BBC: An Unholy Row

June 26, 2011


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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.