Reply to Matt MacCurdy’s posting

November 19, 2010.

Dear Friends,

You may have recently read an email or posting from Matt MacCurdy about Kelsang Khyentse, the Building Manager of Manjushri KMC.

We know Khyentse very well. Khyentse himself has told people that before he met Dharma, he had angry behaviour. He has said that since he met Dharma and became a member of the NKT community, he has pacified his previous anger problem and has found a peaceful and meaningful life.

Khyentse helped to build the Temple at KMC New York for many years. There were no problems and people were happy with him. Then he worked on the building projects at KMC France, KMC Germany and KMC Spain for several years – again there weren’t any problems and people were happy with him. Normally as the Building Manager here at Manjushri KMC, Khyentse works with groups of people and again everyone is happy with him. So we understand that Khyentse is telling the truth when he says that through meeting Dharma, he has pacified his previous anger problem.

Unfortunately this year in Brazil, two things happened — Khyentse had very heavy responsibility for the Temple building project with tight completion deadlines and also some people caused him to become angry. Because of this, his previous angry behaviour returned. We are very sorry that this happened.

As NKT Managers we are now asking Khyentse to please maintain a peaceful mind, and we are also trying to prevent other people from causing his anger to return. In this way we believe that such problems can be avoided in the future.

I hope this information is helpful to you,

Warm regards,

Steve Cowing
NKT – IKBU General Secretary on behalf of NKT-IKBU

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27 Responses to Reply to Matt MacCurdy’s posting

  1. Julie says:

    Thanks for posting this.

    I saw Matt McCurdy’s account on the Internet and it reminded me of the following great advice on how to rely upon our Spiritual Guide in these modern times if we all want to avoid some of the problems Mr McCurdy mentions:

    https://newkadampatruth.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/relying-upon-the-spiritual-guide-in-these-modern-times/

    including this quote by Geshe Kelsang:

    “Teachers should never show ‘I am a holy being, I am Buddha’ and so forth, and also the students should never say, ‘My Teacher is a Buddha’. This is ridiculous. Saying ‘My Teacher is Heruka’ or ‘My Teacher is Vajrayogini’ is not correct conversation! We should speak and act exactly as normal. We should respect what people in society believe. Otherwise, if we behave and react in strange ways that society does not accept, we will become isolated. They will never appreciate us. Even faithful disciples never talk like this. For example, I have many faithful students, but they never say ‘Geshe Kelsang is Heruka’ or ‘He is Buddha’ or ‘He is Lama Tsongkhapa’. They never say this. … Modern people follow the truth as they see it, so if you say ‘He is Heruka’, ‘He is Buddha Shakyamuni’, people will see contradictions and not appreciate or believe you.”

    Meanwhile I hope Matt McCurdy finds it in his heart to forgive Khyentse his transgressions and doesn’t tar the entire NKT with the same brush.

  2. Ray says:

    Some people have wondered why some leeway was left in this apology letter “some people caused him to become angry”, as if that is some sort of an excuse for Khyentse’s behavior. But I don’t read this letter like that — as Buddhists we know we are responsible for our own states of mind and others only make us angry if we have the propensity to get angry and are not controlling our minds. I think this letter is trying to take all sides of the story into account, and giving Kelsang Khyentse a little wriggle room — after all, his angry behavior has been publicly outed, and that has got to be hard for him. Many people who know him will tell you that there is a lovely side to him as well, of course, and that he can be gentle and kind. None of us would like to have our delusions on display to the public. Sometimes it is necessary though if we do something wrong, and it can be a great incentive for us to improve ourselves. I hope Matt can come to accept this apology as a genuine one.

  3. John says:

    It is normal in society that when someone has committed such acts they are suspended from their post. I appreciate giving Kelsang Khyentse some wriggle room is ok, but keeping him in his post after having committed criminal acts of threatening violence against people is surely only going to attract more criticism. Doesn’t this approach seem similar to other religous orders like the Roman Catholics handling of criminal offences by clergy?

