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Two NKT Apologists

April 2019, two NKT members published their treatises to defend NKT against followers and tenents of Buddhism.

ONE. Kelsang Tsondru: Validating Kadampa Buddhist Teachings on Faith, Love & Wisdom, by Comparison with Other Buddhist Traditions (click here)

Tsondru has two targets in his 108-page missive defending NKT's fake Geshe and Buddha. The first target, Tenzin Peljor, one of many NKT survivors and a former NKT monk, has been the leading NKT target for many years (a couple months ago, Dr. Michelle Haslam, a previous NKT member, became a prominent NKT target, see this essay). Tsondru attacks Tenzin Peljor with dozens of selected quotes from works of Buddhism banned inside NKT! Even the extensive works of Tsongkhapa, founder of New Kadampa 500+ years ago and being protected only by Gyatso ACCORDING to Gyatso, are banned inside NKT though nevertheless relied upon by Tsondru. Tsondru uses techings banned inside NKT attempting to undermine Tenzin Peljor. Good luck figuring out what Tsondru is saying.

Tsondru's second target is THIS web site (this essay in particular). We cannot figure out Tsondru's point of criticism. NKT (mis) quoted Nagarjuna as "By meditating on love for just one moment we accumulate more than we do by offering food to all living beings three times every day." (in fact, Nagarjuna discussed feeding 300 monastics NOT 'all living beings' as stated by NKT, Gyatso's translating skills must have gotten rusty). The essay published here about ten years ago responded to Gyatso's message in NKT's festival graphic and stated, "Surely, feeding trillions of living beings (ie, all living beings) three times a day offers greater benefit than meditating even on love for just one moment. Without food there would be no living beings. Without living beings there would be no love." Tsondru agrees with this statement, but claims that meditating on love for a single moment would have greater benefit than saving the lives of 300 monastics!

"That is to say, while the merit accumulated by meditating on love for just one moment is greater than feeding 300 monastics thrice daily (as per Nagarjuna’s original wording), certainly the same could not also be said when every living being is so benefitted." (Tsondru)

How is a single moment of love a greater benefit than the lives of 300 monastics? Is it love to cause the death of 300 monastics? As the essayist noted, "Doing love is better than thinking about it (too easily a selfish exercise). The happiness of others is more important than our own. We should cherish others more than our self. What we do should preferentially be about elevating others, not ourselves."

Notably, Tsondru, an NKT monk, endorses starving to death 300 monastics in exchange for merely one moment of meditating on love. For just a few moments of this meditating by someone, all of NKT's monks and nuns would be terminated. NO ONE SHOULD SUPPORT TSONDRU'S DEATH SENTENCES.

An NKT survivor's response to Tsondru...

"Tsondru's attempt to explain away the claim that Kelsang Gyatso is "the Third Buddha" (LOL, yeah right) only compounds the impression of supreme arrogance these people have that NKT's phoney brand of "Buddhism" is somehow a really special new presentation of Buddhism for the "modern world". There's nothing special about it and nothing modern about it either - just watered down classical Tibetan Buddhism, complete with ritual worship of weird spirit entities rooted in medieaval Tibetan animist religion. Remember that video of Lucy James claiming that before Kelsang Gyatso and his so-called "Modern Buddhism", the only way to get to Buddhist teachings was by going and living in a cave in the Himalayas or some such nonsense? She and and rest of the KelsangBots really have no idea of the richness available in the world now of teachings and teachers of Buddhism. That's what happens I guess when you shut yourself off into a cult and only read the books written by your one supreme guru and nothing else!"

(personal note: Tsondru has posted several articles, thoughtful articles (which change with updates), at www.lifetheory.org)

Update: Tsondru has updated his criticism several times, insisting nktworld.org has no reading comprehension. Well, as usual it's the other way around. Out of 500 essays at nktworld.org, Tsondru chose one submitted nearly 10 years ago. That essay was not about Nagararjua but the quote of his guru, the fake Geshe, Gyatso wrongly quoting Nagarguna. Nagarjuna wrote about not feeding 300 monastics. Gyatso wrote about not feeding ALL living beings, which would of course leave the earth as scorched and life free as Mercury. No living beings for NKT monastics and members or to meditate on love. Tsondru should really read what Gyatso said rather than what Tsondru wants nktworld.org or its essayist to examine. Newsflash for Tsondru...this web site is about NKT, not Nagarjuna. And, Tsondru might want to consider the truly vile essays submitted here by NKT (example). nktworld.org does not believe what Tsondru says nktworld.org believes. Lastly, Tsondru is correct, nktworld.org's essayist is not supported by correct translations AND legitimate interpretations of Nagarjuna. However, Gyatso's translation and interpretation are FALSE, and this is what the essayist discused. And, Tsondru, NO Tibetan Lama in the world supports Gyatso's misquote of Nagarjuna. 99.9+% of Tibetan Lamas would support this web site and certainly do not support Gyatso or NKT. Tsondru's criticism corroborates what this web site has observed often, NKT clergy are fake and poorly trained.

