to go wrong, or was corrupt from the start because the guru with-held information from the student about the guru's own controversial past.

The other perspective is to make the guru and the guru-student relationship both accountable to the Buddhist ethical precepts. That way, if the relationship seems to go off kilter, there IS an outside perspective the student can turn to by which to evaluate the relationship--which is the perspective recommended by Alexander Berzin and the Dalai Lama.

This essay was posted in relation to the Shugden controversy which is part of the background of NKT.

Guru is Ultimate/Total Blind Faith vs Guru Is Evaluated According to and is Accountable to Bodhsattva Ethics




From Wed Jul 24 19:37:11 1996
From: nagasiva
Subject: hhdldrjshgn.txt
To: (Ceci Henningsson)
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 10:35:03 -0700 (PDT)
Orientation: House of Kaos, St. Joseph, Kali Fornika, US -- Kali Yuga
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4 PL24]
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

(This seems to sum up the NKT stance, as of 1996) C

[compilation: His Holiness Dalai Lama, Root Gurus and Dorje Shugjen]

Subject: Dalai Lama and Root Guru (was Guru and Protector are one)
Date: 27 Jun 1996 11:56:05 -0700

[from alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan: Within the Mahayana Tradition of Buddhism practitioners are encouraged to view their Spiritual Guide as a Buddha.

This is clearly explained in the lamrim teachings of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa. Four correct reasons are given establishing that one's Guru is a Buddha. By contemplating these reasons the practitoner gains conviction that their Spiritual Guide is a Buddha and offers actions of service and devotion, which include:

1. Offering actions of physical or verbal respect
2. Offering material things
3. Offering service
4. Offering our own practice of Dharma

Of these four, offering our own practice of Dharma is the most pleasing to
our Spiritual Guide.

Also, within the Kadampa Tradition as taught by Trijang Rinpoche
practitioners are encouraged to view their Spiritual Guide, Yidam (Tantric
Deity) and Dharma Protector as one. All three are regarded as different
aspects of the same holy being. The present Dalai Lama received this
spiritual tradition from his root Guru, the late Trijang Rinpoche. This
understanding enables us to gain a clearer understanding of the praise the
Dalai Lama wrote in 1959 to his Protector at the time, Dorje Shugden:

"In summary, I request you O Protector,
Who are the synthesis of all Protectors, Yidams, and Gurus,
Please be the embodiment of all my Protectors, Yidams and Gurus,
And please send down a rain from the great gathering of clouds of the four
aspects of deeds to fulfil the two accomplishments."

The Dalai Lama at this time regarded Dorje Shugden as the synthesis of his Dharma Protectors, Yidams and Gurus and relied on him accordingly.

In other words he regarded Dorje Shugden as the same nature as his Yidams and Gurus. An enlightened being who had many different aspects - sometimes manifesting as his Gurus, sometimes manifesting as his Tantric Yidams and sometimes manifesting as his wrathful Protector. We can understand this by contemplating the analogy of a diamond, the most precious of jewels.

A diamond has many different aspects depending on how it is cut and how the light is shining on it. But from all angles we are still looking at the
same precious stone, just looking at different aspects. In the same way
one regards one's Guru, Yidam and Protector to be the same enlightened
being just manifesting in different aspects to perform different

If this is the case how can it be argued that in abandoning one's
Protector one is not also abandoning one's Guru?

If you regard your Guru as an emantion of Buddha who is the same nature as your Protector, then in abandoning one you are abandoning the other.

To hold otherwise would belike saying in all respects my Guru is a Buddha and is to be relied upon, but with respect to his Protector aspect he is a worldly being and is not to be relied upon.

From the point of view of being my Guru he is a Buddha,
from the point of view of being my Tantric Yidam he is a Buddha, but from
the point of view of being my Protector he is an evil spirit! This is
completely illogical! It would be like saying from all aspects this is a
beautiful diamond, except if you look at it from underneath it is a dirty
piece of coal. Either it is a diamond or it is a piece of coal. Either one
regards one's Guru as an enlightened being or not. One cannot
simultaneously regard the same being as both a Buddha and an evil spirit.
From this it is clear that the Dalai Lama has parted ways with his root
Guru. Trijang Rinpoche until his death propagated the practise of Dorje
Shugden, encouraging all his disciples to rely upon this holy being as an
emantion of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri, and as a synthesis of their Guru, Yidam and Protector.

The Dalai Lama has not just chosen to not follow this
advice, but has said that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit and that relying
upon him is like putting a noose around your neck. He has banned the
practice on the grounds that it is bad for his health and the cause of
Tibet, and the Tibetan government in exile under his auspices has
vigorously pursued this ban.