  4. Ray says:

    Hi John, I appreciate your point but don’t you think it is worth giving Kelsang Khyentse another chance? I cannot imagine that his behavior will not now improve and his verbal abuse stop. Buddha Shakyamuni used to try and tame or cure people rather than punish them e.g. that guy who killed all those people, Angulimala. (However, if Khyentse’s behavior doesn’t change now, i would be with you on this.) All the best.

  5. friend says:

    I’d be interested to hear how it is possible, when someone has an anger problem, to prevent other people from making them angry. Please could Steve Cowing explain this point? I’ve never heard it suggested in the teachings that it should be the responsibility of those around us to prevent our anger. Try telling that to a battered wife. We all know anyone can become an object of anger, even when they’re not trying to. To suggest Khyentse’s anger is other people’s fault or responsibility is just bizarre coming from a Buddhist organisation.

    I had the experience, over a two-year period, of working closely with Khyentse. I saw every single person on the team humiliated and verbally abused on a daily basis. I myself was threatened with violence on so many occasions I lost count. Some of the threats were very explicit and included some disturbingly personal details. He would also routinely blame people for mistakes caused by his poor communication and would chastise people for answering back when he had asked them a question. To see such behaviour from a Buddhist monk was indeed saddening – it was worse behaviour than any I have ever seen even in the roughest and most degenerate circles I have been part of in the past. I was really impressed by the ability of everyone in the team to practise patience in the face of such extreme provocation. I happen to know that many of them had made a considered choice to take on the suffering happily, because of the important nature of the work, and were going out of their way behind the scenes to undo the damage caused by Khyentse’s bullying. There are many true Dharma practitioners in the NKT.

    Since every single person on the team seemed to fear him, and to accept his behaviour as an unavoidable downside of the job, and since many of these people were close friends of the NKT management, to hear Steve say ‘we know Khyentse very well’ and ‘we understand that Khyentse is telling the truth when he says that through meeting Dharma, he has pacified his previous anger problem’ is completely unconvincing and rings some alarm bells about how the management works.

    To hear that 1) Khyentse was let loose in Brazil on volunteers from the general public and 2) that he will continue to work in this position on the proviso that everyone else is careful not to make him angry(?!) is as disturbing as the experience of working with him was. These are Temples dedicated to world peace and exmplifying the Buddhist faith through public service. Please, please respect Geshe-la’s wishes.

    In normal circles an apology to Mr McCurdle from Khyentse himself might be more impressive than someone apologising on his behalf. I also read in Mr McCurdle’s account that, when told of the abuse and threats, NKT managers had told him to ‘take it on the chin’. Steve Cowing made no comment on this point. It would be great if he could consider doing so if he wishes to restore people’s confidence.

    For the first time I find myself partly agreeing with an NKT detractor and disagreeing with this site. Sorry. I think you could try a bit harder to look like you care on this one. Otherwise, considering how many sincere, humble, kind and loving people there are in the NKT who could interact with the public far more skillfully, to have people like Khyentse in these kinds of positions just looks like jobs for the boys.

    If this was the Dalai Lama’s behaviour no-one on this site would hesitate in calling a spade a spade. And if the DL’s representatives had written a response like Steve’s you’d be tearing it to shreds. We must show equanimity. Nepotism is for other organisations, not ours.

    I deeply believe in people being given the chance to keep practising Dharma and remain in the Sangha even when they have severely disturbed minds, like the example of Angulimala mentioned in an eariler comment, but why give them a position like this? If the only reason is that they get the job done, whatever the cost, then shame, shame shame.

    I have my reasons for not speaking out sooner but don’t wish to divulge them here. I also thought carefully before posting here because the last thing I wish to do is to gossip or cause division. I sincerely wish Khyentse all the best, and I too saw a very kind and light-hearted side to him. I also respect Steve Cowing’s hard work for the Dharma, and it’s great that an apology is being offered. I believe we are all trying to accomplish the same aim – to prevent obstacles to the flourishing of Dharma and benefit others. I’m just trying to point out that more honesty and realism is needed.

