New Kadampa Truth Website

April 13, 2009

We are happy to say that we have made the New Kadampa Truth website easier to navigate by adding sub-sections:

Tradition | Ordination | Finances | Organization | Teachers | Teachings | Other

There are also some additions and updates to the website in English, Deutsch, Español and Français.

As it says on the website:

Established in 2008, NewKadampaTruth.org (together with its associated blog) is the online service of a New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT ~ IKBU) Public Relations team consisting mainly of experienced and knowledgeable teachers and administrators within the New Kadampa Tradition.

Its primary purpose is to provide in-depth, authoritative refutation of smears against the NKT ~ IKBU for those who have read or heard defamation of this time-honored Buddhist tradition. It also endeavors to increase transparency in the NKT ~ IKBU and pass on complaints. For this reason, it invites comments and questions. People can also write anonymously and know that their questions will be heard and respected and, if wished, addressed privately and discreetly. NewKadampaTruth.org has no physical office. It is associated with and endorsed by the NKT office at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre in the UK.

If you have any concerns or complaints about the NKT~IKBU, or if you would like to report a smear, please contact report@newkadampatruth.org to communicate with the NKT ~ IKBU PR team.


Are NKT practitioners real Gelugpas?

December 6, 2008

There is an allegation about the NKT that comes up from time to time, which is that NKT practitioners are not real Gelugpas. Hopefully the following answer to this will help. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section.

(See also this latest article for answers to related claims, Has the NKT broken away from the mainstream?)

The truth is that NKT practitioners are actual Gelugpas. Those who exclusively follow Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings are called ‘Gelugpas’. The NKT is a pure Gelugpa tradition because (1) it exclusively teaches Je Tsongkhapa’s doctrine, (2) its lineage Gurus from Je Tsongkhapa onwards are exclusively Gelugpas, and (3) Geshe Kelsang’s spiritual education and root Guru (Trijang Rinpoche) are within the Gelugpa tradition.

In 1998 Geshe Kelsang stated in an interview:

“We are pure Gelugpas. The name Gelugpa doesn’t matter, but we believe we are following the pure tradition of Je Tsongkhapa. We are studying and practicing Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and taking as our example what the ancient Kadampa Lamas and Geshes did. All the books that I have written are commentaries to Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings. We try our best to follow the example of the ancient Kadampa tradition and use the name Kadampa to remind people to practice purely.”

The Gelug or ‘Virtuous Tradition’ (also known as ‘Ganden’ tradition) was founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419AD), an emanation of Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. As predicted by Buddha Shakyamuni himself in Root Tantra of Manjushri, Je Tsongkhapa appeared in Tibet, the ‘Land of the Snows’, to re-establish the purity of Buddha Shakyamuni’s doctrine by establishing the ‘Ganden’ (‘Joyful Land’) tradition.

Geshe Kelsang first introduced the title ‘New Kadampa Tradition’ to give the Centers under his spiritual direction a distinct identity within the wider Buddhist world. Although the Gelugpas were sometimes referred to as ‘new Kadampas’, the name ‘New Kadampa Tradition’ had never been used previously in a formal sense. Nevertheless, by using this title, Geshe Kelsang is making it clear that practitioners of this tradition are principally following the teachings and example of Je Tsongkhapa. The word ‘New’ is used not to imply that it is newly created, but that it is a fresh presentation of Buddhadharma in a form and manner that is appropriate to the needs and conditions of the modern world. Furthermore, by using the title ‘Kadampa’, Geshe Kelsang encourages his disciples to follow the perfect example of simplicity and purity of practice shown by Atisha and the Kadampa Geshes.

(1) The NKT exclusively teaches Je Tsongkhapa’s doctrine

All of Geshe Kelsang’s books, which are the core of the three NKT study programs, are based on Je Tsongkhapa’s commentaries to the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Vajradhara, and other great Buddhist Masters. For example:

Geshe Kelsang’s book  / Je Tsongkhapa’s book

Joyful Path of Good Fortune / Lamrim Chenmo (Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment)

Universal Compassion / Sunrays of Training the Mind (notes compiled by Je Tsongkhapa’s students)

Understanding the Mind / Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings on Commentary to Valid Cognition by Dharmakirti

Guide to Dakini Land / Be dön kun säl (Illuminating All Hidden Meanings )

Essence of Vajrayana /  Be dön kun säl (Illuminating All Hidden Meanings ) and commentary to the Heruka sadhana, Dö jo (Wishfulfilling)

Clear Light of Bliss / Lamp Thoroughly Illuminating the Five Stages

Tantric Grounds and Paths / Great Exposition of the Stages of Secret Mantra

Ocean of Nectar / Clear Illumination of the Intention: An Extensive Explanation of the Great Treatise ‘Guide to the Middle Way’

Geshe Kelsang’s remaining books come from Je Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim (stages of the path) and Lojong (training the mind) teachings, from the Ganden oral lineage instructions passed on to him by his root Guru, from the Kadam Emanation Scripture, and from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.

While the presentation of the teachings is especially suited to people in this modern world, the meaning of the teachings has not been compromised: the teachings are the same as those given by Je Tsongkhapa himself.