He is doing everything in his power to stop people from engaging in this practice and is therefore acting directly against his Guru's words. He is doing everything in his power to denigrate this Deity and is therefore destroying the lineage of his Spiritual Guide.

Of course the Dalai Lama has freedom to choose whether he follows his
Spiritual Guide or not, but please do not argue that in destroying the
tradition of Trijang Rinpoche he is not abandoning his Root Guru.


A Reply--Ethics Come First/Guru accountable to Bodhisattava Precepts (Corboy--edited)
Subject: The ethical quandry in Tantric relationships
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 19:45:09 +0000

Assuming all of that is true (which I am not going to
read or verify in detail) it is just raising the stakes
of how hard a decision it must have been for HHDL.

Even if he had a less tight binding or a released binding, it
would have been a hard decision. But all that sets the
stage for the real ethical (a la the Bodhisattva Ideal)
quandry involved, which is the highly charged fuel for
all of this.

In the Guru/protector/disciple relationship there seem
to be two schools of thought.

Since we are talking about a stance that sees unity of protector and Guru and Buddha, I will simplify to just guru for now.

The total blind faith school:

1) The Guru is always right.

2) If you think the Guru is wrong, see number 1.
If you have total, perfect commitment to the Guru,
you can make no mistake. If something goes wrong,
your job is to go wrong with it while always defending
it as right, strenuously, vehemently. YOU HAVE NO CHOICE.

The school that requires you to have full personal
responsibility while completely relating to the Guru
as well. There is a real basis for holding this in the
actual roles of the tantras that lead to the "meeting
of the minds" and in the stances of the historical
Buddha that we must not do this on blind faith.

If something goes wrong, you have to deal with it
according to the Bodhisattva Ideal. That is your
responsibility. YOU HAVE NO CHOICE. You take your
personal sacrifice as a matter of course. It is
that simple.

The extremes that totally characterize tantric
practice push you to one of these results if something
goes wrong. Buddhist Tantric practice is real tough
stuff. You don't dabble in it or take it lightly at all.

This is why pre-tantric practice and a very considered
choice of traditions is so important.
(corboy's bolds for emphasis)

By the way, to put this in another context, Osel Tendzin (Chogyam Trungpa's successor)seems to have been a total blind faith school tantrika
and he definitely tinged the organization with that at
that time.

The error seems to have been his, but he was
so locked into the "nothing can go wrong" blind faith
that he could not back out. One view is that he even
shortened his Guru's life as a result. Think about that.

One of the problems is determining that something is
going wrong.

The blind faith school does not permit
it at all.

The bodhisattva responsibility school
absolutely requires it. But it is still hard to do.
HHDL, having Avalokiteshvara's level of Bodhisattva Ideal
commitment (it dominates even the Samaya vow) has no
choice but to be of the bodhisattva responsibility school.

One final point, you will not be able to distinguish
HHDL being wrong from the DShudgen people being blind faith
school practitioners going down with the ship.

At least you cannot from our non-Buddhahood perspective. Even
the projection on the Guru is insufficient for this one.

Also, there is no way to determine that they are not
blind faith school, but simply mistaken. Them saying
they were not would actually be probable blind faith
action to protect the commitment.

This is why I meet this with practice. I see no other
way to do anything that helps.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: October 05, 2008 08:44AM

To whom it may concern:

It seems like NKT members are attempting to overwhelm this thread.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 09:49PM


Rick Ross wrote:

To whom it may concern:

It seems like NKT members are attempting to overwhelm this thread.

Corboy comments:

Yes, and it is interesting how very quickly numerous NKT members showed up, saying pretty much the same thing, and showed up in such great numbers, less than 24 hours after Judy, a new member of the message board, requested information about NKT.

Many a citizen would wish that their local fire and police departments had as rapid and efficient a response time.

For as Mr Ross mentioned, there is already information in the archives about NKT. one saw fit to complain about that.

And..this information is not published in the archives unless it has already been published in print media (eg newpapers), or in a legal document. Again, no one from NKT showed up to complain about the archive.

They appear to have shown up, en masse, because a new member of NKT sought to make use of our message board. And, by golly did they show up.

An interesting set of priorities, and enough to make a visitor like Judy fear being targeted for bullying.

For, it was only when Judy showed up yesterday, asking questions as is her right, that suddenly we got so very many visitors showing up so quickly to insist that more positive discussion of NKT was needed.

