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As noted elsewhere here, more leave than stay at NKT.

A recent report...

"My experience of the NKT.

My experience (10 years) with the NKT leads me to believe that it is a cult. To me, the issue of Shugdan/Dalai Lama is more of a smokescreen for the real issues.

The group uses individuals to fulfill its aims, it shows little regard for the individual. You are only useful as long as you do as your asked. The line is the guru wants you to do this and it will benefit all living beings.

Teachers generally do not have much experience before they teach, They may have knowledge, but the practical experience of this knowledge is very limited. These teachers are trying to push you to enlightenment, they themselves are not enlightened. They are trying to teach you how to solve your problems, yet their lives are full of repressed problems. One week you are the best student, this often means that the teacher approves of something you have said, next week your out, because they disapprove.

They mostly show blind faith in GKG and if they say anything that he or the organization does not agree with they are removed from their position. At least 3 of the main successors of the Guru (heart disciples) were allowed to remain ordained even though the guru knew they were sleeping with other monks and nuns. They were only disrobed when this information was published on the internet. Many ordained teachers disrobe each year. The organization is empire building, a temple for every city in the world.

In this organization, you are asked to give away your wisdom and accept the wisdom of another, you are not encouraged to question in any meaningful way the teachings. You are encouraged to attend courses, festivals and other events, they all cost money. I thought I enjoyed my 10 years with the NKT, it was only when I left that I realized I had allowed myself to be manipulated, I had also manipulated others when I taught. Am I bitter now, no, would I like my mother, brother, friend to join the group, no, why, it creates more problems for people than it solves."

And, another recent report,

"I was ordained as a nun within the NKT 2 years ago in 2007 after 12 years studying and training in NKT. When I came back to Tara Centre, Dublin, Ireland, I moved in, but my relationship with the resident teacher changed.

The first thing that made me question my decision to move into the centre was doing a small job, sticking on pads to the bottom of the legs of some chairs, (so they would not scratch the floor). The resident teacher said to use glue. I said that I did not think we need to as they were self adhesive pads. There was a look of shock and horror on the other student's face just because I had questioned the teacher over such a small thing. She could not believe that I could question a request from the teacher.

Later, my brother-in-law was taken seriously ill. It looked like he was going to die that night. I told the teacher that I was going to the hospitable to be with my sister. It was clear that the teacher did not want me to go, she said I should check my motivation for going and I would see it was out of attachment for my family. She asked what use would I be to them. I went anyway.

After that, things got worse. I was called into her room and given a 3 hour talk on all my faults and (supposed) mental problems, my attachment to my family, my lack of interest in the centre, my pride and so on. She expressed her surprise that I was not crying, so I was told to go to my room and stay there until I was ready to go to the mediation room and prostrate in front of my spiritual guide and when I was ready then arise with my guru.

I went to my room, rang a friend who told me he had heard of this sort of thing been done before by some hard line NKT teachers to (fast track their student) in other words break you down and then rebuild you!. What nonsense, I now understand why so many monks and nuns leave or become unstable.

Now you would think that I would have had the sense to leave, but I did not, I believed that the teacher was doing this for my benefit. I was so conditioned to believe that she was the expert. She told me that her teacher had done the same to her. I was also afraid to because we were told that if you break your connection to the spiritual guide you would go to hell.

Thing got worse, my self confidence was at a all time low, everything seemed to be my fault. ( I rang a friend (for support) who had left a few weeks previously, he would not speak to me, even though I told him I wanted to leave, he believed I was trying to trick him back to the organization). I was not the only one having a hard time at the hands of the resident teacher.

As the centre, I was told to report to the teacher about what people were talking about in the centre. I was expected to tell people off for their behavior so that the teacher would not look bad in front of her peers.

One class was on mother's day. Some of the students missed the class and I was told to put black marks after their names, 3 or 4 black marks and you were expelled from the study program. I was also expected to tell them off for not attending the study program.

One day, I found a young girl who did some volunteer work around the centre, she was in tears because of something the teacher had said to her. When I pointed out to the teacher that she was a very sensitive person the teacher said no she is a very self cherishing ( a term used frequently in NKT centers to torture students) person! Another girl borrowed a centre pen to write with, she got a telling off in front a study class ... why? Because she was stealing ink belonging to the centre!. What nuts, I could go on more.

As for me, I decided to move to another centre in the NKT, the teacher told me they don't want you, they are taking you because they have to. ( she was saying this to a broken woman, that was doing her best to stay ordained), she said who would want someone like you in there centre. You have let everyone down you have let your spiritual guide down and lots more. As if I was not feeling bad enough.

