Your thoughts on this the new kadampa tradition...


a simple buddhist
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augusta, ga
sorry that it has been so long since my last post, but things have been a bit hectic for me lately. i hope that all of you are doing well.

i was wondering what opinion you all have on the NKT since there are many people from england on here. i heard many interesting stories about this tradition, but i wanted to know what you guys thought about it and their actions towards H.H. the Dali Lama. if you dont know what im talking about, search this tradition in wikipedia and at the bottom, it talks about some of the controversy around this tradition. is there anyone who follows this tradition on here? i have been reading a lot of books by geshe kelsang gyatso and been attending meditation classes with people from the NKT, which is why i am asking. i have asked their opinion on the matters, but wanted to get an outside opinion.

thanks a lot guys

be well in peace
Glad you are back and doing well Toujour:)

I so love the teachings of HH the Dalai Lama. And another tradition seems superfluous. Why go running after another teacher if the truth isn't inside us? Just one more construct to reify our idea of self and push away the pain of Samasara instead of risking facing the unknown as it is.
welcome back toujour,

haven't really got much to add to previously...

I think that it may have "cult like" traits as the links on the other thread intimate. But the FWBO (another criticised organisation) was my "gate" into the teachings of the Buddha. I think examining other paths and traditions may help us to determine which is the most appropriate for ourselves at whatever point we find ourselves.

Hi all,

If you read about Lama Zopa and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a "falling out" of sorts occurred between the 2.

I'm not quite sure what exactly happened BUT I don't think Geshe Gyatso is a leader of a quasi Buddhist cult.

The FWBO is certainly not Buddhist IMO but a mixture of humanism & buddhism. When I first went to an FWBO center, I found some books with a very Anti-Christian stance, particularly scathing towards Catholicism. I don't know why they allowed this person's works to continue, but they were eventually pulled. They are not rooted in any tradition at all.

Not meant to be rude but true.

toujour... my thoughts are (having visited and spent some months with them) that they are pretty normal ppl, on the surface..,. they dig buddhism like the rest of the buddhists do...

...that said, the Dalai Lama uttered a proscription which told buddhists that the NKT was not to be considered part of the overarching pantheon... he stated this publicly, and as we know it is "unmeritorious" to defile the precious jewel of the sangha by creating bad feeling between buddhists, so, why did he say this?

well, there are three versions of the story- the first is due to ban on the worship of a character called Dorje Shugden, the second involves financial irregularities and benefit fraud, and the third, simple jealousy...

back in the day when they went out to the villiages to find the new incarnation of the old Dalai Lama, they picked both Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and the current D.L and gave them both the same training (this isn't unusual- its standard practise to take more than one boy). Eventually, they picked DL over GKD.

now, in the beginning the Dalai Lama supported Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and even wrote a few forewords in a few NKT books, back in the day... then something happened...

two monks were killed in India... a young boy and an old man... stabbed to death in a monastery... they never found out who killed them, but the rumours suggest it was the NKT who did this... before I seem like I'm going off on a tangent, I must first try to explain about Dorje Shugden, and then u will understand why the NKT were blamed for this...

Dorje Shugden is worshipped only by the NKT. I have traced this deity back to about the 13th century, before then, he does not appear. The party line is, dorje shugden is a deity of evil. He protects the dharma by killing folks...

and drinking their blood...

now, those of u who do Tibetan stuff will notice that there are a few bloodsucking demons about, skull necklaces and cups, etc, but they are not brown- they have a function- in tantra, demons remove obstacles, as we know... however, if u find a picture of dorje shugden, u will see a tower behind him, and in that tower is a brown figure...

now, in Tibetan, all our deities are either red, blue, green, white, yellow, or occasionally, black. We don't have brown ones, and for one simple reason-its the colour of poo, filth and defilement. This character of Dorje Shugden is considered to be, not a demon, but evil. And yes, there is a difference.

The worship of this deity over the years has, supposedly, been associated with much evil, namely murder. The Dalai Lama asked ppl who worship this deity to stop calling themselves buddhists.

the NKT didn't like that one bit, and so they took to the streets in Dharamsala, protesting that the DL was abusing their human rights and not allowing them freedom to practise their religion. This made buddhism look bad, and so the DL then removed them from the buddhist gang.

So, thats the first version.

the second- the NKT rose and grew at an alarming rate during the 90's, and this happenned because- all the monks claimed income support and housing benefit, and then gave their monies to the cause... in this country (england) it is unlawful for monks/nuns/priests to receive benefits, as members of a religious community ur exempt from paying council tax, but ur not entitled to any welfare benefits- ur organisation is supposed to pay ur way- the NKT didn't, they got caught, and it made them look bad. The theory goes that the DL tried to distance himself from them before the poop hit the fan, and made it just in time...

the third reason- petty jealousy... rumour has it that the DL was jealous of the NKT's rise, and decided to put the boot in, using his position to cause trouble for the NKT and GKG.