TWO. Christopher Emory-Moore: Renunciation and the Householder/Renouncer Relation in the New Kadampa Tradition (PhD thesis, University of Waterloo, Canada) (click here)

In brief, Emory-Moore concluded that Gyatso abandoned Tibetan Buddhism, created vastly watered down monastic rules, markets business outlets rather than proper monastic training, NKT is unlike any form of traditional Buddhism, NKT is controversial, NKT is a global real estate empire, NKT is incendiary, NKT monetizes rather than practices, NKT relies on slave labor and government subsidy, NKT leads protest rallies against the Dalai Lama that benefit China, NKT is determined to revive Tibetan sectarian extremism...ie, what this web site has been saying since 2008 and many others have been saying since 1991.

Emory-Moore clarifies that he is biased by his NKT indoctrination since he was 11 and his mother is an NKT nun. Nevertheless, his thesis is a must-read, providing a 467-page history of NKT, relying on Buddhist teachings and teachers banned inside NKT. Emory-Moore tells us that Kelsang Gyatso was a Tibetan Buddhist for decades prior to his abandonment, his abandonment of Tibetan Buddhism and his ostracization by his Tibetan teachers and monastery.

"I was raised in a Canadian NKT community from the age of eleven and have since attended and volunteered at a number of NKT centres in Canada and abroad. Each member of my immediate family attends and volunteers at a different Canadian NKT centre. My parents have each held sponsored manager positions at NKT centres, and my mother is presently a NKT nun and Resident Teacher. I am therefore more accurately described as a “cradle” New Kadampa Buddhist than a NKT “convert.” As a disciple of the group’s founder, I have not stopped relating to Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche as an enlightened Buddha whilst performing (to the best of my ability) the scholarly criticism demanded by this project."

