Bulletin: Changes of Spiritual Director in the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT)

There have been some recent changes to the Spiritual Directors of the New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU).  Gen-la Khyenrab has resigned as General Spiritual Director (GSD) due to poor health.  This is his letter to the managers of the NKT:

Dear Education Council Representatives and NKT Directors

It is with a heavy heart and regret that I tender my resignation as GSD.  I am unable at present to continue the duties of GSD due to poor health and I am therefore asking if you will accept this resignation.

with love and prayers
Gen-la Khyenrab

Gen-la Khyenrab’s resignation was accepted and he will be returning to his previous position (prior to becoming Deputy Spiritual Director) of Resident Teacher of Tara Kadampa Meditation Centre in Derby, UK.

We at New Kadampa Truth would like to express our deep gratitude to Gen-la Khyenrab for his kind spiritual guidance, sincerity, deep experience, and constant good humour during his years as Deputy Spiritual Director (DSD) and his eight-month tenure as GSD; and we are sad to see him go.  No doubt the students of Tara KMC will benefit greatly from his wisdom and experience, and we all look forward to receiving teachings from him again in the future. Those in North America do not have to wait long, as he is still teaching the US Festival at KMC New York at the end of this month. In accordance with Internal Rule 5.8, retired GSDs can be invited back to teach at Festivals.

In accordance with Internal Rule 5.9, the serving Deputy Spiritual Director (DSD), Gen-la Dekyong, has now automatically become the new GSD and vacated the office of DSD and of North American National Spiritual Director (NSD). Gen-la Dekyong has happily accepted this responsibility, even though it is earlier than she had anticipated. She will be moving to Manjushri KMC to begin this position immediately.

Due to the vacation of the office of DSD, in accordance with Internal Rule 5.10, the continuing Directors of the NKT-IKBU and the main executive officers of the Charity recommended Gen Kunsang of KMC Mexico to become the new DSD, and she was duly elected by a majority vote of all the members of the Education Council of the NKT. Gen-la Kunsang has the qualifications required for a DSD as stated in the Internal Rules.  She is a senior student of the NKT and has served as a very successful Resident Teacher in several countries. Prior to being elected as DSD, Gen Kunsang served as Resident Teacher of KMC Mexico and held the position of the NKT National Spiritual Director for Mexico. She is fluent in three languages — German, English, and Spanish.

Gen-la Dekyong, as GSD, will grant the empowerment of Enlightened Mother Arya Tara and give commentary to the practice at the NKT-IKBU International Spring Festival at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre at the end of May. Both Gen-la Dekyong and Gen-la Kunsang will be granting empowerments and giving teachings at the NKT-IKBU International Summer Festival in July. These are wonderful events that we can all look forward to.

Finally, the new NSD for North America (replacing Gen-la Dekyong) is Gen Jampa of KMC Texas. Gen Rigpa is the new RT at KMC California and Kelsang Norbu is the new teacher (replacing Gen Rigpa) at Drolma Center in Fort Lauderdale!

Let us know if you have any questions about any of these developments.

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6 Responses to Bulletin: Changes of Spiritual Director in the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT)

  1. It increases my faith to see the “Internal Rules” kicking in and making for such a smooth transition. It’s quite fun–hopefully more than in a geeky sort of way–to go back and read the internal rules and follow along as things work themselves out.

    Quite a bit of “musical chairs” happening as so many Teachers shift around, but without the (politcal) turmoil that we usually see with ordinary organizations (due to in-fighting, positioning, and so forth).

    Of course, our thoughts and wishes go out to Gen-la Khyenrab. Thank you for your service!

  2. Jimmy says:

    What is perhaps most uncommon about these new appointments is that the NKT has now chosen not just one but two women to guide them.

    While women have been recognized as full of spiritual potential in the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, they have been barred from positions of leadership in institutional life. Although Tibet has many highly accomplished women in its history, only some of them have been permitted any students in that patriarchy, and only very few have therefore achieved any institutional ranking or recognition.

    This may be particularly the case in the monastic tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa. Monks, nuns and lay people generally lived separately, and although there were Abbesses for the nuns, nuns were generally considered by the patriarchy to be second-class citizens, and it was unheard of for a woman to be appointed as a leader for monks, nuns and lay people. This is why it is hard to name even one famous Gelugpa female practitioner, even though there have been many deeply realized nuns and Yoginis within the tradition. Until now, women have had to hide their light under a bushel.

    This is therefore an extraordinary ground-breaking development in the history of Buddhism. All kudos to the NKT.

  3. Steve Rogers says:

    I am celebrating the holding of the Tradition by two women 🙂

  4. Bill Esterhaus says:

    Yay for Buddhist feminism!

    I love how the NKT subcribes to total equality of men and women, unlike many other religions and even other traditions of Buddhism where women are regarded as inferior somehow. These new appointments are a brave and enlightened move.

  5. crescent moon says:

    Thank you for sharing this news clearly and publicly, and in so much detail. I also am glad to see the internal rules providing stability for our tradition. As one of my sisters pointed out last week when I told her about it, it is rare for a spiritual leader to display so much forethought about the tradition continuing and flourishing without him as Ven Geshe-la showed with the design of the internal rules.

  6. Andy Park says:

    My thoughts to you Gen-la Khyenrab. May your poor health ripen upon me right now, and therefore be free from sickness and return to good health.
    My deepest compassionate wishes

    Andy

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