(2) The NKT lineage Gurus from Je Tsongkhapa onwards are exclusively Gelugpas

The NKT has an unbroken lineage of spiritual teachers from Buddha Shakyamuni to the present day. There is a pure lineage from Buddha to Je Tsongkhapa, and a pure Gelugpa lineage from Je Tsongkhapa to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (see Great Treasury of Merit p. 99-100 [Tharpa Publications]).

The lineage shows that the Buddhadharma practised in the NKT is, firstly, pure Buddhism in that it is the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni; and, secondly, pure Gelugpa in that it is the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa.

(3) Geshe Kelsang’s spiritual education and root Guru (Trijang Rinpoche) are within the Gelugpa tradition

Geshe Kelsang received his spiritual education in the Gelugpa tradition, at Jampa Ling and Sera Je Monasteries, and principally from his root Guru, the great Gelugpa Master Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, who was at one time the Throne Holder (‘Ganden Tripa’) of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition.

In addition to having been trained in the Gelugpa tradition, Geshe Kelsang has continued to follow the guidance and example of Trijang Rinpoche by devoting his whole life to promoting Je Tsongkhapa’s pure tradition, carefully basing every one of his writings and teachings on Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings, and especially by remaining uninfluenced by worldly concerns, thereby acting in accordance with the meaning of Buddha’s teachings.


Answering those who disparage the NKT ordination, Part Two

October 1, 2008

The ten commitments of ordination as practiced in the NKT have been formulated by Geshe Kelsang. They are in keeping with Buddha Shakyamuni’s advice to his close disciple Ananda:

“If it is desired, Ananda, the Sangha may, when I am gone, abolish the lesser and minor rules.”

These rules have been abolished because most of the commitments explained in the Vinaya are rules for regulating verbal and physical behavior which are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to integrate into today’s society (as you can see from below.) However, their essential meaning has been maintained.

Following on from Part One yesterday, we will now look to see how the 253 vows of a Gelong are subsumed under the more broadly encompassing 10 vows of a Kadampa monk or nun. The Sramanera/Sramanerika Precepts will be used as the reference for the novice vows, and Advice from Buddha Shakyamuni will be used as the reference for the full ordination vows.

Novice Vows

1. Abandon Killing

1. One should avoid taking a human life
2. One should avoid killing an animal or insect
3. One should avoid for selfish reasons, doing an action which may kill an animal or insect and not caring about it; for example, using water that contains insects without straining it; digging a hole in the earth without considering the creatures that might die as a result; cutting grass; overburdening an animal, which causes its death
4. One should avoid while doing something for others, doing an action which may kill an animal or insect and not caring about it; for example, splashing water which has insects on a dry place

2. Abandon Stealing

6. One should avoid stealing, taking what has not been given. This includes borrowing things and not returning them, not paying fees and taxes one is required to

3. Abandon Sexual Activity

5. One should avoid sexual intercourse

4. Abandon Lying

7. One should avoid lying in which one claims to have spiritual realizations or powers that one does not have
8. One should avoid accusing a pure monk or nun of transgressing one of the four root precepts (parajika) when he or she has not
9. One should avoid insinuating that a pure monk or nun has transgressed one of the four root precepts when he or she has not
10. One should avoid causing disunity among the sangha community through untrue slander or taking sides in a disagreement
13. One should avoid telling others lies
14. One should avoid criticizing the storekeeper in the monastery of giving more to those who are near to him or her instead of sharing them with all, when this is not the case
15. One should avoid criticizing directly or by insinuation that the storekeeper in the monastery of not giving oneself a share of the food or other things equal to that given to other monastics, when this is not the case
16. One should avoid claiming that a monastic gave a teaching in return for a little food, which is not the case
17. One should avoid criticizing a monk or nun by saying that he or she transgressed a precept in the second group (sanghavasesa) when this is not the case

5. Abandon Taking Intoxicants

20. One should avoid taking intoxicants

6. Practice Contentment

19. One should avoid covering the vegetables with rice; covering the rice with vegetables
28. One should avoid sitting on an expensive throne
29. One should avoid sitting on an expensive bed
30. One should avoid sitting on a high throne
31. One should avoid sitting on a high bed
32. One should avoid eating after midday (Exceptions: if one is ill, if one is traveling, or if one cannot meditate properly without food.)
33. One should avoid touching gold, silver or precious jewels (includes money)

7. Reduce One’s Desire for Worldly Pleasures

24. One should avoid wearing ornaments
25. One should avoid wearing cosmetics
26. One should avoid wearing perfumes
27. One should avoid wearing the rosary like jewelry, wearing flower garlands
34. One should avoid wearing lay people’s clothing and ornaments; letting one’s hair grow long

8. Abandon Engaging in Meaningless Activities

21. One should avoid singing with self-attachment or for nonsensical reasons
22. One should avoid dancing with self-attachment or for nonsensical reasons
23. One should avoid playing music with self-attachment or for nonsensical reasons

9. Maintain the Commitments of Refuge

11. One should avoid supporting someone who is creating disunity in the sangha community, taking sides in the dispute
12. One should avoid doing actions which obliterate lay people’s faith in the sangha; for example complaining untruthfully to lay people that action brought by the sangha against oneself was unfair
36. One should avoid disrespecting or not following the guidance of one’s ordination master

