Careful research almost always shows that what NKT says about Buddhism, Tibetan history and the Dalai Lama is false.
This is because Kelsang Gyatso, NKT's founder and patriarch, is the main proponent of Shugden and the focus of the opposition to the Dalai Lama, representing a fierce fact-dismissing mission to undermine the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism for the benefit of Kelsang Gyatso's new commercialized 'religion' at the expense of profound Buddhist history and even NKT's clergy, students and benefactors.
A follower of NKT in India observed,
"I think a trouble in the foreign centers (referring to those in the West) is because of the struggle the students have there to find a direction. Even if something is wrong the students embrace it fanatically because it seems to offer direction to the directionless. In the foreign centers the people are seeking ways to impress others that they are sincere, and to convince themselves that what they are doing is worthwhile."
6 April 2009, nine-year-old Tulku Tsenyi Khentrul Tenzin Tseten Rinpoche was enthroned as the reincarnation of the late Geshe Lobsang Gyatso, founder of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics at a formal ceremony in Dharamshala. He was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of late Geshe Lobsang Gyatso on 1 February 2006.
Following months of threats from Shugdenites, Lobsang Gyatso was ritualistically murdered along with 2 of his students next door to the Dalai Lama the evening of 4 February 1997. Lobsang Gyatso was stabbed through the his eye and heart and his throat was cut. The murderers were clearly trying to leave a message.
The police in India believe that Lobsang Gyatso was murdered by Shugdenites who are now shielded in China.
Lobsang Gyatso wrote about Shugden during the summer and fall of 1997 responding to attacks on the integrity of the Dalai Lama by groups of Indian and foreign-based Shugden supporters, apparently the catalyst for his murder, including,
"The worship and propitiation of Dorgyal Dorje Shugden by promoting a rabid form of sectarianism, has caused great trouble to the fabric of Tibetan society and hindered greatly the ability of the government to govern effectively. It harms Buddhism and the teaching of Tsongkhapa in particular by promoting a rabid form of Gelukpa sectarianism."
In a letter to Eileen Dickenson, Lobsang Gyatso wrote,
"We Tibetans in exile, and there are more than one hundred thousand of us, do enjoy real religious freedom. The complaint against the Dalai Lama's government is baseless, therefore, and embodies a lie. What the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is saying is that the propitiation of Shugden harms the general cause of Tibet and hurts the Dalai Lama."
Responding to such comments, Shugdenites wrote Lobsang Gyatso (14 others have also reported receiving similar threats),
morally degenerated Lobsang Gyatso, who is a disgrace to the
Institute of Buddhist Dialectics....[We] came to Dharamsala three
times. In which nunnery were you hiding then?... Instead of writing
warped compositions, you should come down to Delhi with courage and meet us like the louse
meets the thumb nails. However, if your guilty conscience does not
afford you the courage to come down, give us a date and we will come
to you. Make your decisions."
According to the police, they came 4 February 1997.
(At NKT protests and on the Internet, NKTites present similar threats.)
From Mike Wilson. Schisms, murder, and hungry ghosts in Shangra-La: internal conflicts in Tibetan Buddhist sect. Cross Currents, Vol 49, No. 1, 1999, Association for Religion and Intellectual Life,
"The Shugden movement is organized around Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a
Gelugpa monk who founded The New Kadampa Tradition in 1991 and set
himself up as head of it in London. Kelsang's uncle is the medium for Dorje Shugden.
the NKT as "pure Gelugpas," and the organization appears to have
targeted Westerners for recruitment.
The NKT (or one of its
associated organizations) led demonstrations against the Dalai Lama
in London and then later in New York. Kelsang is challenging the
Dalai Lama's moral authority on the international stage.
Spokespeople for the Dalai Lama say that the tradition of Shugden is
notoriously sectarian, disruptive of harmony in the Tibetan
community, and on many occasions during the past 360 years has
denigrated other authentic Tibetan traditions. "It has been an
active force of fundamentalist antagonism, intolerance and fear.
Shugden advocates taught that any practitioner who engaged in
practices from other Buddhist traditions would face misfortune or
even death." The Dalai Lama said on
the occasion of his sixtieth birthday that he was in a dangerous
period in his life. He reportedly declared that Dorje Shugden is a
threat to his own life and to the cause of Tibet. That he has made
statements that Shugden is aligned with dark forces and refused to
initiate Shugden followers into tantric practices suggests that the
Dalai Lama fears assassination as well as occult harm from the
The NKT present themselves as attempting to exercise religious
freedom in the face of oppression by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama's people call NKT a "cult," and the British press has
described it as Britain's biggest, richest, and fastest growing
NKT's goal is to be the
biggest umbrella Buddhist organization in the West. There is said to
be a lot of pressure for members to give money. According to British
press reports, supporters are told that donations will "create
enormous merits" in future lives. Interest-free "loans" from members
are also being used to fund expansion. There appear to be associated
organizations, such as the Shugden Supporters Community and the
Dorje Shugden Coalition, controlled or peopled by NKT members,
through which many of the denunciations of the Dalai Lama are
A story in the British press
reports that followers are told that Kelsang is all-knowing and
all-powerful, answers prayers, does not need to sleep, eat, or go to
the bathroom, and has to put rocks in the pockets of his robe to
keep from levitating during meditation."
