From tyagi@HouseofKaos.Abyss.com Wed Jul 24 19:37:11 1996
To: email@example.com (Ceci Henningsson)
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 10:35:03 -0700 (PDT)
Orientation: House of Kaos, St. Joseph, Kali Fornika, US -- Kali Yuga
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(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
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
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
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.
Rick Ross wrote:
To whom it may concern:
It seems like NKT members are attempting to overwhelm this thread.
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 lives...you 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.
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.