    Thank you for running what I’ve always found to be a very reasonable, balanced, intelligent and helpful site. You’re doing a very important job and I hope and pray that you will take these comments in the spirit in which they are intended.

  6. newkadampatruth says:

    We have included Friend’s comment above even though it contains some harsh criticism because it is clearly well considered and intended to be constructive.

    As we have said on many occasions, the NKT is not afraid to receive criticism as we are constantly learning and improving from our mistakes. This particular situation is not fully resolved yet in people’s minds, but there is no doubt that lessons are being learned, and some things will be done differently in the future.

    In general we will post comments even if we do not always agree with them as we are aiming to be as transparent as possible and allow people to express their opinions, providing they are trying to be constructive.

    It is better to have the constructive criticism here, where we can see it and deal with it, than in the various anti-NKT websites and blogs, where we have no opportunity to reply.

    In general, if you have any criticisms of people or activities in the NKT-IKBU that cannot be solved on a local level at the individual Centers, please know that you always have the recourse to contact the moral discipline guides in the NKT office, and they will do their best to help, as explained in the NKT-IKBU Internal Rules. For example, Friend, please ask these questions to the moral discipline guides directly, including the experiences you have had.

    Thank you.

  7. newkadampatruth says:

    Here is the relevant rule in the Internal Rules:

    12§2. To help ensure the purity of the New Kadampa Tradition, the Secretary and Deputy Secretary shall act as the NKT-IKBU ‘moral discipline guides’, on behalf of the members of the Education Council.

    12§3. As the moral discipline guides, the Education Council Representatives shall concentrate on the following three steps:
    (a) becoming aware of any breach of moral discipline or of these Internal Rules which has occurred, principally regarding (i) Dharma Centres, (ii) ordained Sangha, (iii) Resident Teachers and (iv) practitioners living in NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres. When any such problem is recognised, the Education Council Representatives should:
    (b) ask and encourage the Dharma Centre or individuals involved to stop their inappropriate behaviour. If they do not agree to change their behaviour accordingly:
    (c) report the problem to the GSD, and then implement any practical solution that the GSD and Education Council Representatives may together require.

  8. Jim says:

    I appreciate both a friend’s “constructive criticism” and this blog’s response because they both show me that the NKT does not want to be in the business of covering things up. The NKT has been accused of that in the past (it is still being accused of it by the “survivors”) — often unfairly perhaps, but the perception of it has damaged the NKT reputation. If the NKT lives life out in the open, in a real democratic way, its reputation will be good, as the NKT is basically a very sound organization.

    Also if people with concerns can really contact the moral discipline guides and have actual recourse to solve their legitimate problems without being brushed off — as Geshe-la does seem to be saying with that Internal Rule — this is a good way to go?

  9. friend says:

    Thanks.

    It’s reassuring to hear that the situation is still being considered.
    On reading the internal rule mentioned above, I can see that asking Khyentse to keep a peaceful mind in future is consistent with step 2 of the established procedure. I really do wish him the very best in that endeavour as his practice must clearly have been sincere at some points. It will be hard as his various roles would be very stressful by anyone’s standards, let alone someone with that degree of angry tendencies. I hope no one else will have Mr McCurdle’s experience of being abused in return for kindness, and subsequently losing a faith that once gave them happiness.

    I apologise if the criticism or questions in my post were harsh. I care about the organisation and was a bit alarmed by the wording and tone of the apology and some of the implications I perceived in it. It’s a difficult job the people in the NKT office do, though, and they give so much time and energy joyfully. My only intention was to push for clarification in order to prevent further damage to people’s minds. An underwhelming apology can sometimes be as damaging as no apology at all.

    I’ll do as you say and take my concerns elsewhere, if I take them anywhere at all. I appreciate you giving me the chance to raise them anonymously here though. Please mention them to the moral discipline guides. Please know that sadly there are many more stories like Mr McCurdle’s and mine from people who’ve come up against Khyenste. I pray the NKT will not continue to give the unfortunate impression of providing cosy unsupervised niches for people who have long since gone off the rails, at the expense of others who are sincerely trying to get on and stay on.