Again, many a citizen would wish that their local fire and police departments had as rapid and efficient a response time.

It is enough to make me wonder, just wonder, whether NKT folk do monitor various discussion venues and promptly step in when the discussions are not to their liking, eh?

For one of our visitors did appear quite knowledgeable of these other venues where moderators exercised vigilence--as knowledgeable of these other venues as, presumbably of the Buddhist ethical precepts.

This suggests that vigilent moderation is needed to preserve venues dedicated to the needs of persons seeking objective discussion of NKT. And that this moderation is needed to protect participants of such discussions from being being targeted for shaming and vituperation.

Its one thing for someone to describe a problematic group and mention both the positive features of the group and also its problematic aspects.

The trouble arises when ANY attempt to discuss potentially problematic aspects of a group is met with demands that its positive features are not being mentioned.

This 'we-seek-a-venue-for-postive-discussion' can be used to suppress discussion of matters that people like Judy feel concerned about and wish shame free venue for discussion.

Now...someone will probably try to say, 'Oh you are insulting Judy's adult autonomy. She is a big girl and can take care of herself.'

This is a standard response when attempts at schoolyard bullying are identified and thwarted.

***People like Judy are seeking to take care of themselves as adults by visiting the discussion board and archive and requesting information about their group--information that is not pre-digested by the group itself. ***

Stating that only information routed through and approved of by NKT is appropriate for Judy is to treat her as a child and others like her as a child. That is not what is about. supports those seeking to take care of themselves as adults by exercising adult agency as researchers, who have chosen to utilize for what it is--a social sciences research center , referral resource, and consumer education portal.

A healthy group can deal with adverse information about itself without feeling threatened.

A friend told me of a remarkable response by San Francisco Zen Center when problematic aspects of its past were made public.

When Michael Downing published a book, titled Shoes Outside the Door about abuses of money, sex and power at San Francisco Zen Center in the 1980s, SFZC made no attempt to thwart the authors research or block publication, and in fact, members of the teaching community at SFZC provided information to Mr Downing via interviews, and one of them participated in a public dialog with Mr Downing after the book's publication.

My informant told me that not everyone in the community was happy with the book, some thought the tone unkind. But one one spoke badly of the author and again, no attempt was made to thwart his research or the publication of the book.

A young man who had grown up as a child at one of the SF Zen Center communities had a less than ideal experience and wrote about this in a memoir, Silence and Noise.

No attempt was made to suppress his book, and instead, my informant told me that copies of Silence and Noise were available for sale in SFZC's bookstore.

And after the trauma of the 1980s, the response on the part of the SFZC community was to change its power structure to avoid ever having a long term and excessive concentration of power in the hands of any one leader. A grievance committee was put in place and ethical guidelines were
negotiated using the Bodhisattva precepts as a guideline.

And in his book, Being Upright, Tenzin Reb Anderson described those same events in the 1980s and also mentioned additional grave incidents
he had blundered into--and which brought dreadfully embarrassing newspaper publicity to SFZC.

In short, here was a dharma community that could accept public dissemination of embarrassing information as well as positive information.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2008 10:12PM by corboy.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Judy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 10:51PM

Thank you corboy for your private message, for taking the time to provide me with so much valuable information.

Unfortunately, as a new subscriber to the board I cannot respond to you privately.

I will keep my message short, partly because I'm very ill and fuzzy brained, but also because I see that in record time NKT members are saturating this thread with their pro-NKT responses, while denouncing anyone who questions. Ironically, their behaviour confirms that I made the right decision not to continue with NKT meditation classes.

I strongly believe that questioning is an important part of the human experience. To blindly swallow whatever is dished out is unhealthy -- whether it's in a political, religious or any other forum.

From the little I know about Buddhism, questioning is an important component of the tradition -- one of the many reasons I'm attracted to Buddhism and why I'll continue my search for a Buddhist group I feel comfortable with.

Thank you again, corboy.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: Judy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 10:56PM

I also want to thank everyone who responded to this thread, including NKT members. You've all given me much to think about; I feel more strongly than ever that I made the right decision to search elsewhere in my quest to learn more about Buddhism.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm not feeling well and don't have the energy or brain capacity to respond to you all individually.

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Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition)
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 05, 2008 11:00PM

From Page 3 of Buddha Chat forum


(this is one page of a very long set of threads. Go read the whole thing and also go to e-sangha and do a search and see if anything is posted there on NKT)

Someone discusses NKT using both Lifton's criteria and those of Professor Margaret Thaler Singer:


Hi there,
if one takes Margaret Thaler Singer's book on cults (Singer is an acknowledged specialist in the field of cults) "Cults in our Midst", 1995, ISBN 0-7879-0051-6 as a reference) for researching if NKT is a cult or not and you know NKT well, you"ll see that NKT fits almost into all of her critererias.

