Numerous organizations have denounced NKT in its war against Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, dating back to at least 1996 when Sera Monastery strongly denounced Kelsang Gyatso's unholy war.
Several others added their voices recently.
(Jun 22, 2015) – Tibet’s top religious figures have on Jun 20 condemned those among the controversial Dolgyal spirit worshippers who make false allegations and continue a hate campaign against the Dalai Lama. They made their position clear at the conclusion of the 12th Religious Conference of the Four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition held at Dharamshala, India, over Jun 18-20.
The religious leaders expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Dalai Lama for his concern for the Tibetan people and Buddhists worldwide, and for truthfully explaining the harmful effects of propitiating Dolgyal.
They pledged, under the leadership of their respective spiritual heads, to wholeheartedly follow the Dalai Lama’s advice and urged others to do the same.
More than 66 representatives from 58 monasteries and Buddhist institutes, including the Gaden Tripa Rizong Rinpoche, the Sakya Trizin, the Karmapa Rinpoche, the Menri Trizin, the Shabdrung Rinpoche, the Drukchen Rinpoche’s Representative Khenpo Tenzin and the Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche’s representative Kathok Gezey Rinpoche attended the conference, as did representatives from the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, said the exile Tibetan administration at Dharamshala on its Tibet.net website Jun 20.
(May 07, 2014) – Ahead of a visit to Frankfurt later this month by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, the DBO (German Buddhist Monastic Association) has on May 6 criticized UK-based New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) group for their planned protest against him. The DBO has accused the group of hiding its identity from its protests against the Dalai Lama which it said are aggressive and misleading, and carried out with unethical behaviour and by presenting a false image to the public.
The association said that by using un-Buddhist means, a Buddhist group was trying to cause further damage in the West to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism at a time when its teachings were under great pressure in Tibet.
The association noted that since 1978, the Dalai Lama had pointed out that the invocation of Shugden had degenerated to a cult practice with strongly sectarian characteristics; that the practice had veered farther and farther away from the Buddhist teachings, and that the spirit had been controversial since his origination in the 17th century.
The association has refuted all the allegations and claims made by the group as false, including the claim of there being four million Shugden devotees; about Tibetan Shugden devotees being excluded from medical assistance, education and the issuance of passports because of the Dalai Lama’s politics; about the Dalai Lama having banned Shugden and suppressed its worshippers; about the Dalai Lama being solely responsible for the Shugden issue, and about the invocation of Shugden being just a simple prayer for the development of compassion and wisdom.
(February 7, 2015) The Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein expresses our respect and complete confidence in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his advice on the dangerous nature of the practice of the Dolgyal/Shugden cult since 1975.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is committed to promoting reli- gious harmony and understanding among the world’s major reli- gious traditions and, mutual respect and admiration across the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Given this commitment, His Ho- liness does take a strong position when it comes to sectarian in- tolerance.
In Tibetan Buddhist history 1. The Shugden practice has a long tradition of association with extremism and sectarian disharmony with other Tibetan tradi- tions. 2. Given this history, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has advised his followers of the negative consequences of this sectarian and divisive practice. 3. In his role as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always emphasized the need to foster greater harmony and unity among all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
He has repeatedly stated, “It’s my moral responsibility to tell others what I believe to be beneficial or harmful. In the end, it’s up to each individual to decide whether or not they heed my advice.”
Since early 2014, a very sectarian group called the Internati- onal Shugden Community has been staging aggressive public protests during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visits to the USA and Europe. This group is a front organisation of the UK based New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), a religious group known to have a history of antagonism against the Dalai Lama.
This campaign against His Holiness the Dalai Lama is simply to defame the name of one of the world’s most respected spiritual leaders and the beloved leader of the Tibetan people.
What really is behind this current campaign is to undermine His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s efforts to promote peace, human values and inter-religious understanding around the world.
The NKT followers mostly non-Tibetans dressed in Tibetan Buddhist monk and nun robes have been protesting against His Holiness’ non-sectarian teachings amongst the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. (Prominent Western Tibetan Buddhist scholars have called them Cult Organisation.) They have been saying that His Holiness has banned their worship. This is absolutely groundless.
The Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein since 1996 has consciously informed our members His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice against the practice of this cult. We condemn any protests by Dolgyal/Shugden cult organizations in spreading groundless accusations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The case against NKT's professed piety and integrity is overwhelming.
The following official statements were instrumental in creating nktworld.org.
From the Tibetan monastery that Gyatso once attended but abandoned (1996),
"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.
Actions speak louder than words and we are under no illusion with
whom your sympathies are despite your statements to the contrary. The Tibetans all over the world were deeply distressed by your attempt to portray the Dalai Lama as a “ruthless
dictator” an “oppressor of his own people” and smash his International stature so that the
Tibetan struggle will be like a rudderless ship tossing helplessly in the sea of international
intrigues and treacery. From where did you borrow your vocabulary to malign the Dalai Lama? Are
they not straight from the Chinese propaganda dictionary?
...Kelsang Gyatso who is today a pariah in 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.