  10. Jim says:

    Just came across this good blog posting on a similar subject:

    https://newkadampatruth.wordpress.com/tag/tenzin-peljor/

    Can people write anonymously to the moral discipline guides?

  11. Robert Thomas says:

    I would also like to thank the Newkadampatruth team for really enabling a clear and transparent view on:
    1. Acknowledging where problems and mistakes are made
    2. What steps are being taken to limit the chances of repeating these mistakes
    3. Where there is still uncertainty about some of the things which need to be learnt.

    This shows the basis for a healthy and caring organisation which is after all essential if the precious nectar of Dharma it carries is to remain for a very long time.

    My love and prayers especially go out to both Khyentse and Matt MacCurdy.

    With very best wishes

    Robert

  12. John Swainson says:

    In 2008 New Kadampa Truth replied to a question I had raised by saying they were glad I had asked a question directly rather than them hearing it from some other source.
    I have always kept this in mind and have subsequently asked many questions directly, of both New Kadampa Truth and the NKT office.
    I have had no answers to any questions since July 1st 2010. All my posts on NKT Truth were awaiting moderation and then disappeared without response.
    The final reply indicated that my questions were being considered and there would be a reply when ‘someone had time’.
    I would suggest that five months would be a sufficient period for reflection.

    NKT Truth have, in the past, thanked me for the ‘opportunity to reply’ to questions and welcomed the ‘opportunity to clarify’.
    You now say…
    ‘In general we will post comments even if we do not always agree with them as we are aiming to be as transparent as possible and allow people to express their opinions, providing they are trying to be constructive…

    It is better to have the constructive criticism here, where we can see it and deal with it, than in the various anti-NKT websites and blogs, where we have no opportunity to reply’.

    I await your replies to the unanswered questions.

    John Swainson

    Reply from New Kadampa Truth:

    Hi John,

    The reason we do not post all your comments is not because they are prolific but because they have not all been constructive. We found the ones we didn’t post to be overly opinionated and, (apologies if we misread you), without any genuine wish to dialogue, just wanting to complain for the sake of complaining. By your own admission, you have also engaged in some actions deliberately to undermine the organization, and show no apparent wish for the organization to improve. We therefore have come to the conclusion that it might be better for all of us if we simply agree to disagree, at least for the time being.

    Thanks and best wishes,
    New Kadampa Truth

  13. dharmaprotector says:

    Here is a blog post related to this topic:

    http://puremindpureworld.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/nkt-adversity/

  14. friend says:

    The Internal Rules 12§2 & 12§3 quoted above are a wonderful idea, but in practice their effectiveness depends upon people feeling they can trust the moral discipline guides to care about the problem and take it seriously. For this to happen the NKT management needs to show equanimity and be free from cliques, and to communicate skillfully, showing a good example in order to build up people’s trust.

  15. Honest Abe says:

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

  16. Rachbear says:

    It is easy to be extreme because that is most people’s natural tendency but we can not use one person who is experiencing delusion to justify criticising a whole tradition, I can only speak from my own experience of living in various NKT centres for nearly 5 years that I have become stronger and happier and all my relationships have become deeper and richer

  17. Wishfulfilling Jewel says:

    Hello all,
    I think it’s funny that we 21st century Buddhists enjoy reading of the incredible hardships that previous practitioners overcame, sometimes even at the hands of their Spiritual Guides, but when our own hardships come we recoil immediately.

    There was Marpa famously “abusing” Milarepa to help him purify his own mind. There was also Tilopa, who had Naropa jumping into fires and off buildings!

    Yet we much prefer to read about transforming adverse conditions into the path rather than actually taking the examples of past masters to heart. When it comes to what we are willing to accept as a way of purifying our own negative karma, we’re pretty thin-skinned. We like theorizing on Geshe Langri Tangpa-like acceptance but we don’t like doing it.

