Maybe sometimes, but not always.
According to the monastery where he did his Geshe training, his Geshe title is fake, and his ordination vows have been broken (see Gyatso's Credentials).
His Shugden has little resemblance to the original Shugden. His claims that Tsongkhapa was Shugden contradict all Tibetan history and Tsongkhapa's own teachings. Additionally, the Shugden myth did not begin until a couple hundred years after Tsongkhapa's death. NKT's Shugden mythology began nearly 600 years after Tsongkhapa's death.
About his political fetish with Tibetan affairs, consider his statements....
"In April of this year (1996) I received many strong requests from Tibetans living in India, and some requests from Western people who have connections with Tibetans, to help them achieve freedom of worship for the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. I received many letters and much information about the ban on this practice. At the beginning I completely ignored this and I thought I would never involve myself in this Tibetan political problem.
On the other hand, I thought that if I became involved in these politics I would be criticized by many people and that even my life may be at risk, but finally I said to myself that I must stop self-cherishing and work for the welfare of these people. First, we organized to publish all the information we had received from India through many different newspapers in the United Kingdom, but no-one would print it.
After the third demonstration, I strongly requested the members of the Shugden Supporters Community to stop all political activity immediately.
...in October 1998 we decided to completely stop being involved in this Shugden issue because we realised that in reality this is a Tibetan political problem and not the problem of Buddhism in general or the NKT. We made our decision public at this time – everyone knows the NKT and myself completely stopped being involved in this Shugden issue at all levels.
This was my first experience of politics in this life. I pray that this will never happen again in the future.
However, my letter upset many Tibetan people and many Western practitioners who regard HH as their root Guru. I would like to apologize sincerely to all of them.
(but, in 2008, Kelsang Gyatso wrote....)
With regard the demonstrations, I myself and my students have not done anything wrong. We have no political aim and we are not involved in any political issue but are simply trying to prevent the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa's doctrine from being destroyed by the Dalai Lama and we are trying to prevent future problems and dangers for Shugden practitioners throughout the world.
You (Lucy James) 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 (Lucy James) 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.
I need help from you (NKT clergy and students) 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."
(Kelsang Gyatso removed Lucy James from her post as Resident Teacher April 2008 for her pointing out the truth.
The Dalai Lama is NOT aiming to destroy Tsongkhapa's tradition, the form of Tibetan Buddhism known as New Kadampa Buddhism; NKT is.
NKT, claiming not to be any form of Tibetan Buddhism, is NOT a New Kadampa Tradition, regardless of the name it has given itself.)
Kelsang Gyatso swings from calling his fight political to calling it spiritual. Twisting Tibetan spirituality and politics, he presided over the writing of two NKT political manifestos: The 'Tibetan Situation Today' and 'A Great Deception'.
For Kelsang Gyatso to claim that his protests are political BUT they are not political can hardly be a truthful position. Likewise, his position that he has little to do with The Western Shugden Society while says he is their representative can hardly be a truthful position.
Why will NKT not accept Kelsang Gyatso's words about Shugden?
"in reality this is a Tibetan political problem and not the problem of Buddhism...I thought I would never involve myself in this Tibetan political problem."
Why will Kelsang Gyatso not adhere to his own words?
Will NKT ever abandon its political struggle with Tibet and the Dalai Lama?
A follow up to this essay raised the question of whether NKT's political mission violates charity law in England, home base for NKT and its political operations. While NKT suffers not from Tibetan affairs and the Dalai Lama (to neither of which NKT holds any allegiance), NKT remains determined to undermine them. Clearly, legally and spiritually, NKT should abandon its Tibetan political goals.
About its summer festival last year purported by NKT to be a spiritual event, an attendee noted...
"I went to the festival or should I say political extremism gone mad. There were posters everywhere you looked, recruiting for the French demo against His Holiness. They were on all doors 2 a time inside and out. In all rooms, hallways. On mobile cooking points, walls and outbuildings. Even on the temple wall. The chapel was used as a meeting point. Even more posters! The walls were covered as were the doors and tables! It felt like a BNP political rally. The ordained, although they have not taken ordination vows, were sitting round tables watching videos of themselves at the demos! Attachment? Some told me they were prepared to use violence. Hatred? Why? Geshe-la wants us to win at all costs. Confusion? They have truly been poisoned. [..] I found the whole thing quite perverse. G.K giving an empowerment of Avalokiteshvara while before and after festival gathering and organising his Stormtroopers to attack the Living Embodiment of Avalokiteshvara? For an individual to use such an important time in peoples lives to suit his own ignorance I found quite disturbing and sad. With His Holiness at least we have hope for the future."
Does this face of NKT look spiritual or political to you?
As for NKT's bogus argument that it is not the WSS, even though the WSS protest rallies and other activities are led by NKT 'clergy' and PR machine, including Kelsang Gyatso and his heir Kelsang Khyenrab (pictured above under the umbrella with the presumed next NKT leader right of him in the picture; NKT's PR spokesperson is pictured in the lower picture, Kelsang Pema), note this NKT letter. Obviously, so delirious with its political fervor, NKT reveals yet another case of its self denial. Historically, NKT will come to be seen as a tragedy.