Thank you for this web site.
I have a learned much about NKT and Shugden and am delighted by the range of essays and their references. Reading the references, sometimes directly from NKT itself, is giving me balance in my practices and my understanding of my Buddhist teachings. I have experienced a leap forward along my path.
While I am not directly a follower of the Dalai Lama, his story and his mistreatment by NKT has been educational, sometimes shocking.
Better late than never, but if I would have done my homework earlier I would have avoided much pain and anguish. I may still have visited a NKT meditation center and purchased a few NKT books, but I would not have joined or assumed so blindly NKT's false promises. I recognize now that NKT's motivations and intentions are dishonorable. It now seems like common sense to say that NKT is not an honorable form of Buddhism, religion or theology. Instead, NKT shows us what we should question and avoid in our spiritual aspirations.
This web site has clarified that NKT is not a legitimate form of Kadampa Buddhism and that NKT's calling itself the 'New Kadampa Tradition' is a sacrilege and a slap in the face of Lama Tsongkhapa. NKT's "main practice," Shugdenism, is a slap in the face of Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddhists everywhere.
I am most saddened when I watch NKT's clergy and students wallow in their wrong presumptions about NKT and its founder, Kelsang Gyatso, with whom they are unfortunately infatuated. While Kelsang Gyatso may have some positive qualities, his breakaway from Tibetan Buddhism, his fight against the Dalai Lama and the Tibet Government in Exile, his instigating anger and hatred, his attacks on NKT clergy and students who have left NKT, his apparent refusal to spread compassion and contribute to charities, his consideration of his businesses as charities, his abuse of tantra, his use of a worldly spirit (Shugden) as more relevant than Buddha Shakyamuni, and his egocentric life at our expense portrays about as bad an example to follow as can be imagined.
Kelsang Gyatso's so-called 'tradition' is funneling his followers into deeper levels of samsara and further from a successful spiritual path.
Of all the insightful quotes on this web site, I found the commentary from Sera Je monastery, where Gyatso received his Geshe training though did not complete it, particularly revealing. When Kelsang Gyatso was in study, he was the closest to a practicing Buddhist in his life. His teachers at Sera Je probably know him as well as anyone, and possibly better than he knows himself.
Sera Je's comments about Kelsang Gyatso and his assault on the Dalai Lama should be required reading and discussion by anyone considering joining NKT, a renegade cult. That NKT dismisses such views as 'all lies in deference to the evil Dalai Lama' should itself reveal the darkness within NKT. That NKT falls back to banning sincere Buddhists from its centers also should open our eyes (for a recent example, click here). That NKT does not include the works of Tsongkhapa and bans the inclusion of any Buddhist teacher other than Kelsang Gyatso in its centers should raise serious questions. (CAUTION: openness by current NKT clergy and students to such views can lead to your ban from NKT and your targeting for NKT Internet attacks (click here and here for examples))
From Sera Je,
"His Holiness The Dalai Lama is the undisputed leader of the six million Tibetans and a
world renowned Buddhist leader as well as a respected statesman of great charisma for
which he was awarded the prestigious 1989 Nobel Peace Prize among many others. His
genuine concern for the welfare of the Tibetan people, the weak and the down trodden and
his teachings on compassion to bring about a more humane and harmonious world and his
call for the protection of all forms of life on our planet and their habitat in the form of what
he termed as ‘Universal Responsibility’ has caught the imagination of the world and is held
in great esteem by virtually the whole world irrespective of their religious affiliations or
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.
It is nothing but a crude form of debasing the Dalai Lama for his own selfish ends...We have nothing but pity for your ignorance...Why not mind his own business and do what he likes in his own bigoted kingdom?
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?
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.
...Kelsang Gyatso who is today a pariah in the
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 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.
He states that for the last eighteen years the Dalai Lama has done nothing!!! His hatred towards the Dalai Lama obscures him from seeing any merit of the Dalai Lama...It is not the fault of the holy Buddha, nor Lama
Tsongkhapa nor H.H.The Dalai Lama but the beholder like Kelsang Gyatso whose demonic instinct get the better of them...He is an object of pity and nothing else.
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
Dalai Lama. We believe you would trust the Chinese version more than ours and because
of this we took the liberty to quote from the Chinese communist periodical. It would be
even better if you would care to go through the whole article and you will be surprised that
even the Chinese communists have far greater respect for the Dalai Lama than cult leader
Kelsang Gyatso and his cultists in Cumbria, England!!! What’s more, if any one disagrees with his “pure” cult, he gets the boot...But with Kalsang anything goes, after all he is the “third
buddha” in the British Isles.
His venomous invectives against the Dalai Lama is unbecoming of a Buddhist...
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
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is the embodiment of
the compassion of all Buddhas, the golden flower in the land of
snows, Tibet, the form of the deity who has appeared in Tibet, the
representative of Buddha Shakyamuni, the spiritual leader of all
Buddhists in the world, and the great advocate of non-violence.
For those who come from the land of snow mountains, to find in His
Holiness our sacred source of refuge for this and future lives is
truly our inborn nature, like our eyes which give us sight and our innermost heart.
(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.
He continuously broadcasts blatantly shameless mad pronouncements,
attacking with baseless slander His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose
kindness for us, the people of Tibet, has been greater that the
Buddhas of the three times. These unimaginable statements which
defame the name of His Holiness have created an urgent adverse
situation which no Tibetan can tolerate.
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].
These days, we keep in the honored position on the crown of our heads
the instructions of our Government, the great Ganden Potrang.
Therefore, all sangha who reside here, as evidence of their
commitment not to worship the protector Dolgyal, have freely signed
such a pledge, and offered it before the clear eye of His Holiness.
Beyond that, anyone who is not blind should be able to comprehend
this with their ordinary eye of understanding and mind of attachment
and aversion; as they say, no one needs a lamp to make things clear
in the light of the sun and moon."
Many have been hurt by Kelsang Gyatso's shameful self indulgent stuggle for empire. No respected Buddhist endorses what Kelsang Gyatso is perpetrating.
Most eventually leave NKT, sometimes after substantial trauma and fear, sometimes after intervention from loved ones, sometimes after sexual abuse, sometimes after donating all their savings, sometimes expelled from NKT's government-subsidized housing or from attendance at its meditation centers, sometimes ridiculed on its web sites or in its prolific blog posts.
July 2008, the Australia Sangha Association issued this statement about the NKT protest in Sidney against the Dalai Lama,
"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.
According to our information the robed members of this group have not taken monastic vows as defined by the Vinaya which...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...For now we feel that bringing this issue to the attention of the public is the best thing we can do."