This starts with that the cult leader is the sole boss with noone besides him or above him to whom a misused victim can complain to. So for instance if one is treated unfairly by a school teacher you can complain and ask for justice by a higher authority.

In cults such systems are not present.

In NKT the lasting authority is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and this is the first sign of a cult. For other signs just use the book.

Also what "friend" tells here is from my point of view a quite naive approach to NKT and he has picked up a lot of misconceptions there yet.

Let me explain this critic:

The first is all the traditions are a "mix". Especially the Vajrayogini Tantra and Dorje Shugden practice are a mix into the Gelug school of Je Tsongkhapa.

The Vajrayogini Tantra is mere since seven generations in the Gelug school and was adopted by the Sakya Tradition and although it is from the Sakyas and the Sakya lineage masters are included in the lineage prayer, the practice and presentation in the Gelug school is different from the origin the Sakya school.

So it is a mix, a modification per NKT definition this means not "pure". Tsongkhap didn't taught or emphasized Vajrayogini or Shugden, he didn't brought it into Gelug school. He has taught and emphasized other practices and other protectors.

Thereby the NKT presentation is itself a mix, different from Tsongkhapa, so it follows -- per NKT definition -- NKT is not pure.

They would argue, but it is as the teacher have taught it!

Really? How is it with the Vianya (buddhist monastic code) which is not there and the Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Yamantaka Tantra and the like, the Sixteen Drops of the Kadmapas, or The six Kadampa treatises, and the Jatakamalas...?

Also if not Tsongkhapa emphasized Shugden or Vajrayogini who has "mixed" this into NKT and made the NKT tradition therby impure --- per NKT definition?

Even Tsongkhapa, Gampopa and Atisha are not pure per NKT defintion, because the selected, applied and practiced different lineages from different masters of almost all schools and have combined their presentatation and practices...

The idea of "not mixing", "practicing purely" is the main (mis)concept behind NKT fundamentalism. Such topics should from my point of view been examined more deeply, especially the idea of "pure Dharma" is quite questionable: the Dharma is itself pure, because it is empty from inherent existence. On the conventional level, if one makes the dualistic discrimination of "pure Dharma" it follows there must be "impure Dharma" as well. But what in the Dharma is impure?

The concept of purity and the clinging on this idea of the purity of NKT Dharma (that NKT Dharma is from its own side "very pure") which is high emphasized in NKT is a really misconception and builds the basis of NKT's fundamentalism.

Another specialist in cults and fundamentalism, Robert Jay Lifton, notes that the idea of purity is the base conception of fundamentalism and that from fundamentalism cult arises.

Even fear to mix pure blut with impure blut, as NKT followers may fear to mix Geshe Kelsang's pure teachings withe the impure teachings of the Gelug tradition which is according to Geshe Kelsang "quite degenerated".

The misataken concepts in the NKT on Buddhism and its practice and the cultish structure one can only recognize if one has a little bit knowledge, understanding and knows NKT and other traditions and teachings as well and if one relies on true wisdom teachers (plural), not only one isolated teacher.

How get newcomers into NKT and are bonded into it?

In general firstly they are told (since years) that they should get the Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment, because in these "impure times"... and we do not knwo how long Geshe Kelsang still know the world is so degenarated and even one mantra of Vajrayogini is so powerful...

than they tell people "how precious" "how powerful" and the like all this is.

They tell Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is Tsongkhapa himself (e.g. Kadam Morten in New York this year).. so you are pushed up by urgent messages and after you got the empowerment they tell you: now Geshe Kelsang is your root lama.

Even they claim wrongly, the first lama from whom you received the Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerment is your root lama. So now Geshe Kelsang is your your spiritual boss.

In the classes they teach you: leaving the root Guru will lead you to hell. If you not see him as a Buddha, your receive not the blessings of a Buddha and no attainments... quite simplistic but it works that people are bonded and fear to leave NKT. This is this what I see as one of the main signs of the cultish structure.

There may be a slight different approach to this in different NKT centers but in general this is the way.

Tsongkhapa didn't teach to give Buddhist newcomers surfaced concepts of Tantra, he adviced only for long-time trained monastics with a proper understanding to reveal the secret Tantras, not to a Buddhist newcomers.

However westeners lack discriminating awareness, suffer on ignorance and are pride enough to think they would know and could practice the highest (tantric practices, without the necessary foundational training Corboy).