Of course, it is up to you to decide... however...

when I went to stay with the NKT, I was thinking of taking up the robes... I was advised by a person who lived there not to. They told me that this version of buddhism was not for me, although they would not say why. I of course, found this strange, as this person was a resident and had been for years.

My problem with the NKT is strictly that of practise- I don't care about politics, and my philosophy is... if it works, its good buddhism.

However, with a little knowledge of buddhism it is easy to see that the NKT's buddhism is bad buddhism. Everything is learnt via a sing-song recitation. We know this is the most effective way of impressing information on those under 25. And yes, recitation is important to many buddhists, but not quite in this way.

Those who approach NKT were, in those days, pushed into taking up the robes or becoming a residents, especially if they had money, and this is a little unethical, perhaps... personally, I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole, as their buddhism is rubbish, IMHO. There is little in the way of an introduction to buddhism -its straight onto empowerments and tantra, which is stupid.

People spend hours meditating on deities, yet they are not too clued up about the basics. To be empowered in those days cost 25 pounds each time. To be a good buddhist in the NKT, you had to do all the empowerments and buy all the books, of which there is about 50, and at 15 pound a pop this is quite a lot of money to shell out for dharma which is freely available online and in the library and via organisations like The Corporate Body of The Buddha Educational Foundation (who can be found at: )

There is an overreliance on guru and lineage (although thats a problem throughout Tibetan Buddhism, not just in the NKT) and people are told that doing things like going to the cinema or consorting with non-buddhists is bad, unmeritorious. We know that this is a tactic used by cults around the world to distance ppl from their friends and families and ensnare recruits.

So, all in, I'd say... I don't like their buddhism, I think it's watered down crap, and I think they are just a money making cult. I saw a few monks there with holes in their shoes. Nobody would buy them new ones. If you can't give ur monks new shoes but ur making such great profits, there's something up.

so... just my thoughts... if u think I'm being a savage, then pls, do some research online, have a look, but personally, I think ppl would be better off going to the library and lending a few books on buddhism than going anywhere near them...

i have been practising with the NKT for almost a year now. granted, im in the USA so not near a traditional center. the one im close to is rather small and only has one teacher. but honestly, since watching her (the teacher) over the past 10 months, asking her questions about these problems within the tradition, and going to empowerments and retreats with them, i dont know if there is anything wrong with them. now as far as the head center in england, i cannot be sure since i have yet to visit it. but i have been told about tantra and recieved my first empowerment a few weeks ago.

i am glad that i havd been given that opertunity since buddhism in georgia is very few and far between. i would have to drive to atlanta just to recieve a dharma teaching and that is 3 hours from where i live. dont get me wrong, the dharma is worth it, but i cant afford it. the NKT comes to my area to give teachings for only $7 a class. i cant help but be grateful to them for their effort in teaching the dharma. i have been practising for 2 years and with the NKT for 10 months. i have learned so much from the teacher that i couldnt have from just books. so im caught in a bit of a predicament, ya see?

any ideas? right now my options are: stay with the NKT until i can afford to go somewhere else; or stop practising with them and just go back to reading books and not having any explaination.

i have started reading about tantra and im highly interested in it. ive been taught a few slightly tantric meditations, but nothing to worry about really. just stuff on mahamudra and the empowerment meditation for buddha shakyamuni. how am i supposed to find a teacher in my area which i can afford to go to?

be well in peace
well, if you feel you need a teacher... chandrakirti says a teacher is not a necessity in buddhism, nor is a cushion, or any other thing but the mind.

in truth, the dharma is the teacher...and there is no better teacher than that.

All you need to be a buddhist, is to take the triple refuge with sincerity. Et voila. You're a buddhist.

Then- you spend some time with the basic concepts- you find out about the four noble truths, and then you learn about the five mahadanas (buddhist precepts), then you check out the doctrine of origination by dependence, then you learn about samatha (cessation) meditation.

generally a person's suffering has lessened by then, they feel liberated, and they leave buddhism behind. No big deal...

the others, of course, take it more seriously and learn about special wisdoms such as the division of the two truths and ananda, then, they practise tantra and then they create the "sambhogakaya". Then they have become quite powerful beings. But these are quite rare.

Personally, I have a problem with empowerments. My problem with tantra, and empowerments, are many, but basically, I find it a little dubious that one needs permission from another before they may practise certain techniques. There is nothing to stop you chanting pujas or sadhanas and performing recitations and visualisations all by yourself. I also have a problem with empowerments which are given for money to ppl with no real knowledge of buddhism (I don't think this is you though..?)