10. Practise the Three Trainings of Pure Moral Discipline, Concentration, and Wisdom

18. One should avoid abandoning the training, for example, rejecting the good advice of a nun or monk; criticizing the Pratimoksha Sutra
35. One should avoid not wearing the robes of a Buddhist monastic

Full Ordination Vows

1. Abandon Killing

3. killing a human or a fetus
58. destroying viable seeds or a growing thing
66. harming living beings
88. knowingly consume water containing living beings
108. killing animals

2. Abandon Stealing

2. stealing
46. changing the dedication
63. evicting
115. using without confidence
121. staying too long as a guest

3. Abandon Sexual Activity

1. sexual activity
5. intentional emission of semen except during a dream
6. coming into bodily contact with a woman
7. using sexual language
8. recommending sexual services to oneself
9. acting as a gobetween
21. giving one’s robes to a nun for washing
22. accepting cloth from an unrelated nun
34. engaging an unrelated nun to clean wool
52. teaching Dharma to a laywoman
68. teaching the Dharma to nuns without having been appointed
69. teaching the Dharma to a nun until sunset
71. making a Dharma robe for an unrelated nun
72. giving a Dharma robe to an unrelated nun
73. walking along a road with a nun
74. entering a boat with a nun
75. sitting in a solitary place with a woman
76. standing in a solitary place with a nun
77. eating food which was caused to be made by a nun
89. sitting at a place of preparing for sex
90. standing in a place of preparing for sex
91. giving food to ascetics
101. sleeping for more than three nights in the same place as someone who is not fully ordained
112. sleeping with a woman
117. traveling on a road with a woman
124. leaving without informing the Sangha
127. going into town at improper times
129. going to a king’s palace at night
138. accepting food from a nun

4. Abandon Lying

4. lying about one’s attainments of superhuman Dharmas
12. groundless accusation
13. deprecating by insinuation
48. telling a lie
70. accusing of teaching the Dharma for the purpose of a little food
109. causing another monk to generate regrets by intentionally wrongly accusing him
116. groundlessly deprecating by accusing of having committed a remainder

5. Abandon Taking Intoxicants

126. drinking alcohol [i.e., intoxicating beverages, spirits, and liqours]

6. Practice Contentment

10. having a hut built for oneself which is not good for roaming about
11. having a community building built which is not good for roaming about
18. holding cloth for more than 10 days without having it blessed
20. holding a deficient piece of cloth for more than 30 days without having it blessed
23. begging cloth from a householder
24. not giving away the excess of a set of robes
25. obtaining through begging more than the householder had intended to give
26. obtaining through begging more than the male and female householders had intended to give
27. obtaining items after having begged for them more than six times
28. using a cotton mat
29. using a mat made only of black wool
30. having a mat of more than 50% black wool
31. replacing a not yet six-year-old mat
32. not patching a new mat by a handspan of the old mat
33. carrying wool too far on a journey
35. touching gold and silver
36. undertaking various activities in money
37. obtaining profit through business
38. holding an extra begging bowl for more than 10 days
39. seeking a begging bowl
40. engaging an unrelated weaver to weave cloth
41. extending the material of a robe
42. taking back what was given
43. early possession of rainy season offerings, etc.
45. obtaining 30 days too early, or holding more than 30 days late, the large rainy season cloth
47. storing medicine (i.e., clarified butter, oil, honey, and molasses) for more than 7 days
78. eating repeatedly
80. accepting more than two or three begging bowls full
81. eating the abandoned food
83. gathering and eating separately beyond the Sangha’s eating place
84. eating at an improper time
85. eating that which has been stored
86. eating without giving and taking
87. begging special food
105. wearing undyed cloth
131. making a needlecase made of bone or horn
132. making seat legs too long
133. leaving cotton lint upon the bedding of the Sangha
134. using more than the measure for a mat
135. using more than the measure for an itch bandage
136. using more than the measure for a large cloth
137. making Dharma robes to the measurements of the Sugata

7. Reduce One’s Desire for Worldly Pleasures

106. touching precious materials that do not belong to him
107. bathing more than one half of the body before one half month has passed
128. visiting families before or after a meal when the family which invited him for a meal is unawares

8. Abandon Engaging in Meaningless Activities

65. sitting down heavily upon a roof of a building owned by the Sangha
92. watching a war
93. staying in a place of war for more than three nights
110. tickling with the fingers
111. playing in water
113. frightening a monk
114. hiding a personal belonging of a monk or nun
120. digging the earth

