Here the NKT office replies to the questions raised in the comments to this article on 21 May 2010 by John Swainson. Thank you, John, for the opportunity to clarify.
(Q1) Has the NKT used money from the sale of Losang Dragpa Centre (in Todmorden, West Yorkshire) for the development of centres abroad contrary to the Internal Rules?
In accordance with Clause 9.1 of LDC’s Memorandum of Association and with section 17§5 of NKT-IKBU Internal Rules, the Spiritual Director of LDC (i.e. the General Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition~International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) advised that it would be most beneficial if LDC’s remaining assets could be given to Manjushri KMC, the original “Mother Centre” of the NKT-IKBU, for subsequent distribution to one (or more than one) other Member Centre of the NKT-IKBU. This proposal was checked with the Charity Commission, explaining that Manjushri KMC is a part of the NKT-IKBU charity, and was then formally adopted by the directors and members of LDC.
In this way the requirements of LDC’s constitution and of the Internal Rules were met.
The receipts from the sale of Dobroyd Castle were donated by LDC to the NKT-IKBU charity in October 2008. They were then designated by NKT-IKBU to International Temple Project purposes, where the funds would bring most benefit. Some of the funds were used to buy a property for Hotel Kadampa Holland in January 2009, and the rest contributed to subsequent international developments, all to promote the Buddhist Faith of the New Kadampa Tradition around the world in accordance with the charitable objects of LDC and of the NKT-IKBU.
Losang Dragpa Centre (LDC) was closed only because no NKT Teacher was qualified to improve the Centre spiritually or materially, given the history of spiritual impurity at the Centre.
In general, the trustees of a charity are bound by law to strive to realize the current market value of any assets that their charity offers for sale. This is what the directors of LDC did when selling Dobroyd Castle. Professional valuations of Dobroyd Castle made in previous years were not relevant.
(Q2) Has the NKT raised money, through remortgaging properties, to finance the International Temples Project (ITP) when those properties were in need of funds for development, contrary to the Internal Rules?
Section 18§1 of the present NKT-IKBU Internal Rules says: Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres is to spread NKT Kadampa Buddhism, all the assets of these Dharma Centres shall be used only for this aim. The annual profits made by each local NKT-IKBU Kadampa Buddhist Centre shall be used for the development of that Centre, including improvements to accommodation and so forth, and any remaining profit shall be donated to the NKT-IKBU International Temples Project account of their respective country.
The purpose of this rule is twofold: (1) to indicate to the directors of each Centre that annual profits should not merely be ‘hoarded’ by the Centre; and (2) to give clear guidance as to the most beneficial way to use surplus funds to promote the Buddhist Faith of the New Kadampa Tradition in accordance with the charitable objects of the Centre.
The rule does not otherwise limit the discretion of Centre directors as to how to use their existing Centre assets to promote the Buddhist Faith of the New Kadampa Tradition most effectively.