    NEVERTHELESS, I also understand that Buddhadharma has to adjust itself to modern standards of behavior, and the behavior of Marpa, of Tilopa, and the behavior of Khyentse as described by Mr. MacCurdy isn’t appropriate in most modern contexts.

    I personally really appreciate everything that Khyentse has done for our tradition. He is a fearless workhorse who has gladly sacrificed his own comfort for many years for the sake of fulfilling his Spiritual Guide’s wishes. I have deep respect for him, for his devotion, and for the heavy load he has born on his shoulders for a long time.

    I also agree that his example could be a little bit better at times, especially in the context of working with and appreciating volunteers who are operating from various levels of spiritual experience. On this point, Mr. MacCurdy’s letter is hopefully a teaching for all of us.

    Would it be fair to say that both sides of this debate — both the detractors of Gen Khyentse (who want us to consider him symbolic of the overall problems within the NKT) and Gen Khyentse himself — have plenty of room for spiritual improvement?

    Finally, and I’d like to address this last comment just to the NKTers out there reading this, I think it’s so important to remember that any mistakes we make as NKT practitioners, residents, and organizers will always be blown out of proportion because of the smears that already exist against us.

    For better or worse, we’re always under the microscope. Other Buddhist traditions have had well-known monks and teachers who’ve had multiple, public sexual trysts with their students, yet they are still held in high esteem. The Dalai Lama discriminates against his own people and instigates witch hunts, yet no one seems to notice. But in our tradition, some inappropriate yelling and admittedly poor people skills immediately ends up on Rick Ross, LOL. Hey — we gotta accept it, it’s obviously the karma we’ve created in this or previous lives!

    Knowing this is all the more incentive to eradicate our bad habits and show the best example we possibly can. At least we can use the knowledge that everything we do or say will be judged more harshly as a way to grow spiritually even faster.

    Thanks, NKT Truth Blog, for trying to increase transparency. Keep up the good work, and let’s ALL admit and grow from our mistakes instead of giving in to the temptation of pretending we don’t have any.

  18. friend says:

    The fact that such an unstable person was given such a heavy load, and the fact that his destructive behaviour has been tolerated for so long because he happens to get jobs done, these things would seem to come from an attitude of putting the tradition, the temples, the external development, over everything else. If not, how was it allowed to go on so long and why has such a flimsy response been issued?
    There are also many things symbolic of what is great about the NKT, and they are on here and other sites too, but it is surely ok to point out things which seem to need to change.

    I assume we all recognise ourselves as having faults. We all need to change and we travel alongside each other helping each other to do so. It’s not necessarily negative to talk about these kinds of problems and not be in a hurry to spin them into something positive.

    We spend so much time addressing the ‘obstacles to flourishing Kadam Dharma’ that are ‘out there’, but if you ask me this kind of avoidance of change, unwillingness to admit mistakes, and prioritizing outer development over discipline and kindness presents just as great a danger to the future of our tradition. Giving unstable people unsupervised power, and piling more and more work on them while allowing them to be off the rails, using the Dharma to tell victims to ‘take it on the chin’ while deflecting all blame away from the organisation…

    Wishfulfilling Jewel, please be assured that I saw plenty of people, including myself, trying very hard to practise Geshe Langri Tangpa style acceptance. I can honsetly say i appreciated the challenge. I accepted the unpleasant feelings and used them to purify my negative karma. But I underestimated the effect it was having on me and afterwards my physical health and my practice both took some time to recover. That’s ok, my responsibility, i tried to practice and didn’t quite get it right. I’m happy to accept that responsibility. What I’m not happy to do, though, is to project that responsibility onto other, newer volunteers as though I know what’s good for them. That’s actually a shirking of responsibility – the real responsibility of cherishing others, the people who have yet to meet the Dharma, who have yet to meet Khyentse and others like him, and of being prepare to speak up and admit we as a tradition need to change our approach.
    The obvious difference with the analogies of Marpa,Tilopa etc are that they were these practitioners’ spiritual guides, not just their friends or colleagues. I don’t think the teachings tell us to treat our Sangha friends like this, or the people we work with. To do that, unless one is enlightened, would be a sign of having lost the plot to a monstrous extent. If that happened to me i think I would hope that someone would remove me from my position and encourage me to start going to some meditation classes.

