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Nick Gillespie Offering Fruit to Kelsang Dekyong
(in line to become NKT's ruler in 4 years)


Nick Gillespie, NKT 'Kadam', resident teacher and new center developer, is conducting retreats based on Kelsang Gyatso's spring 2009 festival 'teachings' about Buddha Maitreya (the Buddha of loving kindness, an enigma inside NKT).

(Maitreya mythology is the subject of much folklore these days, many claiming to be Maitreya, e.g., L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame. NKT sees Kelsang Gyatso as an emanation of Buddha Maitreya. Should we expect NKT protest rallies against Scientology?)

Buddha Maitreya


Disheveled Nick Gillespie at Retreat


Nick Gillespie read from a NKT sadhana, The Yoga of Buddha Maitreya, cracked jokes, praised unquestioning faith in Kelsang Gyatso and directed Maitreya visualizations and meditations (for the tantric visualizations, attendees studied color pictures of Maitreya as Nick Gillespie read Kelsang Gyatso's version of Maitreya which happens to exclude the essence and purpose of Buddha Maitreya, the future Buddha of this world who will arrive after the teachings of Shakyamuni are completely forgotten).

Nick Gillespie promised that everyone would be changed forever by his teaching (noting that he took notes feverishly at the spring festival only to find that what Kelsang Gyatso said was already contained in NKT's Maitreya sadhana published in 2008). Nick also claimed that Kelsang Gyatso is an emanation of Buddha Maitreya, that he is the one giving the world the most help, that he is the most obvious candidate for a living Buddha Maitreya.

According to Nick Gillespie,

"You're going to fall in love with this practice (NKT's Maitreya sadhana). Very short.

Tantra is defined as bringing a future result into the present moment. Even sports people have this same process. If you studied theories of sports psychology, they're all practicing tantra. It's fun, so much fun, to identify with being a Buddha.

You could have such a fun day today. Imagine that today all your ordinariness is going away. Everything problematic is going to go away. All the things you normally see are going to go away. In the space of all that comes from the disappearance of the things you normally see, you are going to become an absolutely unbelievably beautiful you. Unblemished Buddha you. We have perfect conditions today to play in that mandala. This land (you are on) will become a celestial palace very soon (a promise of his for over 5 years). Tell your mum you pretended to be a Buddha all day.

(Talking of Kelsang Gyatso's books) these will get you in line (to become a Buddha). This stuff will make you a Buddha. If you do not want to be a Buddha do not start this practice. It is powerful stuff. The key to all of this is wanting it. When you really want something there is not one part of you that won't go to the end of the earth to get it. (he joked that generally we want a person, wink wink) Getting there is easy. It's the wanting it that's the complicated part.

It's been very interesting watching Geshe-la for 25 years. He has quintessentially simplified the teachings down to really memorable sound bites. It can be very elaborate and complex to get your head around the early books and very technical meditations (speaking about the source works of Atisha, Tsongkhapa etc). But, it's so simple now. It's an uncommon path to quickly attain enlightenment that we cannot find in other traditions.

We western people have a big problem with relying on a spiritual guide thing. We have a tendency to over hype and act unnaturally in the presence of what we perceive to be a holy being.

I've been thinking about this for the last year. Why do we want to believe? We bind to hype, don't we?

Geshe-la says, "Please don't hype anything up. Have deep faith inside your mind but physically and verbally just keep everything very normal." (is this why NKTites have so dramatically slowed down their attacks against Buddhists, or are they simply regrouping and replenishing their funds to attack once again?)

Geshe-la says, "Tibetan and western students are very different. The Dharma is the same but the presentation is very different. Westerners are very practical. In general, it is not easy to change the presentation of Dharma but fortunately it came naturally to me."

The Tibetan monastic situation is so very different. We are so different to them. Geshe-la is such a master in understanding where we are at. This is an incredibly beautiful practice, so short for us busy western people. So much space for us go go into the feelings. He's made everything so simple, so quintessential.

He's become very flexible in the way he's done things recently. You couldn't make this (Buddhism) shorter. It's just not possible. Any shorter and we would just breathe.

He's got our number. We are lucky he's got our number. We are lucky that we got this spiritual guide because he made our spiritual life very compatible with us.

He's not representing the Tibetan manner of spiritual life to us western people because there you have to jump through hoops to get there.

He presents the Dharma we need in exactly the way we need it.

