In August, a longtime member of the NKT wrote NKT about his 31 reasons for leaving NKT.
1) Samden Gyatso (the 2nd ex-national spiritual director of the NKT) had sexual relations with many women for a very long time (using tantra as an excuse), the only reason he ever disrobed is because one of the nuns tried to commit suicide after falling pregnant with his child; only then did Kelsang Gyatso do something about it.
2) The current resident teacher of Vajravarahi Centre, Gen Kelsang Pagpa, has been caught on numerous occasions watching pornography on the centre computer, he is still ordained and still teaching!
3) Lodro, the ex-teacher of Heruka Centre in London, ran off with Togme, the ex teacher of Bodhisatva Centre in Brighton; please bear in mind that they took vows of celibacy.
4) The Current resident teacher in Bodhisatva centre has just ran off with her 3rd man.
5) Kadam Lucy James from Florida in the U.S and Kadam Bjorn have been asked to step down from teaching by Kelsang Gyatso himself because they expressed concern over the protests against HH the Dalai Lama.
6) I had been removed from Amoghasiddhi Centre and was placed in Nagarjuna centre because of bad behavior and my sponsorship had been stopped. So I was stuck in a foreign country with no money!
7) At Nagarjuna Centre, the resident teacher Kadam Bridget is believed to be Tara (a female Buddha). In her flat she is allowed to eat meat and watch TV. She is the only one in the centre that can break NKT centre rules. WHY?
8) Bridget’s daughter earns £5 an hour to work in the centre cafe, and I ,up until I began receiving nothing, earned less than £1 an hour. Mind you it was voluntary, I guess if my parents were resident teachers it would be different.
9) At Nagarjuna Centre students are asked to donate to Bridget so that she can take her kids on vacation.
10) Apparently she earns £500 a month, doesn’t go to International Teachers Training, rarely attends pujas (chanting services) and often doesn’t teach her classes. Her NKT festivals, food, accommodation, childrens’ accommodation, car and husband’s accommodation are also paid for.
11) There are about 4 people at Nagarjuna Centre who were previously ordained; none of them seem to be mentally stable!
12) 2 students from Singapore at Nagarjuna Centre’s sponsorship have suddenly stopped, so they had to return to their own country.
13) Manjushri Centre was stolen by the NKT. This Legden even confirmed for me when I first found it on the Internet. It was done with sly black mail.
14) There are people in the NKT who have 'Lung' (a disease in your inner energy winds) from incorrectly practicing Highest Yoga Tantra.
15) If ever you have a problem in the NKT you are told that you are "deluded," " self cherishing," " in samsara, " " need to allow guru (Kelsang Gyatso) Buddha (Shakyamuni) into your heart, " or "not tell any one else because it could destroy peoples faith."
16) I was told that if you disrobe you will take rebirth in hell. Most traditions of Buddhism that I know don’t tell you that. In fact, every other tradition (other than the NKT) allows you to re-ordain and re-disrobe if you so wish.
17) Told not to read books other than geshe-la’s.
18) At Nagarjuna Centre there was a monk called Donwong from America who plays with dolls. He has also been found watching pornography on the Internet by a person whom I know.
19) 2 people I know will be taking ordination this year. The NKT could do with a person who refers to Vajradhara as a "blue dude" and a gay man who is terminally ill and wont take his medication because the illness comes from his mind and geshe-la’s dharma is the only cure!
20) Kelsang Osel was told by Kelsang Legden, her teacher at the time, that she should NOT have her cancer removed, but rather allow it to purify itself by letting the karma ripen. She went ahead with the surgery but before she did she left the centre in a terrible state. She is now a working nun who lives on her own out side of the NKT.
21) I was told not to speak about Kelsang Chodor, an American monk, who disrobed. He left because of an argument, not because of his health, again why did they lie.
22) At the Amoghsiddhi Centre, Kelsang Shakya, now the cafe manager (and the only person not moving out of the centre), is on a sponsored position. As a part of his sponsorship he gets accommodation and food as well as a 115-pound allowance every month. The British government launches investigation into this kind of fraud.
23) We are told that the NKT was not responsible for the demonstrations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but that the Western Shugden Society was. Sadly this is a lie. Why would the NKT pay for 1000 people’s accommodation and food and travels to the demos if they didn’t arrange them? But you can’t ask questions because you lack faith in your guru an enlightened being.
24) I had to work some times up to 50 hours of so called voluntary work at the centre. I asked for ONE DAY off and got told, NO WE DONT WANT TO MAKE SHAKYA UNHAPPY.
