NKT has a good business thriving on donations and government subsidies, but it is a spiritual dead end for its students.
NKT's introductory Buddhist classes will probably not harm anyone or waste their time. And, most of these visitors drop out after a few visits, often bored by young clergy explaining away problems they never experienced or don't understand. Fees begin to add up. NKT agendas and arrogance tend not to hold interest. Selfishness from long-timers a repellent.
However, NKT markets its novel tantra classes and books as a fast track to becoming a Buddha yourself. Even though NKT's marketing has yet to be successful since it began in 1990, students are led to believe that they are receiving valid tantra teachings and empowerments. This is clearly not the case.
No NKT teacher has received anything close to proper tantra training. While NKT's founder was exposed to Tibetan Buddhism for a long time, he left it and all other forms of Buddhism during the 1980s to create his own tradition in 1990 geared for busy Westerners attracted to promises of spirituality and willing to lend and donate to NKT savings in many cases substantial. While he was exposed to Geshe training, he never completed the intensive program, a pre-requisite for the tantra product that NKT advertises.
NKT claims it is not a form of Tibetan Buddhism while it claims it is pure Gelugpa and Kadampa (forms of Tibetan Buddhism).
However, Gelugpa characteristically comment about tantra preparation as follows:
"In general, the curriculum of study covers the five major topics: the perfection of wisdom, philosophy of the Middle Way, valid cognition, phenomenology and monastic discipline. These five are studied meticulously by the dialectical method using Indian texts as well as Indian and Tibetan commentaries to them, often textbooks unique to each monastic tradition, for a period of fifteen to twenty years. On completing this training, a monk is awarded one of three levels of the degree of Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy): Dorampa, Tsogrampa and Lharampa, of which the highest is the Geshe Lharampa degree.
Subsequently, if he so wishes the Geshe may join one of the tantric colleges to study the tantras and so complete his formal studies, or he may return to his local monastery to teach, or retire into seclusion to engage in intensive meditation. A monk who has completed a Geshe's training is respected as being a fully qualified and authoritative spiritual master worthy of devotion and esteem."
While NKT's retired founder engaged in some of this, no NKT clergy member or teacher has. None of NKT's clergy or teachers have completed, or possibly even entered, Gelugpa geshe or tantra training. Without proper preparation, they cannot be qualified to teach Gelugpa teachings or tantra.
Without proper accreditation, NKT's tantra product is a waste of time at best and possibly even harmful (as many have described). It is not based on any credible method or training, which involve reading, debating and meditating upon substantive scriptures and analysis as well as endorsement from an array of Buddhist scholars (not a renegade like NKT's founder). NKT tantra teachers are channeled to consider only NKT's retired founder's books and a few conversations. Legitimate tantra teachers undergo training far more intensive than possible inside NKT.
NKT supporters, of course, counter by saying that its founder use to be a Tibetan Buddhist and underwent much training even if he never completed it.
That NKT's founder has been severely admonished by the monastery where he did his incomplete Geshe training means nothing to NKT supporters.
NKT clergy are 'ordained' using only a fraction of the traditional vows for Buddhist clergy. They are students teaching students and hardly qualified in anything outside of restrictive NKT dogma, itself only a small subset of traditional Buddhist principles and training. NKT clergy and students are limited to NKT's founder's cliff-note-like books about Tibetan Buddhism, which NKT despises, calls degenerate and protests against. In fact, NKT has issued rules forbidding teachers and books from Tibetan or any other school of Buddhism.
Tanta is a profound subject that NKT does not take seriously, and thus sells tantra teachings to expand its real estate holdings around the world.
The closest that NKT can be to Buddhism is through its discredited founder.
Any examination of the depths of tantra quickly reveals the futile attempts of NKT students to engage tantra through NKT. Though not a form of Tibetan Buddhism, NKT pieces together by copy and paste, some tenants of Tibetan Buddhism's tantra teachings, arguing that NKT's trivial dosage is geared to Westerners too busy for substance.
It is hardly possible that the current 'spiritual director' of NKT, is appropriately qualified to administer training in tantra. The sexual component of tantra is something that previous heirs of NKT's founder have demonstrated abuse against many victims. No one inside NKT can appropriately address this matter.
As NKT pretends to be Tibetan Buddhists, NKT pretends its tantra credentials just as NKT's founder pretends his geshe degree/title.
Furthermore, NKT's hypthetical lineage stops with Kelsang Gyatso, leaving NKT with a dead end. NKT claims that its founder, because of his training in Tibetan Buddhism, is part of the lineage of Tibetan Lama Tsongkhapa, Pabongkha and Trijang and even part of the lineage of the controversial Tibetan spirit Shugden. However, this contrivance ends with him. No one in NKT can legitimately claim to be part of any Buddhist lineage other than possibly the weird 'tradition' known as NKT.
Since breaking away from Tibetan Buddhism, NKT is operating without lineage and tradition. On the other hand, NKT operates at a profit.
NKT's make-believe world is ultimately a waste of time and potentially harmful to one's spiritual progress during this precious life.
For further reading, see this blog, which largely presents NKT's view. Read carefully and in the context of genuine tantra training. Several resources are listed here in the book section at the bottom of that web page. Substantial information about genuine tantra is available to compare with NKT's misleading version.
Regarding NKT profit, we found that NKT recently purchased a building in Sarasota, FL for $1.25 million and is now amidst reconstruction which will possibly cost another 2-3 hundred thousand dollars or more to make ready for business (a $1.5 million plus investment from the wallets of students and taxpayers for future NKT profits).
Here is NKT's facade, floor plan and resident/tantra/Dakini Yoga/inner channel/union bliss teacher (replaced Lucy James, fired by Kelsang Gyatso for disagreeing with his political protest agenda). Three kitchens, 13 rental resident rooms - one with a private bath. Many rooms for NKT tantra practice.