This is how the ego is cached into that stuff and is boned to it. Tha ego does not allow oneself to be honest and self critical and to acknowledge that this qick and speedy, blind step may have been a wrong decision so it defends the stituation and argues, because it fears...

You may disagree with me but maybe you can take it as a basis to think about this.

NKT's isolation is based on theirs elite group thinking and this comes from pride of being something special. They describe themselves as Kadampa Buddhists, renowned "for being spiritual practitioners of immense purity and sincerity" maybe this starts with a self critical approach to recognize the own faults and correct it.

If you look sincerely on different NKT teachings on purity, pure view, Guru devotion, ultimate reality and some others they have left the traditional context of understanding and in some cases are wrong or even nihilistic.

To check this is the heavy duty (or even burden) of soemone who wishes to follow a path: to check it unbiased, with an open mind and with deep understanding (knowledge).

This can not been done in one year, you need some time or space for that.

However NKT pushes his followers and kill that time and space for a proper examination: "Now is the time!" they say, "the times are so degenerated", and the like, maybe Geshe Kelsang will die soon they tell since more than 10 years, so hurry up!

Slow down, relax. Check properly with understanding.

What user friend has posted here, you can see as a warning and confirmation of what I still said:

"It takes a lot of wisdom to practice your own tradition purely without mixing while also not being critical of other traditions. I respect and admire anyone who practices like this. You speak well for your own tradition when you practice like this.

I also respect HHDL. Without him I would have never discovered Buddhism. But he is not my root guru so I don't attend his teachings or study his books.

Why one should follow only Geshe Kelsang and read only his books?

Who has taught you this misconception?

Neither Atisha nor Tsongkhapa nor any Gelug Lama, nor any other Lama in the Mahayana or Vajrayana teaches such sectarian views, only Geshe Kelsang who claimed wrongly that "Experience shows realizations come from purely following one Guru, only his teachngs and his protector." see his book on Guru devotion Great Treasury of Merit page 32.

another correspondant on this same discussion page followed up:

Quote: Originally Posted by DrJonno

There is a wide rift between HHDL & the NKT based around deification of Dorje Shugden (I vaguely recall, please correct if wrong)

In my view e-sangha (another forum) are wrong to ban discussion of any branch - sure if there is some evangelical promotion then can it - but straight discussion should be promoted.

This correspondant replied


Hi Jon,

the rift is only just one point. Geshe Kelsang has a unique approach to Buddhism which is simply sectarian and he sees himself and his teachings on Buddhism (his books) as more reliable than the Dalai Lama, more reliable than the origin works of Tsongkhapa (it's school founder) and more reliable than his follow monks and any other text on Buddhism.

He is not bound into any tradition any more and has separated himself from it's own tradition completely.

Later he was expelled from the Sangha of his monastery, after he has organized public protests against a Bhikkhu (HH the Dalai Lama) and let naive western monks, who are not even novices, go against him, accusing him of lying, persecution, of being on a power trip and deceiving the public and the like.

This is surely not what has been taught by the Buddha in the Vinaya. (The Vinaya is the manual of behavior for monastics, one of the earliest documents in all of Buddhism. Corboy)

So Shugden is mere a part of the controversies. However the wikipedia articles may give a overview and idea of it.

To ban a discussion seems also to me not a good idea. Maybe they (E-sangha) were fed up with the constant denials of the complex background and the simplifications and the spinning of NKT members. (Corboy's italics for emphasis)

However one can email E-Sangha and ask for their reason.



[i](Selecting a root guru is a very serious matter, and one needs years of practice beforehand to acquire the self knowledge and discernment needed.

It is a very dangerous sign if any group inculcates a sense of fear and greed for purity (these are termed 'afflictive emotions' in Buddhism) and then on the basis of these afflictive emotions, rushing new students to make so utterly serious and binding a decision to select a root guru. For background read Alexander Berzins book, Relating to a Spiritual Teacher .

And all times are good for practicing the Dharma. It is a warning sign if a Buddhist group or any kind of group states that the present time is impure, and that one must rush to do advanced practices. This kind of end times warning is apt to spook Westerners who have been affected by scary apocalyptic teachings from the Judeo Christian tradition. A true Buddhist teacher does not inculcate mind states of fear and greed and antagonism--we are already burdened by these. A true teacher does not add a new load of these emotions to bind us to the group--he or she teaches us to investigate all mind states--even crusade mentality must be investigated--not indulged for the purposes of aggrandizing the guru, sect or group!) Corboy)

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