9. Maintain the Commitments of Refuge

14. dividing the Sangha
15. not giving up supporting one who divides the Sangha
16. disturbing householders by deprecating the Sangha, causing them to lose faith
17. displeasure with instruction
53. teaching Dharma to a woman in excess of five or six words, except in the presence of a wise man
56. deprecating by belittling someone
59. abusively dismissing a monk who is serving the Sanhga
60. turning a deaf ear to advice or when asked a question
64. putting down a monk who had previously resided in the place owned by the Sangha
79. eating in the residence of extremists twice in one day
94. becoming involved in the branch of an army
95. raising one’s hand and striking another monk
96. threatening a blow with a weapon to a monk
97. concealing the grave offense of a monk
98. causing food to be cut off
100. later changing one’s consent
103. sharing Dharma and materials with a monk who has been expelled by the Sangha
104. sharing Dharma and materials with a novice who has been expelled by the Sangha
118. keeping company with thieves; proceeding with a caravan intending theft
119. giving ordination to someone under 20
122. abandoning closely given advice
125. disrespectful conduct
139. eating food without correcting a nun who asks to serve out of order
140. begging and eating food amongst families considered by formal declaration of the Sangha to be undergoing training
141. begging and eating food in forest dwellings considered by the Sangha to be dangerous

10. Practise the Three Trainings of Pure Moral Discipline, Concentration, and Wisdom

19. separation from one’s Dharma robes
44. separation from one’s retreat place for more than six days
49. speaking abouta ny act of another monk which is reputed to be a fault
50. speaking divisive words to a monk
51. reviving a quarrel
54. expressing faults of another monk to a person who is not fully ordained
55. speaking of one’s actual superhuman Dharmas
57. speaking to another monk words which despise the Vinaya
61. leaving without collecting the bedding, which then becomes damaged
62. leaving without putting away the mats
67. erecting more than three layers of bricks
82. feeding to one who has abandoned eating
99. touching fire without being mindful of the time
102. not giving up unwholesome views
123. eavesdropping
130. belittling the basis of one’s precepts of moral discipline

You Get the Idea…

142. for the lower robe, not wearing round
143. for the lower robe, too high
144. for the lower robe, too low
145. for the lower robe, covering the ankles
146. for the lower robe, one side hanging like an elephant’s trunk
147. for the lower robe, folding the upper portion below the navel
148. for the lower robe, gathered unevenly at the belt like tying the top of a sack of grain
149. for the upper garment, not wearing round
150. for the upper garment, too high
151. for the upper garment, too low
152. going to a layperson’s house without relying upon mindfulness and alertness
153. going without wearing one’s robes correctly
154. idle chatter while going
155. going with one’s eyes wandering in distraction
156. going with one’s eyes cast beyond a yoke’s distance
157. going while covering one’s head with cloth other than a hat
158. going with one’s Dharma robe lifted up
159. going with one’s Dharma robed draped over both shoulders
160. going with one’s hands clasped behind the nape of the neck
161. going with one’s hands tightly clasped
162. going by jumping
163. going by strutting
164. going stiffly erect
165. going on tiptoes with chest out
166. going with arms akimbo
167. going with the body twisted
168. going while swinging the hands
169. going while wagging the head
170. going with shoulders touching
171. going while joining the hands
172. sitting on a seat without being invited to do so by the householder
173. sitting without examining the seat
174. sitting heavily by dropping one’s weight down upon the seat
175. sitting with one foot upon the other
176. sitting with one thigh upon the other
177. sitting with one ankle upon the other
178. sitting on a throne etc. with one’s legs tucked under
179. sitting with one’s legs outstretched
180. sitting with one’s sexual organs exposed
181. not accepting food respectfully
182. accepting food only full to the brim of one’s begging bowl
183. accepting equal portions of main food (e.g., rice) and vegetables
184. not accepting food in order of ordination
185. accepting without paying attention to one’s alms bowl
186. holding out one’s begging bowl before the food comes
187. covering the main food (e.g., rice) with vegetables … with the intent of getting extra
188. holding one’s begging bowl over the food
189. not eating food in accordance with common etiquette
190. taking very small mouthfulls
191. taking very large mouthfulls
192. not eating in moderation
193. opening one’s mouth before bringing food to it
194. speaking when one’s mouth is full of food
195. eating while making sounds such as ‘tsuk tsuk’
196. eating while making sounds such as ‘chak chak’
197. eating while making sounds such as ‘hu hu’
198. eating while making sounds such as ‘pu pu’
199. poking out one’s tongue while eating
200. eating (rice, etc.) grain by grain
201. disparaging the food while eating
202. spilling the broth to the right and left while eating
203. making smacking sounds from the palate while eating
204. eating by dividing mouthfulls
205. licking food stuck to one’s hands
206. licking food stuck to the vessel as well as one’s hands
207. shaking off food stuck to one’s hands
208. eating while shaking one’s begging bowl
209. shaping the food like a stupa
210. abusing the begging bowl of another monk
211. touching the water container with food stuck to one’s hand
212. tossing the dishwater over another monk
213. throwing out the dishwater from washing one’s begging bowl, etc. whenever one pleases
214. putting the remaining food in one’s bowl
215. setting one’s bowl down without a base
216. similarly, placing the begging bowl on a cliff
217. placing the begging bowl on a steep slope
218. placing the begging bowl on a sill, etc.
219. washing one’s begging bowl while standing up
220. washing one’s begging bowl while on a cliff
221. washing one’s begging bowl while on a steep slope
222. washing one’s begging bowl while on a sill, etc.
223. taking water by holding one’s bowl against the current of a river
224. standing while teaching Dharma to a seated listener
225. teaching Dharma when seated to someone who is lying down
226. teaching Dharma when seated on a low and poor seat to someone on a high and rich seat
227. teaching Dharma to someone who is in front while walking behind them
228. teaching Dharma while going along the side of the road to someone going along the center
229. teaching Dharma to someone whose head is covered with cloth, etc.
230. teaching Dharma to someone with their robes pulled up
231. teaching Dharma to someone with their Dharma robes draped over both shoulders
232. teaching Dharma to someone with their hands clasped at the nape of the neck
233. teaching Dharma to someone with their hands tightly clasped
234. teaching Dharma to someone wearing a hairknot
235. teaching Dharma to someone wearing a hat
236. teaching Dharma to someone wearing a crown
237. teaching Dharma to someone wearing a garland
238. teaching Dharma to someone wearing a veil
239. teaching Dharma to someone mounted on an elephant
240. teaching Dharma to someone mounted on a horse
241. or other than these two mounts
242. teaching Dharma to someone seated on a palanquin
243. teaching Dharma to someone wearing shoes
244. teaching Dharma to anyone holding a staff or stick
245. teaching Dharma to anyone holding an umbrella or parasol
246. teaching Dharma to anyone holding a knife
247. teaching Dharma to anyone holding a sword
248. or other weapon
249. teaching Dharma to someone wearing armor
250. when one is not ill, to make excrement or urinate while standing
251. to throw excrement, urine, plhegm, snot, etc. into moving water
252. to throw excrement, urine, phlegm, snot, etc. on the ground covered with grass
253. purposely climbing in trees above a man’s height, unless there is a disaster