Emory-Moore, though supportive of NKT, concludes...."I argue that the NKT’s market-driven expansionism not only supersedes its funding of a monastic community but replaces monasticism as the principal institutional framework for renunciation in the form of full-time subsistence missionary work on the part of ordained and lay Kadampa Buddhist virtuosos...I suggest that this hybrid business model of “missionary monasticism” has been a major factor in the NKT’s external growth, producing a diverse and motivated labour force whose renunciation of economic remuneration provides the organization with the fruits of their economic production, but also in some of the movement’s more visible internal fault lines: labour shortage, turnover, and disgruntled former members....How is the traditionally monastic element of Buddhism, the soteriology of renunciation, being practiced by North American members of a new Buddhist movement that has enthusiastically embraced an expansionist business model and major monastic reform?...I argue that the NKT’s market-driven expansionism not only supersedes its funding of a monastic community but replaces monasticism as the principal institutional framework for renunciation in the form of full-time subsistence missionary work. This hybrid business model of missionary monasticism has been a major factor in the NKT’s external growth, producing a diverse and motivated labour force whose renunciation of economic remuneration provides the organization with the fruits of their economic production, but also in some of the movement’s more visible internal fault lines: labour shortage, turnover, and disgruntled former members...The New Kadampa Tradition is a prominent example of a contemporary global Tibetan-inspired Buddhist network that has enthusiastically embraced marketization and laicization...The NKT is one such movement attempting to reappropriate tradition...NKT has become almost synonymous for scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism with its role in the Dorje Shugden controversy...Gyatso and his NKT disciples, for example, have been some of the most incendiary promoters of Dorje Shugden practice and critics of the Dalai Lama...NKT spearheaded sister activist organizations based in London, the Shugden Supporters Community (est. 1996) and the Western Shugden Society (est. 2008),which led intermittent but impassioned protest campaigns at the Dalai Lama’s public appearances outside Asia...The NKT-led protest campaigns are an example of how Westerners are transforming and exacerbating the Shugden controversy...Members of the NKT have been active contributors to online pro-Shugden and anti-Dalai Lama activism...Several scholars, however, assert the inherently political nature of Shugden practice...As a wrathful protector of sectarian Geluk identity, Dorje Shugden is an obstruction to the Dalai Lama’s “efforts at forging a pan-Tibetan identity”...The claim that since its legal establishment as a British charity in 1992 the NKT has been “not Tibetan Buddhism but Western Buddhism” marks a narrative rupture from the framing of Gyatso’s first English-language book published by Penguin’s Arkana in 1984,. Titled Buddhism in the Tibetan Tradition and containing a foreword by the Dalai Lama, the book contains an editor’s introduction which states a hope that Gyatso’s text “will provide a clear and basic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism”. [Gyatso renounced Tibetan Buddhism by the time he created NKT in 1991] ...Riding his snow lion on the earth below Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka who descends from the clouds, and surrounded by NKT temples, Dorje Shugden watches over the globalization of Tsongkhapa’s pure Dharma in the embodied form of Gyatso and his new Buddhist movement. This represents a remarkable diasporic transformation of Dharma protectors in general, “a peculiarly ‘Tibetan’ dimension of Tibetan Buddhism” (Kay 2004), and of Shugden in particular – from “a kind of clan deity for the Geluk sect and for a region of Eastern Tibet” (Lopez 1998), to a universalizing agent of one Geluk lineage’s global de-ethnicization...NKT has strategically – and quite successfully in light of an impressive repertoire of properties in the world’s priciest real estate markets (e.g., Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Oslo, Copenhagen, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, London, New York City, Toronto, Sydney) – worked to cultivate another essential element of institutional expansion: money...NKT preachers are often also itinerant money collectors...The NKT is a not-for-profit charitable organization whose expansion has relied on embracing a marketization of Vajrayana religious values through the marketing and monetizing of local ritual events into institutional, and not individual, sources of revenue...Herein lies the heart of my research findings. In the NKT’s hybrid business model of missionary monasticism, NKT missions and missionary ritual regimes functionally substitute Geluk monasteries and monastic ritual regimes as institutional venues for individuals’ outer world-renunciation, a practice which in both cases is conceived as an ideal outer support for inner samsara-renunciation. In other words, preaching-centred missionizing as a revenue-generating method of building-centred expansionism not only supplants the NKT’s funding of a monastic community but replaces monasticism as the principal institutional framework for renunciation in the form of full-time subsistence missionary work on the part of ordained and lay Kadampa Buddhist virtuosos...NKT missionary monasticism is the result of Gyatso’ replacement of monasteries with marketized missions, and of trained monastic ritual specialists with untrained quasi-monastic missionaries...In a similar manner, I would suggest that the NKT can be a coercive institution for an elite quasi-monastic cadre of NKT Dharma providers (e.g., Prajna, Palden) who consent to a disciplinary regime of arduous, subsistence NKT work as guru service – predictably entailing hard work and low pay and unpredictably entailing geographically and/or bureaucratically displacing NKT-cum-guru requests or directives...The contentious aspects of the NKT’s recruitment and peer pressure tactics discussed above are partly, and perhaps largely, the result of Gyatso’ replacement of monasteries (where methods of recruitment and retention rely to some extent on coercion) with marketized missions, and the resultant largely informal carryover of high-demand monastic dynamics – namely hard work, low pay, lack of privacy, and geographic and bureaucratic uncertainty – into a Euro-North American spiritual marketplace where such anti-liberal dynamics can clash with seekers’ “self-ethic” in which “the ‘individual’ serves as his or her own source of guidance”...The NKT is a prophetic Buddhist revival movement bent on attracting new non-Buddhists to the soteriological project of samsara-renunciation – a project which, in light of the NKT guru’s sectarian supremacism, is deemed most viable within the NKT."

Looks like NKT has many more targets for frivolous litigation threats beyond its already threatened targets (survivors and ex clergy, Nick Gilespie, journalists, authors, media, this web site, The Tibet Center)...now this new PhD graduate and 20-year NKT member, his professors and university who approved his dissertation and published it on the Internet...to also attack and threaten on the Internet and in protest rallies as they have against the Dalai Lama, Buddhist teachers and Tibetan Buddhism.