In his apparent
ecstasy, he even disowns being a Tibetan and works against the very people where he was
(referring to Gyatso)...Possessed by a terrible demon, without shame, embarrassment, or
modesty, he doesn't have even the slightest care or concern for any
of the commitments of the three vows [pratimoksha, bodhicitta, and
tantric] which he undertook.
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. Concerning the practice of worshiping divine
protectors at this Monastery in particular, the protector who was
directed by the previous great masters to advise, command, and look
after our Monastery is the Dharma protector Dregpa Chamsing [Dregs Pa
lCam Sring). Aside from this protector there has traditionally been
no worship of Dolgyal [Dorje Shugden].
For the future, we publicly make the strongest request to everyone
not to associate the good name of Sera Je Monastery with this holder
of broken commitments and wrong view."
The 100th head of the tradition developed from Tsongkhapa's teachings, the Ganden Tripa, head of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, said about Gyatso (1996),
"If it (Shugden) were a real protector, it should protect the people. There may not be any protector such as this, which needs to be protected by the people. Is it proper to disturb the peace and harmony by causing conflicts, unleashing terror and shooting demonous words in order to please the Dharma protector? Does this fulfill the wishes of our great masters? Try to analyze and contemplate on the teachings that had been taught in the Lamrim (stages of path), Lojong (training of mind) and other scriptural texts. Does devoting time in framing detrimental plots and committing degrading act, which seems no different from the act of attacking monasteries wielding swords and spears and draining the holy robes of the Buddha with blood, fulfill the wishes of our great masters?
The act of pronouncing one's strong faith in worldly gods is no different from publicizing your faults and downfall in your adherence to "the advice or refuge-seeking."
This demonous act of ignoring the advice of His Holiness on spiritual and temporal ground intended for the benefit of Tibetans and masterminding certain detrimental activities in finding slightest differences to your view clearly signifies ones lack of patriotism."
From the Australian Sangha Association (2008),
"Australian Sangha Association statement regarding protests at the teachings of HH the Dalai Lama:
The ASA wishes to express its dismay at the conduct of robed members of the New Kadampa Tradition, Western Shugden Society and associated organizations during the teachings given by HH the Dalai Lama on 11-15 June 2008 at Olympic Stadium, Sydney, Australia.
The Dalai Lama's teachings were attended by over 6000 people who came to be inspired by the peaceful and harmonious message of Buddhism. Instead they were met by a large, organized group of protesters dressed in monastic robes shouting slogans. Noisy public demonstrations such as these are not appropriate behaviour for monks or nuns and have brought Buddhism in this country into disrepute.
The ASA recognizes there is a difference of opinion with the Dalai Lama on various issues. It is the right of NKT and WSS members to disagree with the Dalai Lama's opinions but their disagreement should be expressed in a peaceful, respectful and reasonable manner.
Therefore, in the spirit of Dharma and in accordance with Buddhist principles the ASA would encourage the NKT and WSS protesters to request forgiveness from the Dalai Lama for their behaviour and in future to conduct themselves with humility and restraint.
And from the letter......
According to our information the robed members of this group have not taken monastic vows as defined by the Vinaya which, as I am sure you know, is the collection of teachings by the Buddha that articulate the moral discipline to be followed by the ordained community.
The Sangha is a 2500 year old institution which has always kept the Vinaya rules as its core practice. It is this moral code which is the foundation of Buddhist monasticism and adherence to it is what defines a person as a Buddhist monk or nun. It is the most important thing that we as monastics from different traditions have in common and is what enables us to come together under the auspices of the WBSC and ASA to celebrate our shared commitment to the Three Jewels.
Members of the NKT who wear robes do not follow this tradition. They have taken 5 precepts including a vow of celibacy and make 5 additional promises to behave in a manner consistent with Dharma and spiritual practice. This is indeed an admirable and praiseworthy commitment and we do not wish to imply that such practitioners are anything other than sincere and genuine in their devotion to the path. However it must be emphasised that this is not a monastic ordination according to the teachings of Buddha.
These precepts are said by their teacher Kelsang Gyatso to derive from the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra and he clearly states they are different from those found in the Vinaya. According to him a monk or a nun becomes a Bhikhu or Bhikhuni 'merely by holding these ten vows of ordination and developing a strong realisation of renunciation that is ever present in the mind.'
This definition has nothing in common with the traditionally accepted understanding of ordination and confuses the notion of a Bhikhu or Bhikhuni in the spiritual and conventional sense. From earliest times a 'true Bhikhu' has been one who realised the Dharma. However all Buddhist traditions, while fully understanding this, have always insisted on the necessity for the conventional Sangha to hold Vinaya vows properly received in accordance with the prescribed rituals.
The opinion of the ASA is that for NKT members to represent themselves to the public as authentic Buddhist monks and nuns is wrong and misleading.
One of the principal aims of the ASA is to help ensure the integrity and good reputation of Buddhism in general and the Sangha community in particular. We ourselves are not sure how to respond to this challenge but have decided to share our concerns with you. If you have some suggestions we would welcome your input. For now we feel that bringing this issue to the attention of the public is the best thing we can do."