Always interesting when NKT insiders reveal how NKT views the world around them.
The world is a dark and evil place whose salvation will only come from NKT. NKT's faithful believe that NKT is the world's only true religion.
NKT insiders are mortified by how the world sees them.
Swirls of paranoia and fear sweep through NKT as gossip boils from time to time of internal scandals, romances among NKT clergy and between its clergy and students, leaked emails and castigating conversations, blame for those leaving NKT, protest rallies, demotions issued by Kelsang Gyatso, concern for room and board and the fragility of their circumstances renting government-subsidized rooms from NKT, reasons behind clergy and students being banned from NKT, adverse media coverage about NKT and NKT's future after the departure of Kelsang Gyatso. Trust is becoming rare inside NKT.
NKT clergy and students virtually chant amongst themselves that NKT is not a cult, determined to prove everyone wrong.
Everything Kelsang Gyatso feels, wants and says represents the will of the highest being on earth. Kelsang Gyatso is worshiped as the only living Buddha and an incarnation of Tsongkhapa (who in NKT theology was an incarnation of Shugden, NKT's supreme substance necessitating NKT ferocity to protect).
Kelsang Gyatso knows everything - past, present and future. He permitted internal scandals as valuable sins for his graciousness to cleanse.
Complete faith in Kelsang Gyatso will purify your life and assure you of enlightenment and a fast track to infinite happiness. To be near him is to be but a potential moment away from complete happiness and never again to be reborn into samsara.
To be in NKT is to reside in an incomparable field of merit wherein your allegiance will be rewarded with Kelsang Gyatso's nectar. Your benefit for pursuing NKT's mission will be merit multiplied thousands of times more than that from positive actions outside NKT which NKT considers as mundane and superfluous. What you do for NKT you do for Buddha, providing you the most direct access to Kelsang Gyatso's benevolence feasible and the fast track to nirvana.
Nevertheless, Kelsang Gyatso has sometimes stunned NKT insiders. For example, Kelsang Gyatso sent the following email to Lucy James in April 2008. Lucy James was a longtime NKT Kadam, resident teacher for various NKT centers, transcriber of Kelsang Gyatso's festival presentations and NKT book editor. Since, it has been reported that callers to KMC Florida inquiring about Lucy James are told that Lucy James still lives in Sarasota and works on NKT Internet projects.
You know that not one single student of NKT Dharma Centres in Florida joined the demonstration in Hamilton, NY, and this week the Admin Director of KMC Florida has resigned saying:
"Since the beginning of our involvement with the NKT we have been repeatedly told that the NKT was not involved in politics. Now that the NKT has opened up with its political position and begun demonstrating I can no longer be a part of the organization. This complete lack of honesty about the NKT's involvement in Tibetan politics is the reason for my departure."
You directly told me that the NKT was involving in political activities and that this was against the NKT and Dharma Centre constitutions; this is completely untrue.
Previously I wrote two letters to the Resident Teachers and Admin Directors of NKT Dharma Centre's (which are pasted below) in which I clearly explained that the NKT was not organising the demonstrations, the NKT was not involved in political activity and there was no basis for either the NKT or Dharma Centre constitutions to be broken.
I am very sorry that you have not trusted me. Because you do not trust me I cannot work with you therefore my conclusion is that you should resign from being an NKT Resident Teacher. From 1st May 2008 you will no longer be an NKT Resident Teacher. I will prepare a new Resident Teacher for KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center.
Cc NKT Central Office, Gen-la Khyenrab, Gen-la Dekyong, Managers & community of KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center
Letter #1, sent April 13, 2008
Dear Resident Teachers and Administrative Directors of NKT Dharma Centers,
You have received a copy of the letter sent to Sera Lachi, Sera Je and Sera Mey by The Western Shugden Society. From this you can understand that it is very possible that The Western Shugden Society will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama. Concerning this issue, we should know five things:
1. The demonstrations will be organised by The Western Shugden Society, not by the NKT.
2. The Western Shugden Society is the unification of all the Western Shugden practitioners, and NKT is a part of this main body.
3. When the main body, The Western Shugden Society, organises demonstrations, the NKT needs to voluntarily contribute and help.
4. There is no basis to break our constitution or internal rules because this is not organised by the NKT.
5. The Western Shugden Society organising the demonstrations is not for the purpose of the six monks only, it is the method to prevent the destruction of the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa, and to stop the extremely forceful campaign that the Dalai Lama is doing now to eradicate completely the practice of Dorje Shugden in India and other countries through unlawful actions.