  19. Jeff Webber says:

    I wanted to go on record in response to your answer to Matt MacCurdy’s posting regarding Kelsang Khyentse. Please understand everything I say comes from a good heart and my motivation is in helping to keep the NKT pure and unsullied and see it continue to grow rather than diminish.

    I understand that Khyentse has, on many occasions, demonstrated a good heart and I do not want to see him punished in any way. I would, however, like to see demonstration from him that he acknowledges his behaviour in Brazil and on other occasions is reprehensible and is unlikely to help Kadam Dharma flourish, no matter how much is said about transforming adverse conditions or accepting our own karma. I would also like him to give you an undertaking that he will stop this irrational behaviour and culture of threats of physical violence.

    On the subject of karma, I believe the issue is that Khyentse is creating a wealth of negative imprints which will ripen to cause him unbearable suffering. We all know the teachings on the result of a moment’s anger and so, it is with a compassionate heart for Khyentse, I request you not to allow this situation to continue any longer.

    My comments come from a limited experience of trying to understand and integrate Dharma into my life. In my experience of forty years within the construction industry bullying and threatening behaviour never get the work done any faster or better.

    I have a few questions that I would like answered please:

    1. If an NKT student demonstrated similar behaviour at, say, the Sumer Festival ie threatening physical violence, threatening to hit someone on the head with a hammer etc would you allow them to stay at the Festival or would you ensure they were escorted away from the Festival site?

    2. How does Khyentse’s behaviour demonstrate the integration of Buddha’s and Geshe-la’s advice of keeping a good heart? Surely, many lay practitioners look to the example of the ordained Sangha to help them with their own practice.

    3. On a similar point, how does Khyentse’s behaviour demonstrate he is following Geshe-la’s advice and wish that we take Dharma into our daily lives and let others see how it works? Surely, this type of behaviour is more likely to push beginners away from the Dharma?

    4. The story of Angulimala has been raised. It would seem to me the difference is that Angulimala wanted to change. Does Khyentse want to change?

    5. Does Khyentse’s threatening and bullying behaviour break his ordination vows?

    It is my opinion that if this matter is left undone no one will benefit, Khyense will suffer and the NKT as a whole will suffer.

    Please, as the guardians of moral discipline within the NKT, don’t be toothless tigers.

  20. Wisdom Mudra says:

    Thank you Jeff for raising your points.

    I’d also like to add to these questions with a good motivation and with a wish to improve my faith in this tradition:

    1) Do you think the moral discipline guides could acknowledge that the culture of bullying – verbally & mentally and threats of physical violence by Khyentse (and anyone else within the NKT organisation) is completely unacceptable and has no place whatsoever in all aspects of our tradition (including festival security and building management). I know this culture has taken place in the past because I have personally witnessed it and experienced it.

    2) If so, do you think they could acknowledge that Khyentse fully understands and accepts this point?

    With respect,

    Wisdom Mudra

  21. Greg Eugene says:

    Kudos to Matt McCurdy for having the courage to bring this story into a public forum and to not back down. Now that the truth is out it sounds like Khyentse has to go. It’s stories like these that hurt the NKT far more than those in charge wish to realise. Now the damage has been done. Anyone who threatens a volunteer with a hammer (or anyone else for that matter) is clearly not a Dharma practitioner. Do the right thing and set a clear example to all that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

  22. Bill Esterhaus says:

    I would request that people keep things in perspective. These are the actions of just one person, who is acknowledged to have shown a good heart (he has to me) and everyone has faults. I feel sympathy for those who have been affected – obviously mistakes have been made and what is most important is that everyone learns from them, but surely it should end there?