It is said that.... unless a person can easily enter meditative equipoise and can also generate the inner winds, tantra is useless, and is no more than a pleasant afternoon of imagining things, even if you're holding a dorje and a bell or a staff of sacred japonica. Nobody can teach you how to generate these "winds"- if you read up on the jhanas you might get lucky. Others may be able to teach you the concept- some of them can even "pass" a little of this "bright" essense onto you via touch, but it's not yours, and it doesn't last.

did buddha teach tantra? He did not. So, should buddhists even bother with tantra? If tantra means "collection of magical treatises, or spell", as traditionally this is how the word tantra is translated, then should buddhists practise magic? if, unfortunately, this kind of magic is the same as all other magics- an illusion, then should a buddhist bother with illusion? should he bother creating illusions for himself? should he participate in the delusions of others? what purpose does this illusion have? what is the goal of tantra?

well, it depends on the tantra.

Some tantras, are positive, and some work. Some tantras are less positive, and also work. Magic is magic. Yet: tantra is also a system, a visual referencing system, a neat way of absorbing concepts too. An nice easy way of getting inside your head with new ideas. That's why you practise them 21 times, or 108 times, or 1000 times, etc... you're learning, yes, but what are you learning?

For it to become real magic, the magician needs that inner power. Without it, he's just a fantasist...

Magic which seeks to make the mahamangala overflow and shower down upala blossoms upon the heads of all those who seek it is noble, though, and is a worthy endeavour.

you should do whatever you feel is best for you- tantra is fascinating, and yes, can be magic, it can bring on the mahasiddhas and make you a buddha... but.... it might not... more often than not, it doesn't, and it doesn't because people do not have the required level of concentration and inner power to do so, and because they don't really understand what it is they are trying to achieve and why. If you've got all that- good luck! It takes people years to get there, and you should consider yourself very fortunate indeed.

namaste francis,

thank you for talking with me about this. i greatly appreciate your wisdom on the subject.

i personally have been practicing for 2 years thus far, and so no, i dont think i have been able to generate the inner winds nessesary to really work with the intricate practices of tantra. but, i feel that with constant practice, i might be able to after some years. and if it helps me along the path to enlightenment, should i stop?

also, i was taught that the buddha did teach tantra in his fourth turning of the wheel of dharma. is this untrue? what have you been taught?

i dont think i need a teacher in order to become a buddha, but i know that i have learned a lot more in the past 10 months that i have been going to teachings that the past 14 months that i was practicing alone with nothing but books. dont get my wrong, the books did introduce me to the concepts and expound on them as well, but it couldnt answer my personal questions on the subject. this is why i think that a spiritual guide is definitely a valuable resource.

its just hard for someone in my area to find the dharma since i live in an area that is predominantly christian. buddhism in the south is very rare. the teacher that i go to is the only one in my area. the only other teacher really is about 3 hours away. so, i dont know what to do. i dont have a lot of options.

be well in peace
In Tibetan Buddhism, the teacher-disciple relationship is extremely important. It is said within Tibetan Buddhist that no Buddha in the past has attained Liberation without a teacher/guru. If you practice Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism you need a teacher. Period. Perhaps you have many, perhaps you don't talk to them as often as you would want. However, you need a teacher.

According to Tibetan Buddhism tantra practices were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha.

Empowerments are necessary for self-generation as the deity. Guidance in general is necessary. You can practice some forms of kriya tantra practices, such as those put out by the FPMT and other such organizations, on your own and without empowerment. However, self-generating as the deity and practicing sadhanas from the other classes of tantra, especially Highest Yoga Tantra, is dangerous, irresponsible and does not go along with either orthodox practice or teachings. You cannot engage in sadhana practice of deities such as Kalchakra, Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, etc without an empowerment. Many sites won't even give you the text without a verification that you've taken empowerment and who you took empowerment from.

I would be careful about following the advice of random people on the internet. Search for the answers yourself. Check out well known teachers and teachings. Find out for yourself. An online forum is not the best place to ask for advice. Many people have the idea that they can just pick and choose. With tantra, this is not an option. You are either a committed tantric practitioner or you are not. No two ways about it.

A great site is Buddhism - Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition

I would also be weary of the New Kadampa Tradition. I am not near any centers at all but I still manage to practice. For info on the NKT here are two sites that are critical of the Shugden practice and the organization itself.

new kadampa - Homepage

Sorry this message is a bit hurried. I'm busy at the moment so I had to put this together quickly. I hope my advice is helpful and I wish you well on your Dharma path.