We should recognise that the NKT is not involved politically, simply supporting The Western Shugden Society with these demonstrations. Peaceful demonstrations are respected by democratic governments, it is the position of the people, we should take this opportunity, there is no other method to stop the Dalai Lama´s campaign against Dorje Shugden practitioners.
Letter #2, sent prior to April 27, 2008
My Dear Students,
I need help from you to solve the Dorje Shugden problem created by the Dalai Lama. Right now the Dalai Lama is removing the Tibetan Shugden worshipers from the Buddhist community saying that Shugden worshipers are not Buddhist because they worship an evil spirit - Shugden. At the same time he is preparing to remove western Shugden worshipers from the Buddhist community with the same reasons. His aim is to destroy the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa´s doctrine. To stop this evil action, as the representative of the Western Shugden Society, I personally will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama directly. I requested Kelsang Pema and Kelsang Thubchen to do this job for me and they have accepted.
Please help Pema and Thubchen with whatever they need."
Few public figures present themselves as delusional as Kelsang Gyatso.
It has been reported that NKT's director in the United States, Gen Dekyong, urged that NKT students read this message from Kelsang Gyatso when Gen Dekyong visited KMC Florida May 2008 to address tearful students and teachers about the controversy surrounding Lucy James' abrupt dismissal and to introduce Lucy James' replacement, Gen Demo. (May 10, 2009, Gen Dekyong returned to the center to preside over a day course, 'Seeing Kindness')
Gen Demo, Resident Teacher - KMC Florida
background - Shugden Altar for NKT's main practice
foreground - hooded Buddha Shakyamuni statue on table
Another Gyatso exchange - between Gyatso and Samden (the heir Gyatso named in 2005 to become Gyatso's successor as NKT spiritual director but terminated about two years later over sexual misconduct) - also stunned many NKT insiders (though many others were aware of the misconduct and effectively its encouragement by Kelsang Gyatso who did nothing to stop it until the media was informed and other similar scandals erupted). Unfortunately, there have been several other similar scandals.
Samden to his NKT students...
"After one year of silence, I would like out of fairness to those who
know me, to write a few words.
I have just spent two months caring for my mother. During this time, I
heard and read many unusual reports about myself. I am surprised and
disappointed that many practitioners appear to be holding incorrect
beliefs, to have drawn wrong conclusions, and to have made harsh
judgments in relation to my departure.
I would like to make it clear that in February 2007, I made the
decision to leave in order to prepare for and engage in long-term
retreat. This decision was founded upon a pure intention, to maintain
the lineage of Je Tsongkhapa, and become a perfect Teacher. I did not
leave because I felt I had made mistakes; nor was I asked to do so for
any such reason.
I believe that a decision that I leave was already made by others -
founded upon impure intention, ambition. My departure was already
a 'fate' accompli - I could not have stayed.
My reputation has since been deliberately sullied, even though
Venerable Geshe-la in one of the last emails I received from him
said "NKT will always respect you, I promise." This has been done to
convince people of my apparent wrongdoings, and to wield more authority
Under the guise of service to the Spiritual Guide, the Tradition is
being misdirected, even subverted. As senior practitioners continue to
meet with a similar fate, it is being left in the hands of the
ambitious, who abuse their authority. A crack has formed within our
Tradition, weakening it. With only compliants allowed to assume or
remain in any position, with priorities upside down, and with methods
of management unacceptable in modern society, I dissociate myself with
what will eventually become evident to all.
I understand there is a difference between reliance and compliance, and
the results they bring.
I am still acting upon my original decision; my intention to uphold the
Tradition of Je Tsongkhapa will not change. I no longer wear my robes,
yet at no time have I thought of 'dis'robing; and in order to achieve
my goal I am committing myself wholeheartedly to one whom I believe is
qualified to help me do so. I remain committed to Venerable Geshe-la
and to our Tradition.
I have no wish to bring any harm through writing this. There will be no
further communication from me.
I wish everyone the very best in their spiritual training.
With much love and appreciation for all the support you have shown me
over the years.
May the doctrine of Conqueror Losang Dragpa flourish for evermore."
Gyatso's response to Steven Wass (ex Samden)...
"I have received your email message. You have destroyed the NKTs
reputation and the power of all NKT Resident Teachers. Through your
actions so many ordained Teachers have disrobed following your view
which is opposite to Buddhist view – you tried to spread a sexual
lineage which you yourself created. Even in society a Teacher cannot
have sex with students. After you left many people confessed to me
that you had had sex with them. You had sex with so many students and
through your deceptive actions one nun tried to commit suicide because
of your sexual behaviour towards her.
