BBC: An Unholy Row

June 26, 2011

(If the link doesn’t work see here.)

For more background information see


New Kadampa Tradition Information

September 18, 2008

A growing number of people are leaving the NKT and sharing their reasons for doing so. We hope this information can help you come to an informed decision about the kind of Buddhist organization you would be comfortable committing to.

  1. NKT students study only books written by one person, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a Tibetan monk expelled by his Tibetan monastery. Although students are not forbidden to read other books they are strongly discouraged from doing so.
  2. NKT’s main daily prayers are to a controversial deity known as Dorje Shugden. The Dalai Lama strongly discourages Shugden practices as divisive. Indeed the current protests against him by the WSS (Western Shugden Society), many members of which are high profile NKT teachers, are proving divisive and ugly, as are NKT techniques of swamping online Buddhist chat rooms and message boards with pro-Shugden and anti Dalai Lama propaganda.
  3. Two high profile members of the NKT, both serving long term as Deputy Spiritual Director at different times – Neil E. (Gen Thubten) and Steven W. (Gen Samden) – had to be removed due to sexual misconduct committed with several nuns and lay women. Both had vows of celibacy and were either deliberately misusing or misinterpreting higher tantric teachings to justify sexual exploitation of their followers.
  4. NKT has never given clear information about the two ex-deputy spiritual directors and NKT members find out through rumour and gossip, mainly at NKT festivals. They are told not to let it disturb their minds.
  5. Many other high level NKT teachers have also been involved in sexual misconduct, showing that they are poorly supported within the tradition, and many have misconceptions about what a vow of celibacy actually covers.
  6. Ex-residents of NKT Dharma centres report having been required to sign away their rights as tenants, illegally. Many were told that the centres had the right to evict them without notice, for example.
  7. It is commonly reported amongst past and present NKT members that many people who move into NKT centres give up their paid jobs to go on benefits. They then work unpaid for the centres while deceiving the welfare/benefits agencies of their status. Monks and nuns are told not to wear their robes to the Job Centre when they sign on.
  8. NKT monks and nuns are not actually ordained as monks and nuns according to a vital Buddhist text known as Vinaya. Fully ordained monks and nuns under the Vinaya have over two hundred specific vows, while NKT monks and nuns have 10 vows, several of which are very vague. Many Buddhist schools do not accept NKT ordination as valid.

Ex NKT members strongly suggest that potential new members do their own research before considering a commitment to this New Religious Movement.

Author: EKC – member of the New Kadampa Survivors.

Information about the New Kadampa Tradition and Kadampa Meditation Centers

September 14, 2008

We thought it would be important for you to know that the teaching or Buddhist Center you are contemplating visiting, or in which you are already involved, is controversial from the much broader Buddhist
perspective, and that you should know the facts and have information from all sides before you make up your mind.

Here are some main points:

  • If you commit to study with the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) at any Centre you will only study the books of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and only his books will be found in their book stores. The original texts they are based on are also available in many other Buddhist traditions, but unlike most other traditions, the NKT teachers will not encourage you to read them. The rationale the NKT uses for this is that mixing traditions will confuse you.
  • 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 either Heart Jewel (daily) or Wishfulfilling Jewel (daily); also, Offering to the Spiritual Guide (2 times per month), and Kangso, (monthly). These practices are the ‘Essence of Kadampa Buddhism’ as taught by the New Kadampa Tradition. The practice of Dorje Shugden, a deity, is in part, but only in part, at the heart of the controversy.
  • You will notice that there are no pictures of the Dalai Lama at any teaching or in any New Kadampa Tradition center, as they are forbidden. 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 of Dorje Shugden, and as such, it does not affect anyone in the NKT. The NKT has always emphasized its complete independence from Tibetan society even though the lineage of the teachings is promulgated as Tibetan.
  • The NKT claims that it does not engage in political activities, such as public protest, but it does state that they support the activities of the Western Shugden Society. However, members of the NKT, under the name of the Western Shugden Society (WSS) have organized 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.
  • Under the auspices of the WSS, many of the prominent members of the NKT who have been protesting are Gen Kelsang Khyenrab, Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT, Gen Kelsang Dekyong, National Spiritual Director of the United States, 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 the world-wide centers of the NKT.
  • 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.

