While Kelsang Gyatso used to have legitimate connections with Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and the profound practices of Highest Yoga Tantra, his students do not. (Kelsang Gyatso broke away from his Tibetan roots in 1990, when he created his new 'tradition'; NKT has often stated that Tibetan Buddhism is corrupt and degenerate)
Kelsang Gyatso's students train exclusively with Kelsang Gyatso's books written as brief discussions of Buddhism for the general public, akin to Cliff Notes. While they sometimes draw from small portions of the originating texts of Buddhism, they cannot be considered thorough treatises or monastic training vehicles. Furthermore, NKT bans all books, including those of Tsongkhapa and any other Indo-Tibetan Lama, from any author except Kelsang Gyatso. Additionally, NKT has often stated that it does not allow teachers from outside NKT to teach inside NKT, including Indo-TIbetan Lamas.
Announced by NKT, August 2010,
"Representatives of the NKT, such as teachers and managers, are not however permitted to invite Lamas from different traditions to teach... Representatives of the NKT, such as teachers and managers, are not however permitted to invite Lamas from different traditions to teach...it is unlikely that the three NKT study programmes will ever be adopted at the Gelugpa monasteries in India (even though many Tibetans who speak English greatly admire Geshe Kelsang's commentaries), or that Western NKT teachers, lay or ordained would ever be invited to teach Dharma at Gelugpa monasteries or centers...The Education Programme of all NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres shall consist only of the three New Kadampa Tradition Study Programmes: the General Programme, Foundation Programme, and Teacher Training Programme...The NKT study programmes differ from the Geshe program."
(during the mid 1990s, Kelsang Gyatso briefly permitted his uncle, a Shugden oracle, to teach inside NKT...however, his uncle returned to India to support the Dalai Lama after Kelsang Gyatso initiated his campaign against the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism)
NKT clergy take only a small fraction of the sacred vows of Buddhism and are not monastically trained. They do not prepare for Highest Yoga Tantra in any way close to that of Kadampa or any other form of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and thus are not properly qualified to give Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments. NKT has noted many times in the past that NKT teachers are not empowered to practice or teach Completion Stage HYT, a most profound practice that can be harmful when abused (eg, the sexual misconduct scandals inside NKT).
Nevertheless, NKT's director (Kelsang Dekyong) is granting a mass Highest Yoga Tantra (HYT) empowerment this summer at NKT's headquarters in England incorporating the potential results of Completion Stage HYT. Thousands of NKTites will likely attend, paying NKT several hundred dollars for their HYT empowerment in their search for quick enlightenment, a popular product in western markets, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues for NKT.
Kelsang Dekyong preaching from NKT's political manifesto, The Tibetan Situation Today
NKT advertises the empowerment as "Accomplishing the Ultimate Goal of Human Life – The Quick Path to Enlightenment...During this week, Gen-la Dekyong will grant the Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments of Heruka Body Mandala and Vajrayogini and explain how we can quickly make progress towards enlightenment through these practices."
The promise of quick progress towards enlightenment is at best dubious and yet fulfilled in NKT over its 20+ year history. Interestingly, at Kelsang Gyatso's mass HYT empowerment a couple years ago, there was much discussion of protest rallies and litigation against those who question NKT's legitimacy.
Hoping for the ultimate goal of human life (enlightenment), NKTites fall short in practicing what is most needed in getting there - compassion and very very short of what is needed regarding the qualifications of the individual granting the empowerment and the appropriate practices following the empowerment. Legitimate HYT cannot be 'cliff noted'.
Save your money. Donate it to a real charity rather than a political party making empty - albeit appealing - promises.