With a stroke of genius and kindness, visitors to a NKT center in England are being informed.
The following letter was distributed to visitors September 7, 2008. May the flower multiply and flourish.
Information about Bodhisattva Centre (We thought you might like to know)
The Buddhist Centre you are about to visit is one of the larger residential Centres of the New Kadampa Tradition. www.kadampa.org You may notice that the publicity for this Open Day does not mention the NKT or any Registered Charity information about the Centre.
If you commit to study with the NKT at Bodhisattva Centre you will only study the books of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The original texts they are based on are also available in many other Buddhist traditions.
You will be taught to meditate on ‘absorbing the Guru’ ( who is manifest in this life as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso) into the depths of your mind and to reinforce this meditation with the protection of Dorje Shugden in the practice of Heart Jewel (daily) or Wish-fulfilling Jewel (daily) and Kangso (monthly). This practice is the ‘essence of Kadampa Buddhism’ as taught by the New Kadampa Tradition.
The Dalai Lama has requested, in order to maintain peace and harmony in the communities of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, that practitioners of Dorje Shugden should not attend his teachings or view him as their Spiritual Guide. He has not banned the practice. This recommendation does not affect anyone in the NKT. The NKT has always emphasised its complete independence from Tibetan society even though the lineage of the teachings is given as Tibetan.
However, members of the NKT, under the name of the Western Shugden Society (WSS) http://www.westernshugdensociety.org/ have organised and paid for frequent and persistent demonstrations all over the world against the Dalai Lama accusing him of not being a Buddhist, of lying and hypocrisy.
The NKT is not allowed, under British Charity Law, to engage in political activities such as public protest. Some of the prominent members of the WSS who have been protesting are Gen Kelsang Khyenrab, Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT, Kelsang Rabten, National Spiritual Director of NKT Australia, Kelsang Pema (the main public spokesperson) personal assistant to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for more than 8 years, and the current resident teachers of Bodhisattva Centre and centres of the NKT in Bexhill, Huddersfield, Wales, London, etc as well as many residents of this NKT centre in Brighton.
In the last two years many high level teachers of the NKT have left under suspicion of sexual misconduct including Gen Samden Gyatso, the previous long term Deputy spiritual director of the NKT as well as at least two Resident Teachers of Bodhisattva Centre.
So why is the WSS protesting against the Dalai Lama’s advice at a time when Tibetans are being imprisoned, tortured and murdered for trying to preserve their own culture which includes these precious Buddhist teachings?
Is the WSS creating difficulties for the Dalai Lama in the public arena in order to deflect public awareness of internal difficulties in the NKT under the pretence of protecting the practice of Dorje Shugden practitioners?
You can contact INFORM, a research group at the London School of Economics that studies new religious movements for information on the NKT. http://www.inform.ac/
In response to sharing this letter with NKT's Bodhisattva Centre visitors for a few hours, its Resident Teacher prepared the following NKT response under Centre letterhead within 10 minutes of learning about the handout. NKT's response confims that the Western Shugden Society is indeed part of the NKT cult...
"You may be interested to visit the following websites for
further information about our Centre, our tradition - the
New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), the WSS:
Bodhisattva Buddhist Centre website: www.meditateinbrighton.com
NKT website: www.kadampa.org
Western Shugden Society website: www.westernshugdensociety.org
And www.newkadampatruth.org for information about the NKT
and our side of the story!!
If you would like to speak about any of this, or if you have
any concerns you are very welcome to contact me on
Kelsang Nyingpo (Resident Teacher)"
Nothing in Shakyamuni's teachings supports NKT's despicable conduct.
September 9, 2008, an Internet blog sympathetic with NKT's eggregious conduct responded to the 9/7/08 handout letter above (click here). Interestingly, the blog noted, "the New Kadampa Tradition and Bodhisattva Centre have not claimed to be faultless organizations...The NKT has not engaged in any political activity. As mentioned, the WSS is an independent body that is not affiliated with the NKT. Even so, WSS demonstrations are not political but are spiritual actions...It is true that Samden and two Resident Teachers of Bodhisattva Centre have left due to an inability to keep their vows of celibacy, and this is deeply regretted. Bodhisattva Centre has indeed been far more adversely affected by this behaviour than other NKT Centres...It is worth noting that, unlike many religious leaders, even within Tibetan Buddhism, Geshe Kelsang himself has never had any accusations of impropriety leveled against him in terms of his moral behavior...The overwhelming majority of the 700 monks and nuns in the NKT do keep good moral discipline...The WSS exists solely because of the actions of the Dalai Lama...Once he has lifted the ban, all WSS activities will cease...the WSS has had no choice but to act by organizing demonstrations...The Dalai Lama has brought these difficulties upon himself through his dictatorial and illegal actions." For the reply to NKT's blog response, click here.
NKT claims that Gyatso is a Buddha, meaning that Gyatso knows the future AND that he knowingly and intentionally placed heirs and monks in place to perpetrate sexual and other forms of misconduct. Interestingly, other NKT Internet posts recently denied Samden's sexual misconduct.
Once again, NKT pretends ignorance of Gyatso's command, "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." Pema (aka Helen Gladwell) has become the face of NKT's mission to derail The Dalai Lama. NKT project manager Pema is featured on NKT's explosion of youtube videos and in NKT's press interviews about its vitriolic campaign. Simply because NKT relies on a bogus mantra that it is not conducting political activity and it is not affiliated with WSS does not make it true.
Gyatso also conveniently forgets his promise to stop his protests against The Dali Lama. In 2002, Gyatso distributed his open letter to the Washington Times stating (click here), "I can guarantee that the NKT and myself have never performed inappropriate actions and will never do so in the future, this is our determination. We simply concentrate on the flourishing of holy Buddhadharma throughout the world - we have no other aim... in October 1998 we decided to completely stop being involved in this Shugden issue because we realized 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...since 1998 the NKT and myself have completely stopped being involved in the Shugden issue at any level...f you do not accept to publicly apologize and withdraw your false statements and accusations, and to print an article based on my letter as detailed in point (1), then I have no choice but to engage in legal action." Oops, there's that NKT threat of legal action again.
It remains remarkable that NKT continues to market the idea that Gyatso's spiritual guide was Trijang Dorjechang (purportedly an emanation of Atisha, father of Tibetan Kadampa Buddhism) dedicated to Tsongkhapa (father of Tibetan New Kadampa Buddhism) while asserting that NKT is independent from Tibetan Buddhism and that Tibetan Buddhism is degenerate. Gyatso effectively spits on Tsongkhapa by sacrilegously distorting Tsongkhapa's remarkable contributions and practices. Tsongkhapa had nothing to do with Shugden, instead relying on Kalupa, embraced pluralism not NKT fundamentalism, respected all forms of Buddhism not NKT rejectionism, and did not focus all devotion on one Buddhist master like NKT towards Gyatso.
As for Gyatso's purported moral behavior, how can anyone claim he is moral? Moral behavior involves much more than sexual conduct. Gyatso's campaign against The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism, Shakyamuni, individuals damaged by NKT, and the truth is a profound portrayal of immorality. On the other hand, that Gyatso is not obsessed with sexual misconduct as were his 2 previous heirs and other clergy is somewhat credible (for now). If Gyatso was moral, this web site would not exist.
NKT maintains its libelous attack of The Dalai Lama, publishing once again that The Dalai Lama is perpetrating illegal actions.
Gyatso's claim that we cannot simultaneously understand Buddhism and Christianity is priceless.