Geshe-la said, "Je Tsongkhapa came into my heart to help me teach Dharma."

He says, "Don't be freaked out. Of course sometimes it does not work. It doesn't matter if we don't get quick results.""

The devotion to Kelsang Gyatso is absolute. Whatever he says is absolute truth, his simplified sound bites more profound and productive than the teachings of all other Buddhist teachers (we have learned from NKT's protest rallies and Internet attacks, anyone who questions Kelsang Gyatso is a liar).

Poignantly, this is the essential promise of NKT, sound-bite promises that after all the festivals, all the proprietary books, all the faith, all the ordinations, and all the protests and ridicule of NKT survivors have never worked. Even after over 25 years of promises and no one has yet attained enlightenment, complete faith in Kelsang Gyatso will quickly make you a Buddha. But, don't be freaked out if it doesn't. Kelsang Gyatso has our number, and we are lucky he does. We do not have to jump through all the hoops of traditional Buddhists. Kelsang Gyatso sells the shortest and simplest path to enlightenment possible, vastly superior to all other paths. After all, Kelsang Gyatso is the Third Buddha, an emanation of Buddha Maitreya and Tsongkhapa came into his heart. And also, Kelsang Gyatso's exploitation of feelings.

Thus, many become addicted to NKT and forego lives of practicing compassion in favor of worshiping the Buddhist renegade Kelsang Gyatso, the master. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to let go of abusive relationships, and destructive not to.

Nick Gillespie's comments about the differentiation between NKT and Tibetan Buddhism is notable. Elsewhere, NKT has noted it has no affiliation with any form of Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism (explaining why all Buddhist books and scriptures are banned inside NKT other than Kelsang Gyatso's own interpretations).

According to NKT,

"The NKT is a Mahayana Buddhist tradition with historical connections with Tibet, rather than a Tibetan tradition. The reason for this is that Geshe Kelsang wishes NKT practitioners always “to present Dharma in a way appropriate to their own culture and society without the need to adopt Tibetan language and customs”. For example, we do not recite prayers in Tibetan, practice reliance on oracles, recognize Tulkus (reincarnated teachers) (interesting by the way because NKT use to be proud of its very own Shugden oracle, Kelsang Gyatso's uncle, until NKT began protesting against the Dalai Lama, inducing Kelsang Gyatso's uncle to return to India from Manjushri Center to support the Dalai Lama), do Lama dancing, or use prayer wheels, prayer flags, and so forth, which all come from Tibetan culture. Nor do we engage in any political activity whatsoever (FALSE), including Tibetan politics such as the campaign to free Tibet. The NKT follows the pure Gelug tradition that has been passed down from Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 AD) (FALSE) and whose teachings can be traced back through a line of lineage teachers to Buddha Shakyamuni himself (FALSE). Therefore, Kadampa Buddhism started in India (FALSE), spent a period in Tibet, and is now flourishing in the West (in fact, Kadampa Buddhism is Tibetan Buddhism developed by Atisha, Tsongkhapa (entirely a Tibetan Buddhist) and their Tibetan Buddhist progeny; all practitioners of genuine Kadampa Buddhism in the west derive not from NKT but from several other teachers). NKT is not accepted by many other Buddhist groups. This is the truth. In the past ten years NKT students and Centers have experienced thousands of incidents of criticism and discrimination from other Buddhist groups, especially Tibetan, in the real world and on the Internet."

Thus, NKT's battles against Tibetan Buddhism, the spiritual and temporal leader of traditional Tibet (the Dalai Lama), and schools of genuine Kadampa Buddhism and Tsongkhapa's teachings in the name of a minor angry Tibetan spirit named Shugden are preposterous. Shakyamuni, Atisha and Tsongkhapa NEVER worshiped or discussed Shugden, NKT's main practice, which seeks to export the turmoil inside Tibet and threats and acts of harm caused by Tibetan Shugdenites. Likewise, since NKT has no allegience to the Dalai Lama, whatever the Dalai Lama recommends to the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhists is irrelevant, making their intensive battle against the Dalai Lama sheer nonsense (NKT nonsense that has wrongly portrayed Buddhism around the world).

The lunch hour lasted two and a half hours. Lots of dead time, as if preparation for the $50 retreat was grossly inadequate. By the end of the 'retreat' there was much grumbling among the attendees about too much waste of time. The served food was good though. And, there was more than enough leisure time for a NKT Resident Teacher to accompany several students for their escape to the beach.