Nathaniel’s 31 Reasons for Leaving the NKT

September 3, 2008

Please note: Nathaniel has recently written an apology on his blog for his criticisms of the NKT and Geshe Kelsang and he has deleted the blog entry where the criticisms were listed. We’d like to commend him for his courage and honesty in doing this.

As you can see in the comments section, Nathaniel has requested us to delete the reply we made to answer his points, but unfortunately his criticisms are widely available on the internet from a number of anti-NKT sources: therefore, we have made the decision that our response needs to remain. Sorry, Nathaniel, we hope you understand why we have to do this. We wish you all the best with your future study and practice of Dharma.

Not long ago, a young man called Nathaniel Whiteman posted 31 allegations against the NKT on various Internet sites — all reasons, he said, for leaving the NKT. He created his own blog and repeated them there, from whence they have spread to other anti-NKT blogs or websites. He wrote to New Kadampa Truth saying that he would remove them or change them on his blog if he got replies.

Here is the letter that New Kadampa Truth wrote back to him last week. The only reason we publish it here is that he has not changed his blog as he promised. These 31 allegations are now public on the Internet and so we need publicly to address them. Please let us know if you have any more questions about any of them once you’ve had a chance to read the replies.

Nathaniel’s letter to the New Kadampa Truth team:

“Here is a list I have compiled, please address each of the following points that I have made in this email on your website new kadampa the truth, I also see that on the website you pick out 5 people who are spreading the the nktsmear campaign. I want you to do that with me as well.You have until the 30th of August or I will go to the press and possibly even take leagle action against Amoghasiddhi Centre and Chris Heyes for getting me to come to the united kingdom on false pretences. I am not affraid to talk about my experience in the nkt, so please do not take me lightly.”

Dear Nathaniel,

As promised in an earlier email, here are the replies from New Kadampa Truth and from your former teachers and friends. I am not worried about your going to the press or taking legal action but I do still thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify things.

I know you are hurting a great deal and sufficiently angry to have already gone ahead and made all your accusations publicly without discussing these first with the people they concern; and I am sorry for that. (Was it because you really do want to be one of the people deliberately spreading smears against the NKT as you suggest above?! I hope not). But despite that, I still hope these replies are not too late to help clarify things for you personally, especially those replies that specifically concern you; and that you will be able to find some closure. (Your letter was immensely long so I’m afraid this reply will have to be even longer!)

1. Your personal accusations against Nagarjuna Centre and Amoghasiddhi Centre

I wrote to Bridget and Chris Heyes with your accusations and they have replied to all of them. They also checked with their Centres to see that what they wrote was accurate. Amanda Day (Administrative Director at Nagarjuna Centre) held a Director’s meeting where she read your email and the replies. The Directors of Nagarjuna Centre fully support all the refutations. Chris gave the same information to his Company Secretary and Centre Managers, who also fully support all refutations.

However, I would like to add that the useful thing about complaints is that they give us the opportunity to check our behaviour too. The teachers and managers are able to hold up the mirror of complaints to see if there are ways in which they could improve themselves for the future.

Chris Heyes put out an advert for Amoghasiddhi Café Assistant position, which included details of condition of stay, sponsorship and details of work hours etc. Nathaniel Whiteman responded to the advert. Chris contacted Legden, Nathaniel’s teacher in South Africa, who gave excellent references. Nathaniel’s visa was initially refused but he then appealed and was granted a 5-year student visa. This visa included the condition that he would receive sponsorship from the Centre for working in the café. To support his application, the Centre had to send to the authorities a copy of accounts, proof of the Centre’s existence etc. Therefore, the conditions of his stay in England were very clear to Nathaniel and to the Home Office; there were no deceptive actions as Nathaniel is claiming. The Administrative Director at Amoghasiddhi Centre has a copy of his application.