The autobiography of Lobsang Gyatso (1928-1997) is a fine story of a Tibetan monk's training and career and an instructive history of the Tibetan government, which originated in only the seventeenth century under the 5th Dalai Lama but was overthrown by China in 1959 when the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India to avoid further Tibetan and Chinese bloodshed. (Memoirs of a Tibetan Lama, Lobsang Gyatso, translated and edited by Gareth Sparham, Snow Lion Publications, 1998)
Lobsang Gyatso's life was remarkable for being largely unremarkable. He was a worker bee, a student, a Buddhist practitioner, a refugee, and someone who pitched in to make the Tibetan Government in Exile's new home in India vibrant with education. He mostly taught children and teenagers, and in 1973 at the request of the Dalai Lama began the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, India, insisting that all entrants speak Tibetan. (one of his students was George Dreyfus, the only 'foreigner' to complete the Institute's training who now teaches at Williams College in the United States and who has been targeted by NKT for ridicule for his scholarly analysis of NKT)
Chapter 9 of his autobiography, entitled The Sadness of Tibet, is particularly rewarding for its straightforward presentation of Tibetan government history, far from an idealized cascade of smooth operations enabled by consensus about religion and governance.
Many of the Dalai Lamas, heads of the Tibetan state and spiritual leaders, died young, giving way to periods of infighting among monasteries, powerful families and factions, and controversies about who was ultimately in charge.
Consequently, teaching dharma, the monasteries and government efficacy degenerated on a recurring basis, including before the 'rule' of the 13th Dalai Lama who reigned from 1895 to 1933. The 13th Dalai Lama attempted many government, social and military reforms, thwarted not only internally but also by British colonial expansion into Tibet and China. After withdrawal of the British, the Chinese began invasions into Tibet, burning 13 monasteries in Kham for example (early 1900s). The 13th Dalai Lama fled to India, returning to Tibet after the Chinese occupation of Lhasa ended, declaring Tibet to be an independent country, ushering a period of stability.
Nevertheless, although "The Dalai Lama had many plans for far-reaching reforms but was not able to implement them because, although he faced no open opposition, when it came to implementing his policies his officials pursued a policy of noncooperation...aristocratic government officials presented a loyal front, while harboring other thoughts in their hearts."
"It was at this time also that religious problems associated with the spirit Shugden arose...There are many stories about how he (the 13th Dalai Lama) attempted to show Phabonkha Rinpoche that propitiation of the spirit was going to lead to trouble. Phabonkha Rinpoche did not follow the Dalai Lama's advice and got attached to the spirit...The lack of esteem from the learned monks was a ground for some friction and a cause for Phabongkha Rinpoche to feel slighted."
"So much that the Dalai Lama intended to do was not done, and great was the irritation that he had to put up with."
Presciently, the 13th Dalai Lama said, "I am soon to die. But I will return and when I do I will reincarnate in a form that will teach the dharma even more excellently than the seventh Dalai Lama, Kalsang Gyatso (not to be confused with NKT's Kelsang Gyatso), and as a person who will be even more skillful in politics than the fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Gyatso...I have no wish to return, but the intense requests of the Tibetan people prompt me to take another rebirth. But if needed reforms are not implemented, it will surely come about that Tibetans will no longer have the right to use the property that is their own and to live in houses that are their own houses."
Lobsang Gyatso noted, "My point about the governing of Tibet in the period leading up to the Communist invasion is essentially this: even though the whole world was adapting to meet the challenges of modernity, the officials of the Tibetan government were stuck in old ways and did not change at all."
"Prior to the Chinese Communist takeover (1959) this problem of sectarianism was endemic. In monasteries in Kham, in Amdo, and in central Tibet as well there were internecine fights. It seems...that it happened in those places where the followers of the spirit Shugden were more active and numerous. In Drepung (monastery) there was a body of opinion, sometimes voiced, that the outcome of following Shugden would be problems and disturbanc...with the way things have come to pass, it is clear that indeed there was a truth in what those people were trying to convey."
Pertaining to the Chinese invasion, General Top, Phabonkha's business manager and virtually clueless about defending a nation according to some, "had the mind of a labrang agent, not the mind of a military leader...and was ignorant of...how to make real preparation."
"Tibet was lost because the central government took the unruly border Tibetans in Amdo and Kham to be sniping at China, goading her to respond with an invasion. If everyone took it easy the problem would go away, they thought. They did not think of the Chinese Communists as bad. "They are human beings, after all," they said with compassion.
Too much a belief in Buddhism and an inflated notion of their own country: that explains how they came to have such silly ideas. Even as they sat there, with the words of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama still fresh on his document before them, they ignored reality.
I do not want anybody to think that I am saying Tibetans are cowards. They are not; it is just that they lacked any coherent defense policy or modern military training."
Well, the rest is history, a history corroborated by many....EXCEPT for NKT, which prefers its political fictional account - that Tibet's and Tibetan Buddhism's downfall is because of the evil, corrupt, lying, slave owner, Shugden opponent 14th Dalai Lama. NKT asserts that only NKT's purity and Shugdenism can save the world.
However, careful research almost always shows that what NKT says about Buddhism, Tibetan history and the Dalai Lama is false.