Because the NKTs reputation and power of the Resident Teachers has
been destroyed by your activities now the future development of the
NKT will be difficult both materially and spiritually. However, I
myself and all my students are working hard to recover the damage you
made. We will never allow your sexual lineage to spread in this
I have no connection with you."
Anything standing in the way of NKT's purportedly pure religion must be attacked, ridiculed or threatened. NKT's biggest perceived obstacles - the Dalai Lama, NKT's ex clergy and students, Tibetan Buddhists and anyone questioning NKT dogma - are to be vilified.
Teachings and books not from Kelsang Gyatso are to be ignored if not demonized.
Inside NKT, self cherishing has been perfected, fed continuously by NKT's public policy and abuse of those harmed by NKT.
It is us on the outside who are at fault for hindering NKT's perfect destiny. But, we also have value to NKT because NKT sees us in the outside world as it does its students, clergy and visitors - annuities, to donate money, to convert our possessions into donations and to loan NKT money with no prospect for repayment for use in NKT's mission against its perceived opponents and NKT's protest rally, assault web site, mansion, hotel, spa, restaurant, and apartment rental 'charities'.
While there are many reasons why NKT attracts new students and clergy (e.g., hope to explore Buddhism, need for community, need for food and shelter, psychological needs, sense of loss or tragedy, need to rationalize arrogance and search for superiority, need to rebel) and while many inside NKT find the pious solace they seek, at least temporarily, most eventually leave NKT...
...sometimes after disenchantment with NKT's distorted Buddhism, sometimes after feeling their spirituality destroyed, sometimes after observing or being manipulated to cover up internal NKT scandals sometimes themselves permitted to occur by Kelsang Gyatso, sometimes after disgust for Kelsang Gyatso's anger with and jealousy of the Dalai Lama and legitimate forms of Buddhism, sometimes after being appalled by NKT's political protest rallies, sometimes after shock with how NKT abuses charitable donations, sometimes after being subjected to substantial trauma and fear, sometimes after intervention from loved ones, sometimes after sexual abuse, sometimes after donating all their savings, sometimes after being expelled from NKT's government-subsidized housing, sometimes after being banned from attendance at its meditation centers, sometimes after becoming frustrated with the lack of spiritual progress, sometimes after realizing that Kelsang Gyatso is a fake Geshe and that NKT's monastic vows differ significantly from genuine Buddhist practices, sometimes after realizing that NKT's monks and nuns are little more than imitation clergy who dress as Tibetan clergy while despising Tibetan clergy, sometimes after becoming horified by the predominant public face of NKT...
...sometimes to be ridiculed, called a liar and threatened on NKT's web sites or in its prolific posts after leaving or being banned by NKT, a rather disgraceful and non-Buddhist way to treat its ex students and clergy. Facing ongoing NKT attacks, several hundred ex NKT students and clergy formed a self help group for themselves and others, especially those feeling trapped inside NKT.
Other essays on this web site share the disturbing experiences of some of those who found the courage to leave NKT.
Many in NKT and many who might have visited NKT are likely troubled by the comments about Kelsang Gyatso and his followers from the leaders and monks of Sera Je monastery (where Kelsang Gyatso trained to finish his Geshe degree but never completed the monastery's requirements; believing that he deserved it, Kelsang Gyatso awarded himself a Geshe degree not recognized by any Buddhist college/monastery)...
"However, it is a measure of profound sorrow that a so called “Geshe”
Kelsang Gyatso and his English supporters have embarked upon a ruthless smear campaign
to tarnish the International stature of His Holiness The Dalai Lama in the name of alleged
“religious persecution”. It is nothing short of blasphemy in the eyes of the overwhelming
majority of the six million Tibetans.
These days, [in Kelsang Gyatso] the demonic cloud of overwhelming arrogance displays itself with a mass of deluded pride, like a bat who thinks he is above the sky…. This demon with broken commitments…. burns with the flame of unbearable spite towards the unsurpassed omniscient 14th Dalai Lama, the only staff of life of religious people in Tibet, whose activities and kindness are equal to the sky.
We advise him to accept the fact that he is an ordinary being and stand no chance
whatsoever to challenge the Dalai Lama. He is not even a Geshe. The so called “third
Buddha” is a figment of imagination conjured up by his fawning desciples as
a propaganda tool to attract more people to his centre and that it should not go to his head.