At that time Kelsang Chodor was the café manager and Nathaniel worked with him as his assistant. Kelsang Chodor later disrobed, and this probably influenced Nathaniel adversely. Nathaniel then suggested a friend from South Africa, Antony Passmore, for the position of café manager. Antony Passmore was interested and accepted the position. Nathaniel was offered the position of café manager but did not wish for it and was happy to work along with Antony Passmore.

From January this year to the present date Nathaniel became increasingly more unhappy, angry, discouraged and disruptive within Amoghasiddhi Centre. He had requested ordination prior to arriving at Amoghasiddhi Centre and was due to ordain at the summer festival. Chris was concerned about him ordaining as he felt he was unstable. However, he was adamant he wanted to ordain. Chris talked on a number of occasions with Nathaniel about his disruptive behavior, especially in public areas such as the café. It became obvious that Nathaniel was not suitable to continue in his position and Chris suggested that he go to Nagarjuna Centre for a working holiday up to the festival and then return to South Africa. Nathaniel seemed very pleased with Chris’s suggestions

While he was at Nagarjuna Centre, he assisted in the café for about 2 weeks. He seemed fine and quite happy. However, he formed a friendship with a person who has a lot of anger towards the NKT because of the recent demonstrations.

Just before the festival, Nathaniel asked to return to Amoghasiddhi Centre to pick up his personal things and do a working holiday weekend. Chris and Amanda felt this would be okay as he seemed more settled. However, once he was back at Amoghasiddhi Centre, he requested sponsorship money. This was refused as his terms of stay had changed. As a result of this and a heated discussion with Antony Passmore, he became very volatile and had to be asked to leave the Centre. He was offered money for his travel fare to Nagarjuna Centre, but refused it and left for London

The Education Program Coordinator from Amoghasiddhi Centre received a call from him during the festival requesting help. She was not in a position to help him so phoned Chris, who told her to get him to either contact him or Amanda and they would organize help for him. That was the last we heard from him.

This email from Nathaniel was not sent to Chris, Bridget or the managers of Amoghasiddhi or Nagarjuna Centre; he never expressed a desire to discuss it with them before posting it on the Internet. We can send exact dates and further details of his visa etc if needed

2. Allegations about Nagarjuna Centre

Allegation 11: “There are about 4 people at Nagarjuna who were previously ordained none of them seem to be mentally stable”

Geshe Kelsang allows people who have disrobed to return to Centres as residents if they meet the necessary conditions. Nagarjuna Centre has accepted 3 previously disrobed people who live at the centre in a community of 30 people. They are well thought of by the Centre management, and their resident teacher and peers.

Allegation 12: “2 students at nagarjuna centres sponsorship has suddenly stopped, so they had to return to their own country”

During the time Nathaniel was at Nagarjuna Centre, there were 2 students who had been previously part-sponsored, who returned to their country of origin for a holiday. They returned for the festival and are currently negotiating residency at another Centre in the UK. Their intention is to remain in England. (Update: They are at another UK Centre now.)

Allegation 23: “peoples accommodation and food and travels to the demos if didn’t arrange them? I witnessed this at Nagarjuna Centre. But you can ask questions because you lack faith in your guru an enlightened being”

Nagarjuna Centre hosted accommodation for UK demos. All funds for this were provided by a private beneficiary; no Centre funds were used.

3. Allegations about Bridget Heyes

Allegation 7: “At nagarjuna centre, the resident teacher Kadam Bridget is believed to be Tara. In her flat she is allowed to eat meat and watch tv, no one else is…”

We have no control over how people view Bridget; however she does not encourage her students to view her as a deity. Bridget has 2 children. All children living in Dharma Centres (full time) are given the choice of TV for their entertainment and to eat meat, as long as this is done discreetly within their own home.

Allegation 8: Bridget daughter earns 5 pounds an hour to work in the café, and I up until I began receiving nothing earned that in 6 hours “

The café sponsors two people full time. In addition they have relief helpers who assist on a regular basis at £5 an hour; Bridget’s daughter is one of these. Also, working holiday volunteers (who work in return for board, lodging and all classes) may be allocated to help in the café; Nathaniel was one of these.

Allegation 9: “At nagarjuna centre students are asked to donate to bridget so that she can take her kids on vacation”

Nagarjuna Centre students happily sponsor Bridget and the children to attend the NKT Festivals with Geshe Kelsang. Without taking the children, Chris and Bridget could not both attend the Festivals.

Allegation 10: “Apparently she earns 500 pounds a month”

Bridget does not earn £500 a month. The Centre sponsors Bridget £160 per month as Resident Teacher (plus lodging). Chris is sponsored £110 per month as the resident artist (this is covered by the income from the art department). Some of the students of the centre have chosen to sponsor Bridget a total of £120 per month to help with childcare costs.

Allegation10 (contd) : “… and doesn’t go to ittp, rarely attends pujas and often doesn’t teach her classes…”

Bridget attends pujas and teaches FP & TTP classes at Nagarjuna Centre. She also teaches regular weekend courses, day courses and empowerments. She also teaches courses at Drolma Centre, Amoghasiddhi Centre and Samantabhadra Centre.