In the end, I left the tradition, I disrobed. It has taken me two years to recover. I'm still in recovery. Thankfully I have a good family and friends and they support me.

In my experience NKT has become less democratic in the last few years. When i joined 12 years ago, the community (in each centre) was made up of 4 directors who were elected by the members of the centre, the teacher was not allow to be a director. Now, the teacher has all control and if he or she does not agree with a decision by the GKG or head teacher, they get removed. This happens so the teacher is sanctioned by the NKT and will be removed from their position if they do not agree, they are asked to vote and then told how to vote on issues within the organization."

Someone else offers explanation,

"Lets look beyond NKT and anti-Tibetan Buddhism propaganda:

The New Kadampa Tradition is the continuation and the final peak of the most conservative fraction within the Gelug school. To understand NKT one has to understand the history of Tibetan Buddhism and the history of Tibet.

Within Tibetan Buddhism the conservative fraction within Gelug school was the main opponent of democratic reforms and the ally of the aristocrats and they together were mainly the main opponents of the democratic reforms of the 13th Dalai Lama, which cut the rights of the aristocrats and gave more rights to the poor…

…and of course nowadays, since NKT has chosen to keep the heritage of the conservative lamas ‘purely’, NKT and Kelsang Gyatso are necessarily the main opponents of the 14th Dalai Lama….

The conservative fraction within Gelug school started to intertwine their conservative position in their teachings and the main point these were often issuing was, that the old time is glorious and pure and the new time very degenerated and impure, everything new is the work of the Mara (devil) and everything old is goodness by its own right.

It is in this context that worshipping of Shugden appeared and became so close to the conservatives. Not only that the 13th Dalai Lama predicted that these backward and closed (often sectarian and narrow minded) minds will lead Tibet into a catastrophe, when he actual died, the most conservative Gelug purists were able to gain more power again, and to make the controversial Shugden practice even more widespread than previously, ignoring the restrictions or prohibition of that practice by the 13th Dalai Lama. Actual it was Pabongkha Lama, the main proponent of that practice, who broke his promise to the 13th Dalai Lama, and this broken promise may have formed the basis that these power struggles and disputes did not die out and continue until today - prolonged by those who uphold his most conservative / sectarian heritage.

The predicted catastrophe finally came over Tibet and Tibetans had to escape altogether from Tibet (if they were able to escape) - no matter what faith they had. When they came to the West the most conservative Gelug fraction exported these issues to the West.

NKT’s claim Shugden worshippers would be “pure” because they do “not mix Dharma with politics” is a nice tale, but it is discordant to the facts. In fact Shugden proponents make and made politics as well and Pabongkhapa was a government agent from Lhasa, responsible for the destruction of religious artifacts of the Nyingma school and sectarian disputes.

However, though there are these power struggles, Tibetan Buddhism has really something worthwhile to offer to the world, no matter how ugly NKT show themselves.

NKT are just the peak of the most conservative branch within Gelug school with a strong tendency towards religious fundamentalism and purism. All this can be found in other world religions too, so my suggestion is to put these appearances into perspective by knowledge and understanding of the facts."


Editors Note:
Most eventually leave NKT, sometimes after substantial trauma and fear, sometimes after intervention from loved ones, sometimes after sexual abuse, sometimes after donating all their savings, sometimes expelled from NKT's government-subsidized housing or from attendance at its meditation centers, sometimes ridiculed on its web sites or in its prolific blog posts.

About an earlier essay (click here), the following comment has been made,

"You would think reading something this powerful would make anyone want to have nothing to do with the NKT. I read this post the date it was posted, and that was January 27, 2005. It took me two years even after reading something this powerful to get the courage to leave. At the time, I was so well programmed I actually got angry at the monk who posted it. "How dare he spread his lies". That's how I felt, and that's how I was trained to feel. The NKT makes themselves out to be perfect. If you don't view them as such then there is some sort of sinister motive behind it. So when I read this I just knew this person had an axe to grind, or he wouldn't dare say the things he did. This monk more than anything wanted to spare others the hellish nightmare he went through. He was very brave to say what he did. I know this post was banned at the NKTChat forum. The moderators would not let it go through. The NKT tried to keep this man from speaking because they know they have something to hide!"

A recent essay posted on this web site exemplifies NKT's ridiculous policy of banning Buddhists from its centers (click here).