Interestingly, Nick Gillespie diverted to an interesting off-topic story about Kelsang Gyatso's misadventures of succession planning with jovial, egocentric, mildly impertinent Nick at his best (e.g., Nick expressed his desire to become a Buddha so that he too could get with the program and be memorialized in gilded statues as he is fed up with going absolutely nowhere).

From Nick Gillespie,

"We bind to hype, don't we.

Whenever Geshe-la has appointed a successor to him, and I've been around and seen them all, arise and a few flame out. Now, it's all done by committee and it's a lot more sensible. (than Kelsang Gyatso's failed practice)

Everytime I've seen someone get appointed by Geshe-la, all he wants is for someone to sort of carry on the place, you just feel this oxygen of hype blowing through the tradition. (Nick whispers on behalf of NKT insiders) 'Geshe-la's not The One. Who is it? Wow!'

I know all of these characters, in all of their flow of electricity.

(Apparently paraphrasing one of these heirs) 'Looks like there is something very interesting that the only one who gets appointed to be successor.'

But he recognized within a day, he's interesting to ask about these things. He said,

"From the moment Geshe-la said that I was his successor there was not one single person that related to me as the person I actually am. Everyone started seeing me as something that I was absolutely not."

He found that so unbelievable disconcerting and kind of frightening really that it was like a whole potato he didn't want to eat any more.

We've had our ups and downs in our tradition but now Geshe-la has appointed fixed term limits with 4 years duration and a committee of people running with power very much devolved into a group of people, very democratic, very shared out. Not The One because everytime you got The One everyone freaked out, they loved to freak out (over Kelsang Gyatso's omniscient designation).

We've tried 4 Ones and one way or another all these Ones flamed out, resigned, exploded until he (Kelsang Gyatso) realized it's not working (his purported Buddha decisions).

He's retiring. So we are just left with 4 years of him (Kelsang Khyenrab) and 4 years of her (Kelsang Dekyong) and so forth."


Nick Gillespie's descriptions deserve savoring. NKTites are binded to hype. A committee process for selecting Kelsang Gyatso's heir is more sensible than 'Buddha' Kelsang Gyatso's own selections, all of whom are characters that tended to flame out, resign and explode. Being identified as Kelsang Gyatso's heir leads to NKTites seeing this selectee as absolutely different than before his selection. Being selected by Kelsang Gyatso is disconcerting and frightening. NKTites love to freak out. Kelsang Gyatso's presumably inspired selection process did not work. (all of these descriptions apply well to Kelsang Gyatso's selections for protests and ridicule)

From NKT's Internal Rules, which NKT calls its moral discipline guide (a title compelled by internal sexual scandals by two (50%) of Kelsang Gyatso's selected heirs),

"5. General and Deputy Spiritual Directors

5§1. The NKT-IKBU shall always have a General Spiritual Director and a Deputy Spiritual Director (‘the GSD’ and ‘the DSD’), who shall each carry the title ‘Gen-la’.

5§2. The GSD shall be the Resident Teacher of the Mother Centre of the NKT-IKBU during his or her term of office. This rule 5§3 shall be effective from 1st August 2009.

5§3. The GSD and DSD shall each be ex-officio Directors of the Charity.

5§4. The principal responsibilities of the GSD shall be:
• to lead individuals and society in general into the pure spiritual paths of the New Kadampa Tradition;
• to prevent NKT Teachers and students from breaking these Internal Rules;
• to oversee and improve the spiritual development of all NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres throughout the world;
• to establish and name and authorise new NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres, on behalf of the NKT-IKBU;
• to appoint the Resident Teachers of all NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres, on behalf of the NKT-IKBU; and
• to give the Education Council a summary report of his or her activities each year, during the UK Summer Festival at the Mother Centre of the NKT-IKBU.

5§5. Only the GSD and DSD shall have the authority to grant ordination within the NKT-IKBU. Because of this, it is necessary that the GSD and DSD themselves shall always be ordained.

5§7. The term of office of the GSD and of the DSD shall be four years. At the end of his or her term of office, a person serving as the GSD shall not be eligible for re-election.

5§8. At the end of his or her term of office, a retired GSD shall normally return to his or her previous Dharma Centre, to serve as the Resident Teacher there once again. Retired GSDs may be invited to give NKT-IKBU international teachings and/or empowerments.