As Chris is one of the NKT Temples artists and resident teacher at Amoghasiddhi Centre, sometimes if he is away Bridget nees to care for the children and will arrange for morning FP (7am) to be covered by another teacher.

Allegation10 (contd) : “… her festivals, food, accomidation, childrens accomidation, car and husbands accomidation are also paid for.”

All Resident Teachers receive accommodation at their Centre as part of their sponsorship. Bridget purchased her own car but receives help with transport costs.

4. Allegations about Amoghasiddhi Centre

Allegation6: “I have been removed from amoghasiddhi centre and was placed in nagarjuna centre because of bad behavior and all funds to me stopped.”

At Chris’s suggestion, Nathaniel agreed to go to Nagarjuna Centre on a working holiday as he was unhappy at Amoghasiddhi Centre and needed a change. Nathaniel was aware that Nagarjuna Centre would not be able to sponsor him. The plan was for him to spend 2 to 3 weeks at Nagarjuna Centre on a working holiday (full board and lodging and classes), attend the Summer Festival, and then return home in September to his family home in South Africa.

Allegation24: “I had to work some times up to 50 hours of so called voluntary work at the centre, I asked for one day off and got told no we don’t want to make antony unhappy… what about my happiness? Oh it doesn’t matter because Im leaving any way!”

Nathaniel agreed to work 35 hours a week. The café is open 9.30am to 3pm five days a week. If he worked longer hours, we are sorry for overlooking this because it is not in keeping with the contract of 35 hours per week for people working at NKT Centres (to give them time for study and meditation). We will try and be more careful with our café staff in future. At the time, we did not know about it because he never complained of it.

Allegation 28: “At Amoghasiddhi centre there have been 4 people who disrobed in its 3 or 4 years of existence, and has had about 5 or café managers, it must be a pure place, these people must be teaching me a lesson, they are deluded I must not be so deluded, I must allow Guru Buddha into my heart.”

One person has disrobed at Amoghasiddhi Centre. In 4 years there have been 4 café managers.

Allegation31 : “, at Amoghasiddhi Centre people pay 35 pounds a month to receive teachings from a teacher who is only her 2 days a week some weeks and the class is often led by DanBeenham who is not a qualified teacher nor even studying on ttp.”

Chris Heyes is Resident Teacher at Amoghasiddhi Centre and present for 3 days a week. Sometimes he is there longer for weekend courses or other Centre duties such as publicity etc. Chris is also an NKT artist and when requested to go to a Temple to paint and during ITTP (or, recently, when his mother was seriously ill) Dan teaches the classes. Dan is a sincere student and teacher, who has been studying Dharma for many years.

Allegation19: “Antony passsmore and Tsepho (who ever) will be taking ordination this year. Nice the nkt could do with a person who refers to Vajradhara as a blue dude and a gay man who is terminally ill and wont take his medication because the illness comes from his mind and geshelas dharma is the only cure!”

We have no knowledge of Antony’s suggested illness or sexuality. Certainly, if he needs to be on medication, we believe he should take it.

Allegation21 : “I was told not to speak about Kelsang Chodor who disrobed. And heard people tell people that he left because of his ill health AND NOT THE TRUTH which is that he left because he came to Amoghasiddhi centre on ” false pretences” just like myself”

Chris is not aware of Nathaniel being told not to talk about Kelsang Chodor. It was clear to the community that he left due to bad health, and personal issues about ordination and organised religion.

Allegation22: “At the Amoghasiddhi centre where antony passmore is now the café manager (and the only person not moving out of the centre) is on a sponsored position. As a part of his sponsorship he gets accommodation and food as well as a 115 pound donation a month. Recently I witnessed the centre filling out a form for housing benifit s on his behalf which he was just asked to sign. If the benefit was granted amoghasiddhi centre could receive funds from the government to cover Antonys rent that he doesn’t have to pay for! This is a case at many centre throughout the uk and the british government have launched an investigation into this freud!”

Antony is sponsored as café manager and receives board and lodging and £110 per month. Housing Benefit was discussed with him due to the Centre being up for sale and the fact that there was a prospective buyer, in which case the café would have closed and the café manager position dissolved. However, as the sale of the property fell through, Antony never applied for housing benefit and his full sponsorship remains.

5. Allegations about Kelsang Legden

20) Kelsang Osel was told by Kelsang Legden her teacher at the time that she should not have her cancer removed, but rather allow it to purify it self by letting the karma ripen,

I contacted Kelsang Legden, who said that he never advised Osel not to have her cancer removed.

she went ahead with the surgerry but before she did she was (very cleverly) forced to leave the centre (in her own free will) in a terible state, she is now a working nun who lives on her own out side of the nkt

Legden says that the reason why she left the Centre had nothing to do with her illness at all. She did not adapt to community life and chose to leave. He added: “Kelsang Osel has moved to another town but is still studying on correspondence Teacher Training Program and is happy with her new life. Community life did not suit her but she still enjoys the teachings.”