  23. a person says:

    I have known Khyentse since he became a Kadampa Buddhist – I believe almost 20 years now. Few people, in my view, have shown such long-term courage and devotion to their Spiritual Guide in all that time. Most people when asked to do what he has done for the sake of others have walked away. Over many years Khyentse has worked tirelessly under immeasurably poor conditions and every single person attending NKT Festivals in the past 18yrs owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his effort in ensuring not only their physical security but also the actual buildings in which we have received the Dharma from Ven. Geshe-la. Why is all that kindness being overlooked in this discussion?

    From what I have read here it is clear that he has made some mistakes and people have been hurt; given the nature of the colossal tasks he has completed for the sake of others that is not surprising but of course it is regrettable and in an ideal world should not happen; but please, please, now is the time to stop what seems to me to have become a calculated and possibly vindictive witch-hunt against one person having no basis in Dharma at all.

  24. Zopa Dechen says:

    It isn’t about a ‘witch hunt’ against Khyentse, it’s about pointing out that the conditions for work in the NKT are not kind for it’s members – that someone who has worked so long and so hard is under such stress and is not supported by the NKT in postive ways.
    Surely the way forwards is for the NKT not to push people in this way? If the Temple isn’t ‘finished’ in time, then surely there are solutions other than agression? It is this issue that is serious. What the NKT condones to ‘get the job done’. And personally, why did Khyentse’s practice not enable him to ‘take a step back’ and control himself? There are social causes to his behaviour that come from the intentions of the NKT itself. That is what is deeply worrying.

  25. william park says:

    i have now read about this situation with sadness, but i hope forgiveness and equanimity can be the primary responses here. it certainly sounds as though the monk being spoken about has had great responsibilities in the past, and for many years. it is very sad to hear that his anger has reappeared, but let us hope such a visible manifestation of it is temporary and that he can be supported in achieving peace of mind again soon!

    i do not know any of the people being spoken about, or anyone writing on this Reply, but i am trying to follow the teachings, and i hope the upset that people have experienced can fade in the memory, and i hope people can work together in harmony in the future.

  26. friend says:

    Dear Zopa Dechen, you’ve hit the nail exactly on the head for me, well said. i really hope it will be possible to look at these issues honestly, otherwise problems will continue to arise.

  27. newkadampatruth says:

    Dear Zopa and Friend,

    Thank you for your comments.

    It is not the intention of the NKT to “push people” or to “bully them”. If and when this happens, it is due to human failing, not an institutional practice.

    The New Kadampa Truth website says:

    “No one in the NKT is encouraged to work to the detriment of their other spiritual practices. Geshe Kelsang has explained that according to Je Tsongkhapa’s example there are three spheres of Dharma activity: Dharma study, meditation and Dharma work. All three must be in balance.

    Those sponsored by NKT Dharma Centers receive a monthly allotment for accommodation, utilities and food, plus a stipend. Sponsored personnel agree to work 35 hours per week, Monday-Friday or weekends as needed.

    The amount of 35 hours per week was suggested by Geshe Kelsang to allow sponsored personnel sufficient time in the week for their study and meditation programs and practice. They are under no obligation to do more hours than this.

    Sponsored personnel also accept 4 weeks of vacation per year (including Festival attendance), plus 8 public holidays. In addition to the 35 hours, if they are resident in a Centre they will also be required to do approximately 2 hours of community work per week, such as cooking and housework, making a total of around 37 hours. Volunteers can of course work for as many or as few hours as they wish.

    It is possible to gain as much personal spiritual development from Dharma work as from the other two activities of studying and meditating, as can be seen from examples such as Dromtonpa and Lam Chung. However, NKT students are encouraged to develop a stable daily meditation practice and find time for study.”

    Meanwhile, Steve Cowing’s letter says:

    “As NKT Managers we are now asking Khyentse to please maintain a peaceful mind”.

    There have been no reports that Khyentse is doing otherwise.

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