25) all the Buddhas are inseparable from your guru (Kelsang Gyatso) because its beneficial to believe, just as it was beneficial for certain people to believe that Samden was inseparable from Kelsang Gyatso and Kelsang Gyatso inseparable from all the Buddhas so if he wants to have sex with me it must mean that I am ready to take a consort; Kelsang Gyatso doesn’t say any thing so its fine.
26) Kelsang Gyatso asked that this year people do not give him statues as a gift but rather give him money.
27) At Madhyamaka Centre some one tried to commit suicide after being ordained for a few years.
28) At Amoghasiddhi Centre there have been 4 people who disrobed in its 3 or 4 years of existence.
29) At the demonstrations certain members of ordained sangha had to wear lay clothes in order to do security work.
30) At Gyaltsabje Centre in Sheffield the majority of the paying residents aren’t even Buddhists.
31) The NKT welcomes you with open arms but throws you out like a piece of dirt when you are of no benefit to them. They will not support you in any way, they will take your money and give you advice and if you want more advice they will take some more.
Within 48 hours of the author's blog post, NKT published its responses.
First, NKT sent an email to the author, who according to NKT "had been a resident of several NKT Centers such as Nagarjuna Center and Amoghasiddhi Center in England and Vajrapani Center in South Africa." NKT wrote, “there are deluded people in the NKT making mistakes and deluded people make mistakes continuously. If you believe that Geshe-la has created such a horrible organization and you know how to create an organization that is completely pure without any problems please do so. It would be much more beneficial for you to create your own completely pure organization that has no problems than to devote your time to criticizing other organizations who strive for purity."
NKT’s more official response was, like a press release, released on the Internet for worldwide consumption. NKT distilled the 31 reasons for leaving NKT to 1 - a purportedly false belief by an NKT monk teaching NKT residents about kinds of permitted sexual activity by NKT clergy. Continuing to ignore numerous instances of sexual abuse within NKT, NKT argues with a platitude - “NKT ordained Sangha take vows to abandon engaging in sexual activity," adding Gyatso’s 1999 ordination ceremony comment, “We cannot be like a fully ordained monk who has taken 253 vows.” In NKT’s view, NKT’s 10 vows are more than sufficient for its ‘pure tradition’ – a breakaway cult pilfering what it likes from Tibetan Buddhism and castigating everything else as degenerate.
This was it, NKT’s lame excuse responding to an array of substantial concerns about NKT's misconduct. NKT’s routine strategy - criticize the author and distort (in this case, blame the victim and distort the victim's 31 concerns into 1).
Perhaps, however, NKT accepts the validity of the 31 concerns, as they should.
...yet another remarkable NKT lame defense against serious reports of improper NKT conduct, revealing once again that NKT is unfit to be a legitimate form of Buddhism or credible venue for its so-called clergy too often linked with sexual and other forms of abuse.
Blog site for the author of his 31 reasons for leaving NKT, http://kelsangbrat.blogspot.com/
NKT web site response, http://newkadampatradition.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/nkt-ordination-and-the-vinaya/
NKT's 'truth team' published its response to all 31 reasons September 3, 2008. NKT's response was promised August 24, 2008, stating at that time that, "There are problems within the NKT. No one is trying to cover that up." Click here for NKT's response. Readers may evaluate NKT's position for themselves while wondering how NKT is representing Buddhism.
NKT's wacky response closed with, "Your former teacher Legden was sorry he had hurt your feelings and had this to say about you: “He is actually such a nice guy and was loved by most of our students. My letter to him sounds quite harsh I must admit. On the other hand, when he was going through a crisis during Spring Festival, he was quite receptive when I told him off and apparently appreciated it. It’s been my intention to help him and not to harm him in any way. I knew how much he had been wishing to live the life of an ordained person.""
Thanks, but no thanks NKT.
Aproximately 11/11/09, NKT began distributing on the Internet an apology from an ex NKT member for sharing in August his NKT experiences and observations.
His apology, according to NKT, stated...
"Dear Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and members of the New Kadampa Tradition.
I am writing this letter as an apology for my previous harmful actions against the New Kadampa Tradition and certain members of the organisation. My intentions were extremely negative and were as a result of my uncontrollable mind; I have, since leaving the NKT, been seeking psychological treatment for my negative mental state and have been diagnosed with a chronic mental illness.
I have removed my blog kelsanbrat.blogspot.co.za and have started practicing Dharma at my own pace and in my own way without belonging to a particular tradition or organization. I have contacted Kelsang Legden and Kelsang Osel and apologised for all the negative emails that I had sent regarding them."
This individual should be applauded for apologizing for his adding negativity in the world. A similar apology should come from NKT for its intentional extreme negativity insinuated into the world.
The apology does not include any statement, however, that what he reported was not true.
The apology also raises a discomforting-but-recurring theme that at least some who enter NKT are victimized by NKT.