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anti-Buddhist?

 
 
NKT - GELUG OR NOT?

NKT recently responded, yes and no.

NKT says,

"We are all disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa, we follow in the spiritual lineage of Gelugpa instructions passed down through the great Lamas Je Phabongkhapa and Trijang Dorjechang, and we do this with the help of our Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden.

Geshe Kelsang and a number of NKT students have also supported the new Gelugpa monasteries, Shar Gaden and Serpom Norling, not just morally but with generous financial aid. Shar Gaden has a picture of Geshe Kelsang in its main meditation hall, acknowledging his courage on behalf of all Dorje Shugdan practitioners and his help in bringing these new monasteries into existence."

(NKT does not support, but rather sees them as corrupt, Tibet's Gelugpa monasteries; Gelugpa monasteries began in Tibet with the teachings of Tsongkhapa.)

According to Kelsang Gyatso,

"We are pure Gelugpas. The name Gelugpa doesn't matter, but we believe we are following the pure tradition of Je Tsongkhapa. We are studying and practicing Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings and taking as our example what the ancient Kadampa Lamas and Geshes did."

But,

"Representatives of the NKT, such as teachers and managers, are not however permitted to invite Lamas from different traditions to teach.

Recently, a visiting Tibetan Lama and Dorje Shugden practitioner, who is currently in the States to help highlight the situation with the Dalai Lama's ban on Dorje Shugden practice, was invited by some NKT teachers to teach at a branch of one of the NKT centers. They were then requested not to do this because, as Geshe Kelsang has said, "We are different traditions." Over the years, the NKT has consistently resisted inviting Tibetan teachers, including fellow Dorje Shugden practitioners, to teach at NKT centers and this is now in the Internal Rules.

No teachers in the NKT have been recognized as a Tulku, most teach without fanfare or recognition. Inviting Tibetan Tulkus and Lamas to teach at NKT centers can undermine the teachers' credibility simply because Western teachers appear more run of the mill and "like us" than an exotic Rinpoche.

At the present time the NKT-IKBU has about 700 ordained people around the world. The way of granting ordination was designed by Geshe Kelsang following the ancient Kadampa tradition."

(though not the tradition of Tsongkhapa, Phabongkhapa or Trijang Dorjechang, or any Gelug or other Buddhist tradition)

Thus, NKT would deny Tsongkhapa, Phabongkhapa or Trijang Dorjechang any opportunity to teach within NKT, just as NKT does not permit their writings inside NKT. NKT wants only NKT, where its purported purity must be protected and not tarnished, in NKT's eyes, by respected teachers of Buddhism, particularly Tibetan and Gelugpa Buddhism.

Because NKT says,

"Other teachers from other traditions can of course be realized beings and qualified to teach holy Dharma in general...But, logically enough, only those trained in the NKT study programmes are qualified to teach those programmes."

Thus, Tsongkhapa, Phabongkhapa or Trijang Dorjechang , or any other Buddhist teacher would be denied access to NKT because they had not been not been indoctrinated with NKT rhetoric, politics and cultism.

It is inconceivable that Tsongkhapa, Phabongkhapa or Trijang Dorjechang would prevent Gelugpa teachers, and others, to teach with them.

NKT also says,

"For one thing, it is unlikely that the three NKT study programmes will ever be adopted at the Gelugpa monasteries in India, or that Western NKT teachers, lay or ordained would ever be invited to teach Dharma at Gelugpa monasteries or centers."

(NKT's cult is also unlikely to be adopted by any other school of Buddhism, including the Gelugpa and other schools inside Tibet, the home of Tsongkhapa, Phabongkhapa and Trijang Dorjechang.)

Stunningly, NKT says,

"Here in the West, the majority of practitioners are lay and live in vastly different cultural circumstances from those found in Tibet and India. What works for Tibetans does not easily translate for Westerners and the presentation of the teachings, which has been carefully designed for Westerners, differs widely from the Geshe program taught in the monasteries."

