NKT claims that its founder, Kelsang Gyatso, is a spiritual descendant of Buddha Shakyamuni and only the third Buddha ever in this kalpa (universe).
Perhaps, since Shakyamuni noted that Manjushri was a Buddha before him, Shakyamuni is NKT's second Buddha (but, this view of Shakyamuni would upset NKT's 'lineage' trail). Some think NKT's second Buddha is either Pabongkha or Trijang Rinpoche (the Dalai Lama's junior tutor).
NKT depicts (left) a lineage following Buddha Shakyamuni to Manjushri and then to various Tibetans, from Tsongkhapa through Kelsang Gyatso (even though Kelsang Gyatso departs significantly from the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa).
Kelsang Gyatso, expelled from his Tibetan monastery exiled in India for his anti-Buddhist campaign, operated NKT out of England. This past summer of 2009, Kelsang Gyatso retired after giving his last mass tantra empowerment, leaving Kelsang Khyenrab in charge but without recognized preparation for any Buddhist lineage or even an odination compliant with Buddhist Vinaya. No one considers Kelsang Khyenrab a Geshe, Lama or Rinpoche. Kelsang Gyatso, who awarded himself a Geshe degree, did not award Kelsang Khyenrab a similar title. Certainly, Kelsang Khyenrab has not entered the training for a recognized Geshe degree.
Kelsang Khyenrab and NKT's political manifesto, The Tibetan Situation Today
Thus, NKT's hypthetical lineage stops with Kelsang Gyatso, leaving NKT with a dead end.
At some point, NKT may protest around the world and widely on the Internet in search of connection with its purported lineage.
It won't be a reincarnation of Kelsang Gyatso because he has said he will not reincarnate in this kalpa (universe).
Perhaps, NKT will borrow more Tibetan custom and find a suitable reincarnation of one of the others listed in NKT's purported lineage (left).
Unlikely though, since Kelsang Gyatso and NKT have so alienated themselves from others that whoever NKT reincarnates for lineage will be endorsed.
No matter. NKT will figure out something.
After all, NKT has a global business of spas, hotels, apartments, real estate, books, festivals and political protests to keep running.
Many of us have studied Buddhism. Many of us have read the works of those who have discussed and interpreted Shakyamuni's teachings (Shakyamuni did not write his teachings, nor was he a Buddhist).
We all have a spiritual lineage with those who have taught us. Thus, those of us dedicated to sincere Buddhism have a spiritual lineage connection with Shakyamuni and the many Buddhist teachers from any and all of the Buddhist traditions we have engaged, including the Dalai Lama and his goal to harmonize Tibetan Buddhism as he teaches compassion around the world with his heroic schedule (the Dalai Lama is focused upon here only because he and Tibet are so much the political focus of NKT). So too, many of us have read the works of Kelsang Gyatso that have to a large extent presented Buddhist teachings in a simple and accessible manner.
However, enrichment does not demand spiritual blindness. Shakyamuni taught us to question everything, including his teachings. Simply because Kelsang Gyatso claims to have a spiritual lineage with Shakyamuni and Tibetan Lamas does not mean he does, or that it is alive.
Kelsang Gyatso, outside of his books, has been a divisive force. He has organized ugly protests around the world and has sponsored a massive Internet campaign of hate. Thus, he severed his spiritual lineage and created a egocentric and hurtful lineage. Any more than brief discussion with any of Kelsang Gyatso's clergy and lay teachers reveals this darkness. They are arogant, demeaning, evasive, self centered, compassionless and conspiratorial. Cross them and they unleash ridicule against you. Question them and they ban you and/or throw you out of your NKT apartment subidized with government funding. Too many have been victimized by sexual predators among NKT's leaders, including 2 of Kelsang Gyatso's selected heirs. Beyond NKT's initial appeal, unfortunately, NKT is a spiritual dead end.
Imagine Shakyamuni or any true Buddhist handing out and selling political treatises like 'The Tibetan Situation Today' and 'A Great Deception'.
NKT book ends, dead ends
Notably, in NKT's hypothetical lineage shown above, Shugden, unlke all the others who were known first hand by many, was never known as Shugden to anyone. Shugden's name was manufactured long after his death. In other words, no one that ever lived was known as Shugden during life.
NKT's response to this essay asserts,
"The living lineage of any Buddhist tradition exists in the hearts of its practitioners as realizations. It cannot exist on paper or in titles such as ‘Geshe’, ‘Lama’ or ‘Rinpoche’. ..As it happens, the NKT-IKBU does have three study programmes, the Teacher Training Programme in particular being very rigorous, consisting of many years of study, exams and meditation retreats. Unlike the Geshe degree, it is not hampered by politics...Geshe degree which is not practical but merely philosophical...Sadly, there are many examples in the Tibetan tradition of how the Tulku system has been abused for the sake of power, wealth and reputation. Since mistakes and worldly motivations are common in these degenerate times, it’s not wise to rely upon such a system...NKT-IKBU practitioners have therefore received the lineage of all of Buddha’s teachings and through their own sincere study and practice can become a lineage holder. The purity and authenticity of the tradition is the responsibility of the Education Council of the NKT-IKBU, consisting of the Resident Teachers of all NKT-IKBU Dharma Centers, excepting the General Spiritual Director. This system is entirely democratic and protects against the NKT-IKBU being taken in a wrong direction by an NKT-IKBU General Spiritual Director with a degenerated motivation."
Fascinating. NKT believes Kelsang Gyatso's use of the Geshe title is a a political constraint, is merely philosophical and not practical. Also, NKT renounces the Tulku tradition as well. NKT's purity is assured by a committee that does not include NKT's spiritual director because he or she could have degenerate motivation. Indeed, NKT learned its lesson from the first 2 heirs for Kelsang Gyatso perpetrated degenerate sexual abuse.