5§9. If the office of GSD becomes vacant for any reason (including the exceptional circumstances described in rule 7§1 below), the serving DSD shall automatically become the new GSD and vacate the office of DSD.

5§10. If the office of DSD becomes vacant for any reason, then a new DSD shall be recommended to the Members of the Charity by the continuing Directors and the main executive officers of the Charity. If the Members are happy with the recommendation and understand that such person:
• is an NKT-IKBU National Spiritual Director or a qualified NKT-IKBU Resident Teacher of any country;
• is qualified to teach both Sutra and Tantra;
• is skilled in maintaining and improving harmony and good communication within the NKT-IKBU, and good relations with the general public;
• is publicly respected; and
• cherishes the NKT-IKBU
then the nominee should be elected by majority vote of the Members of the Charity.

5§11. The DSD shall maintain positions as a Resident Teacher and a National Spiritual Director until he or she takes the office of GSD.

5§12. Elections for the offices of GSD and DSD shall be organised by the Secretary.

7. Removal of a General, Deputy or National Spiritual Director

7§1. If a GSD:
• sets a bad example, such as by breaking his or her ordination vows; or
• intentionally breaks these Internal Rules; or
• shows no interest in working for the development of the NKT-IKBU; or
• causes the NKT-IKBU to degenerate (such as by following other spiritual traditions),
then the two elected Directors and four main executive officers of the Charity may by unanimous agreement recommend to the Members of the Charity that the GSD be removed. The Members shall then have the authority to remove the GSD by majority vote.

7§2. The same rule shall apply to the DSD, except that the corresponding recommendation to the Members of the Charity shall be made by unanimous agreement of the GSD and the two elected Directors and four main executive officers.

7§3. If the officers or Members of the Charity ignore these rules 7§1 and 7§2, particularly while understanding at any time that a General or Deputy Spiritual Director has performed any of the above inappropriate actions, then it will be recognised publicly that the NKT-IKBU is spiritually impure. Therefore to protect the NKT-IKBU society from such impurity the officers and Members of the Charity must apply effort to maintain these two rules.

7§4. If a National Spiritual Director:
• sets a bad example, such as by breaking his or her Pratimoksha vows (whether lay or ordained); or
• intentionally breaks these Internal Rules; or
• shows no interest in working for the development of the NKT-IKBU; or
• causes the NKT-IKBU to degenerate (such as by following other spiritual traditions),
then the GSD and DSD shall have the joint authority to dismiss him or her."

Finding a suitable heir for Kelsang Gyatso while adhering properly to these rules would be virtually impossible.

Kelsang Gyatso's appointed heirs have included Thubten Gyatso (disavowed after sexual misconduct), Kelsang Losang (current NKT leader in Switzerland), Samden Gyatso (disavowed after sexual misconduct) and Kelsang Khyenrab, who was named Kelsang Gyatso's successor in 2007.

Kelsang Khyenrab Presenting NKT's Bible


Kelsang Khyenrab at NKT Protest Rally Calling The Dalai Lama a Liar


From NKT's Wikipedia posting,

"Kelsang Khyenrab is the current Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT and the Resident Teacher at Manjushri KMC, the Mother Center of Kadampa Buddhism. He has studied and practiced since 1980 under the guidance of his teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

In August 2001, Geshe Kelsang established a system of democratic succession for the General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU. The Internal Rules state:

5§8. The term of office of the GSD shall be four years. At the end of his or her term of office, a person serving as the GSD shall not be eligible for immediate re-election. The term of office of the DSD shall be four years.

In 2008, Gen-la Khyenrab became Acting Spiritual Director, under Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's supervision, and will assume the post of Spiritual Director in August 2009 for a four-year term."

Why can't NKT's own proprietary Buddha, Kelsang Gyatso, get it right? A financial committee selects NKT's lineageholder?

(Kelsang Dekyong (pictured in the picture above to Kelsang Khyenrab's right and in picture at the top of this page receiving an offering from Nick Gillespie) will become NKT's Deputy Spiritual Director August 2009 as Kelsang Khyenrab becomes NKT's Spiritual Director. According to NKT's rules, Kelsang Dekyong will become NKT's Spiritual Director in 4 years.)


Editor's Note:
Nick Gillespie's close friend, Lucy James, is back to teaching after being ousted by Kelsang Gyatso April 2009 for questioning his fight against the Dalai Lama (apparently her Internet duties to attack NKT critics were well received). Lucy attended NKT's spring 2009 festival.