New Kadampa Tradition Information

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.

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8 Responses to New Kadampa Tradition Information

  1. matthew says:

    this is all nonsense! –

    1. we are not encouraged to not read other buddhist texts

    2. there is nothing controversial about Shugden, check your lineages!

    3.people try (and often fail) at being pure dharma practitioners, we are all in samsara, and some people behave in ways we don’t like, doesn’t mean the dharma is not worth following

    4. this is just hearsay

    5. this is just gossip

    6. utter nonsense

    7. a complete lie

    8. most of the vinaya is not appropriate in a modern society.

    ex- NKT members who write this website need to get a life, and get on with their practice (whatever path they choose to follow).

  2. matthew, of course for NKT members this is nonsense but not for those who have informed themselves and started to question the NKT

    you fall into the common NKT patterns of refusing everything contradicting the own believes and attacking it to be lies and wrong

    maybe at one time you will be also an ex-member and enjoy the information delivered here and elsewhere, as long as you are not, be happy

    it is interesting that you think that the vinaya is inappropriate for our society. it follows for you also Buddha’s teachings are inappropriate for our society, because the Buddha said: as long as the Vinaya shall abide his teachings – the Dharma – will abide. if the abidance of the teachings depend on the presence of the vinaya then to applaud to the absence of the vinaya is like applauding to the extinguishing of Buddha’s teachings, isn’t it?

  3. Brian says:

    In any large organization, religious or not, there will be fall outs. The questions is, did the organization itself condone the behavior?

    I am not an NKT member, but if NKT becomes the closest center to my home I might consider joining. All NKT persons I have met seem very warm & receptive of traditions other than their own. Additionally, while there may be allegations with merit out there, I have yet to come by one. At the present moment, I am inclined to sympathize with NKT as an organization that has been given a bad name because of a few bad apples–and EVERY barrel has a few.

    Buddha spoke about Right Speech and Right Action. If there is a systemic problem within the NKT, let us all address it and work together to fix it. At this point, whether transgression were committed is irrelevant; spreading gossip will not fix anything. Working against each other will bring good to no one.

    If problems were encountered in the past, is it not wrong to dig them up again & again if the NKT is making an honest effort to correct the problems? Should we really say that the NKT is “bad”, so to speak, just because mistakes were made? We are all human.

    I made plenty mistakes growing up. In fact, I did many things that I am not proud of when I was considered to be an adult. However, I have made a real effort to change over the past 8 years and Buddhism has helped me. I hope that no one has damned me for life over my past. Unless new, current evidence of merit comes to light, I will not eternally damn the New Kadampa Tradition.

    My personal view is that we should all strive to help each other improve–as individuals and organizations of individuals–not call each other names or belittle each others’ beliefs.

  4. Brian, you sound much like a NKT person who practices what Ex-NKT call ‘damage control’. The NKT problem is not about some bad apples it is about a sick cult, with a sick structure and a misleading leadership who bends the teachings to bind members into the organisation, making them fear to leave it, and to offer all of their time, money and work for free, feeling even always to have done too less to meet the never ending demands/desires of the organisation. Ex-members can sing you songs about this damaging process…

    I am well aware that NKT members can charm newcomers to attract them, and this charming is really honest because they believe that NKT offers salvation. But they won’t tell newcomers the truths about how they really think (double truths, unspoken believes, and dishonesty are intrinsic characteristics of NKT). The skilful means to attract newcomers of Buddhism to NKT, combined with NKT’s double truths, double standards, and the dishonesty in the process of attracting newcomers of Buddhism is how we all got suck into the organisation.

    However, finally many found themselves to have been damaged by the cult-like structure and distorted version of Buddhism NKT offer. The rotten structure of NKT is very complex most newcomers of Tibetan Buddhism or Buddhism will not understand it.

    So, I, and most ex-members of NKT do not speak about bad apples but about a rotten root.
    This is our truth about NKT.

  5. Zeh says:

    Utter nonsense. You’ve probably been hurt by someone at a NKT center and is blaming the whole tradition on it. Grow up and get a life. You’d be much better focusing on your practice of the Dharma than wasting your time making up lies and misleading people. I wish you could apply the same criticism to your life and and your newly chosen tradition, are you up to it, Mr. perfect? I don’t expect you to.

    All these fights between Buddhist traditions are simply childish. Instead of focusing on what matters, people keep looking at their neighbor’s garden to see if everything is OK according to their beliefs. Learn to accept difference and stop being an extremists. You cannot help others when you barely seem to have any inner peace.

    • Zeh, utter nonsense.

      You’ve probably been lacking compassion as common by someone at a NKT center and throwing therefore the blame on others. Grow up and get a life. You’d be much better focusing on your practice of the Dharma than wasting your time making up lies and misleading people. I wish you could apply the same criticism to your life and and your newly chosen tradition, are you up to it, Mr. perfect? I don’t expect you to.

      All these fights between Buddhist traditions are simply childish. Instead of focusing on what matters, people keep looking at their neighbor’s garden to see if everything is OK according to their beliefs. Learn to accept difference and stop being an extremists. You cannot help others when you barely seem to have any inner peace.

  6. Steve Williams says:

    The ten years I was in the NKT I never met one person leaving any other tradition to join the NKT. I never heard one complaint about the way other traditions treated people in the UK. Whilst in the NKT I had so many candid conversations with people about how disillusioned they were. Since leaving I met so many other ex-NKT members. I still speak to disillusioned ”members” today. There are an unprecedented amount of ex-members unmatched by any other tradition. If this is a result of people’s personal problems how come there are not self-help groups for ex-members of other traditions. How come people from other traditions are not regularly contacting cult watching organisations like ex-members of the NKT do. Why does the NKT refuse to discuss these complaints.

    • True. INFORM, a research group on New Religious Movements, had more inquiries about NKT than about Scientology over the past years …, and there is not anything like 1100 members as with the New Kadampa Survivors Forum …

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