Kelsang himself has transgressed the eight shortcomings of relying wrongly upon his
own spiritual master H.H. The Dalai Lama. According to the circular released by the Sera
Jhe Tsangpa Khangtsen, to whom Kelsang belonged, he had received both sutra and tantric teachings from H.H. The Dalai Lama when he was in Tibet. He had received the fifth Dalai
Lama’s Lamrim Jampel Shalung at the Norbu Linka summer palace and the Kalachakra
Initiation in 1956 from H.H.The Dalai Lama which incidently was the first Kalachakra initiation by the fourteenth Dalai Lama. As it were, there is simply no question of his not
being a desciple of H.H. The Dalai Lama but he has ignored this aspect and launched a
blistering attack on the Dalai Lama in the name of “religious persecution” along with his
gullible followers. The outcome of all this attempt to denigrate the person of the of Dalai
Lama by Kelsang clearly transgressed his spiritual relationship with the Dalai Lama and
though he has mentioned in his letter that “all of us are destined to go to hell”, we are in no doubt that he will infact be the
one who will land in hell.
We sincerely hope that the cult leader and his fanatical supporters
go through this and think twice before their vitriolic outpourings on the holy person of the
We have therefore stripped him of his membership from our
Sera Jhe Dratsang since the holy scriptures have clearly prescribed to evict such apostates
who will foul the Sanga community’s spiritual purity and serenity and will have a negative
influence for the whole community. Owing to the above reasons contained in the holy Tantric treatises, the Sera Jhe Dratsang’s
Abbot and ex-abbots, Reincarnations of holy Lamas, Geshes, and the House Masters of the
fifteen different Houses unanimously decided to strip Kelsang Gyatso of his membership in
the Sera Jhe Dratsang and his own House had earlier done the same.
The sacrilege he was
committing by banning the photos of the Dalai Lama and even the utterance of his name in
the premises of his cult kingdom. It is an unheard piece of news which every Tibetan will
condemn with the severest indiction. The motivation behind this act was, he was now
planning to wean away innocent, unsuspecting, young minds towards his cultist school
called the “New Kadampa Tradition” which imposes a ban on Tibet’s Spiritual and
Temporal leader the Dalai Lama and thus undermine his authority even in the exile
community. His single minded motivation now is to undermine the authority of the Dalai
Lama and maroon the Tibetan people. This is unacceptable to the six million Tibetans and
we will challenge him for this.
In his apparent
ecstasy, he even disowns being a Tibetan and works against the very people where he was
Therefore, all those connected with Sera Je College, lamas and
tulkus, abbots, former executives, senior and junior geshes, together
with the leaders of the individual khangtsen [regional houses], all
together, in agreement, with one voice, hereby proclaim that on this
day, August 22, 1996, Kelsang Gyatso, the one with broken commitments
and wrong view, is cast out with the "ritual nine expulsions," and is
thereby banished from this place, and the being a part of the rule of
This means that we request all of our brothers and sisters, the
Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet, to completely sever any
relationship with him."
Many are likely repulsed by NKT's role to lead Shugdenites against the Dalai Lama.
"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 is challenging the
Dalai Lama's moral authority on the international stage." (Mike Wilson, Schisms, murder, and hungry ghosts in Shangra-La. (internal
conflicts in Tibetan Buddhist sect), Spring 1999, Association for Religion and Intellectual Life)
"Three members of the Dalai Lama's inner circle were brutally slain on the night of Feb 4 in a bedroom just a few hundred yards from His Holiness's exile residence in the northern Indian city of Dharmsala. The next morning monks found the Dalai Lama's close friend and confidant 70-year-old Lobsang Gyatso, dead on his bed. Two young monks, Nagawang Lodoe and the Dalai Lama's Chinese-language interpreter, Lobsang Nagwang, died within hours of the attack. Each victim had been stabbed 15 to 20 times, leaving the walls of the small monk's chamber splattered with blood...Now Indian police believe the murders were committed by an obscure Buddhist sect that takes its name and inspiration from a minor but ferocious Tibetan deity: the Dorje Shugden...The Shugdens worship a god who is often depicted wearing necklaces of human heads - symbols of conquered vices and transgressions. He is a sword-wielding warrior figure, riding a snow lion through a sea of boiling blood." (Newsweek, 1997)
A consequence of NKT hysteria?
Genuine Buddhism is hard to find inside NKT. Kelsang Gyatso has little credibility and is harming Dharma, his followers and the rest of us with his unholy mission.