Nevertheless, NKT seeks to burden Westerners with a dark evolution of Tibetan Shugdenism and protest against anyone who worries that NKT's political religion inappropriately demands Western devotion of Shugden.

NKT further explains is isolation,

"Geshe Kelsang has taken into account that most Westerners lead very busy and full lives and so the Dharma he presents has become more and more immediately practical. The circumstances are different to the monasteries, where the Geshe program takes twenty years to complete and is intellectually rigorous, involving huge amounts of memorization and formal debate. Some of the monks then go onto do retreats. This system has produced many qualified practitioners, including our own lineage Gurus! But the average Western Buddhist does not have the time or the inclination to complete a 20 year Geshe degree – only one has managed to do this. The NKT study programmes differ from the Geshe program in their very practical emphasis on Lamrim, Lojong and Mahamudra and the emphasis on meditation and retreat.

(Kelsang Gyatso never finished his Geshe training, as did George Dreyfuss, whose commentary about NKT as that of the monastery in which Kelsang Gyatso attempted to gain a Geshe degree is notable, appearing elsewhere several times in this web site.)

Related to this, the moment Geshe Kelsang arrived in the West he set about training and empowering Westerners to teach Buddhism, based on their own sincere spiritual progress, so that they could teach people in their own languages and cultures. He said he wanted four types of teacher — monks, nuns, lay men, and lay women. Geshe Kelsang has 'democratized' Buddhism here in the West by appointing teachers in this way and has said repeatedly that one's Spiritual Guide can be a monk, nun, lay woman or lay man. This is a vast departure from Tibetan ways.

While to some, the practices of recognizing Tulkus and using oracles for divination may seem interesting and exotic, they are well outside Western cultural norms. With respect to the Tibetan Lama mentioned earlier, one NKT branch teacher recently told a relatively new student that "This Rinpoche is even higher than Geshe-la as he is a reincarnate Lama." This reveals the danger of the Shangri-la syndrome, naively idealizing foreign cultures and grandiose titles as magically perfect and naturally superior to ours. The Tulku system is one of inherited power where reincarnate Lamas (almost always Tibetan boys, even these days) are discovered at a very early age and then groomed for their privileged status and authority. This system creates an unbreakable glass ceiling for Western practitioners.

The NKT has decided to elect its leaders instead."

(unlike Tibetan and all other forms of Buddhism, NKT fancies itself as a political democracy, even though it bans and threatens litigation against many of its ex members and members of other forms of Buddhism)

NKT proclaims,

"Geshe Kelsang himself used divination to find the rebirth of his mother, as explained in the book Introduction to Buddhism. Early on in the NKT years, the oracle of Dorje Shugden came to a few NKT centers and Dorje Shugden composed a beautiful and inspiring long-life prayer for Geshe Kelsang. However, it is true that on occasion this system has been used in the service of political power and still remains open to abuse. Not to mention that an oracle's possession can present a large cultural barrier to the average Westerner, seeming alien or superstitious. Acceptance of the validity of divinations and oracles, while firmly established within Tibetan culture, is outside of our own."

(the Shugden oracle mentioned here was Kelsang Gyatso's uncle, who left NKT after Kelsang Gyatso began his protest rallies against the Dalai Lama)

Preposterously, NKT adds,

"Geshe Kelsang has not omitted or added anything to the meaning of Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings."

There is nothing in Tsongkhapa's teachings about Shugden, the Internet and protest rallies - the hallmarks of NKT's 'tradition'.

NKT has published comments from some its members, eg...

"One of the things that inspires me greatly about the NKT & gives me huge confidence in it, is its absolute practicality. Geshe-la has forged a tradition which is all about attaining enlightenment."

(though no NKT member has yet attained it)

Clearly, NKT is neither Gelugpa nor connected with any form of Buddhism beyond that professed by NKT. And, NKT clergy and members like it that way.

NKT, thanks for differentiating yourself from all other forms of Buddhism and specifically the Gelugpa.

NKT clergy and members, you've been duped into a political cult with distorted Tibetan Buddhism.