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 pretense 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.

For more information you are also welcome to email:

NKT in Brazil – An Experience

November 19, 2010

I am sending this letter out to everyone I know, to the NKT, and to every cult watch organization I can find. Please forward this letter to everyone you can in order that this never happens to anyone again.

I was in Brazil working on the ITP temples project as a volunteer from September 5th until the Festival which started October 22nd.

This person standing next to Kelsang Gyatso in the photo* verbally abused the volunteer workers on the ITP Temple Project in Brazil for months. He threatened me on 3 occasions with physical violence. “If you do it like that I will hit you in the head with a hammer and you had better believe that I will do it.” He also described to me how quickly he could kill me. There were NKT members from Australia who were on the building team that were verbally abused. One woman was cornered and abused for an hour. The Brazillian construction workers were cussed at repeatedly. He told myself and another American that if we did not work the way he wanted us to we could pack our bags “and get the fuck out”. This was in the middle of Brazil, in a country where we do not speak the language. He also said this to the whole assembly of workers. People were terrified by this person. It is my understanding that this person, “Khyentse” is named Simon Beer and has a criminal background in Britain, having spent time in Prison there. He is from Manchester, and allegedly was part of a gang there.

I came to the NKT in June of this year.

I will not be going back.

My time in the NKT was very short, but long enough to see that there is a culture of verbal abuse that is accepted by the management hierarchy.

While in Brazil the monk in charge of the building project (picture attached, man to the left of Kelsang Gyatso) on three occasions threatened me with physical violence in order to “break through my self cherishing.” On one occasion he described to me how quickly he could kill me. It is my understanding from others who were on the project that his verbal assaults are typical of his behaviour, they have been ongoing for many years. The morale of the people on the building team when I arrived in Brazil was rock bottom. This person was verbally abusing people seemingly at random. Verbal threats were a daily occurance. “Who is going to get it next?” was the question every day. People were being terrorized by this mans anger and rage.

His managers, when they arrived, Rabchog and Genla Dekyong (The General Spiritual Director of the NKT), both told me that I should take it on the chin… There was no rational discussion of the possibility that his behaviour may be unacceptable.

I have found in my short experience in the NKT that any rational explanation of why one cannot attend puja, or more profoundly do certain types of work in Brazil is often met with the response that “you do not have enough faith” or “you need to do more for your guru” or some other such nonsense.

All of this is a form of abuse behavior, and complete and utter crap. This form of manipulation was manifest in Brazil, very obvious, and chillingly abusive.

The suggestion that I do not have enough faith in Buddha is so profoundly demented that it just makes me shake my head and feel compassion for those who have been polluted by the manipulative mind of control and abuse. It is a gangster mentality of uniformity, control, and manipulation.

That being said I have been so delighted to meet so many new friends from around the world. The teaching for me ultimately is the understanding that I already have all the tools I need in my own mind. I know that I simply need to continue my Zazen practice while following the 16 Bodhissattva precepts which I took many many years ago.

I have a profoundly deep respect for Kelsang Gyatso, it was delightful to meet him in person and hold him warmly in a friendly hug. It was also a blessing to give my Bodhissattva vow in his presence. Such a joy.

I will be around so to speak, not as a member of the NKT, but as a fellow Buddhist following the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni. This experience has removed all traces of any faith I had in the practices of the New Kadampa Tradition.

In emptiness there is no tradition.

P.S. This letter is being sent to everyone in my e-mail list with the attached photo, so that anyone who is in the New Kadampa Tradition, is thinking of being involved in the NKT, or is a Buddhist can read this and think twice before practicing in this tradition, or volunteering to help in this tradition. I wish all of my friends in the NKT, with a heart full of love, the best in their spiritual practice. May everyone find the happiness they seek. I have found my happiness, and it is not in the NKT.

*The photo has been removed by the blog owner for the sake of protecting the privacy of the accused person.