From Osel’s own letter to you, that you included, it seems that she is content and still practicing Dharma.

6. Your general allegations against the NKT

1) Samden Gyatso (the 2nd ex national spiritual director of the nkt) had sexual relations with many women for a very long time (using tantra as an excuse), the only reason he ever disrobed is becuase one of the nuns tried to commit suicide after falling pregnant with his child, only then did Kelsang Gyatso do some thing about it.

Samden Gyatso’s behaviour cannot be justified and it has been condemned without equivocation.
There is no truth in your allegation that a nun fell pregnant and tried to commit suicide. Despite Samden Gyatso’s negative behaviour, there was no cover-up, as you imply. This following factual explanation comes from the ex-monk who was originally implicated on the New Kadampa Survivors chat group in December 2006 as being the one to reveal that there was a cover-up, from which all subsequent speculation and gossip has stemmed.

In November 2005, the ex-monk wrote to Geshe Kelsang to explain his recent suspicions about Samden’s behaviour, based mainly on the kind of advice Samden had given him. When Geshe Kelsang asked the ex-monk if he had anything definite to base his suspicions on, he replied that he had not, and was then requested not to repeat such things without evidence. The ex-monk wrote again to Geshe Kelsang in January 2006 with more detail and explanation, again saying he had no proof, he had not seen anything directly, and no one had confided in him; but he had a strong suspicion. Geshe Kelsang replied that he had confronted Samden, but that Samden had said: “Nothing this person says is true.”  At that time, Geshe Kelsang told the ex-monk: “I understand that it is my responsibility to maintain the purity of the tradition, and I will keep what you told me in my heart.”

Samden Gyatso was removed from his position in February 2007 for different reasons given in a letter sent to all the Resident Teachers. Once Samden was removed, a few people came forward with their stories, and evidence of his negative behaviour was then available for the first time. As a result of this, and after Samden/Steven Wass had written a proud and strange letter to some NKT Resident Teachers, Geshe Kelsang wrote back a strongly-worded condemnation of his behaviour that he copied to all the Resident Teachers.

The silver lining in this dark cloud, if there can be such a thing, is that since Samden’s negative behaviour came to light, the NKT Internal Rules have been changed so that teachers are more accountable in general and the General Spiritual Director (GSD) is now appointed for a term-limit of only four years (as opposed to a maximum of sixteen years in the previous edition of the Internal Rules). After the four-year term in office the GSD now returns to his or her previous Centre as the Resident Teacher. It is hoped that this will go a long way to making sure the NKT is a humble democratic organization with no build-up of power in one individual in the future. Furthermore, Geshe Kelsang and others in the NKT are trying to help individually anyone affected negatively by Samden’s behaviour.

If you have any more questions about this, please ask us. The NKT is not attempting to hide anything. We are not a perfect organization, we are continually trying to improve our service, and where we see things going wrong we try to correct it as soon as possible in a clear and transparent manner.

2) a Resident Teacher has been caught on numerous occasions watching pornography on the centre computer, he is still ordained!

This old news has been blown out of all proportion. The monk in question apologized for the transgression. Many people engage in this kind of behaviour and few are publicly humiliated for it. Personally, I think it is time to leave him alone.

3) Lodro the ex teacher of Heruka centre in london ran off with Togme the ex teacher of Bodhisatva centre in Brighton.

This is true. They are of course no longer teaching and have disrobed. Ordained people anywhere, of any spiritual tradition, finding it difficult to keep a celibate lifestyle is nothing new. There are plenty of examples of respected Western teachers in other traditions who have disrobed, Robert Thurman and Stephen Batchelor to name but two.

What’s important here is that the NKT has made it very clear that it does not condone such activity and that there are serious consequences to disrobing. For example, someone who has disrobed will never be able to teach in the NKT again (this is unlike some other traditions, which do allow disrobed Sangha to continue teaching). The point of such consequences is to help people consider very carefully before ordaining, and then, obviously, to watch their minds and moral discipline while they are ordained.

4) The Current residet teacher in Bodhisatva centre has just ran off with her 3rd man.

Are you saying that she’d already run off twice before? I think not. What is true is that sadly the now previous Resident Teacher of Bodhisattva Center has disrobed, and, it seems, that, yes, a man was involved. Is she proud of her action? No … she is, according to her family, very regretful.

However, it might be said that as an ordained person you are holding yourself to higher standards of conduct than most. Consequently you have further to fall. A great number of Tibetans and Westerners from other traditions have broken their moral discipline. The NKT is by no means alone in this, although it seems to be the only one criticized for it so publicly.

Buddhist ordination is still new in the West. Also, and I speculate, possibly the NKT has still been experiencing some of the fall-out from the disrobing of Samden Gyatso. Be that as it may, in the NKT we do try to support those who wish to undertake an ordained lifestyle and to respond with compassion if they are no longer able to do so. Hopefully, with time there will be less disrobings.

5) Kadam Lucy james from florida in the us and kadam Bjorn have been asked to step down from teaching by Kelsang Gyatso himself because they expressed concern over the Western Shugden Society.

It is true that Kadam Bjorn did express concerns about the demonstrations; after all, he was the recipient of death threats in 1996 from Tibetans loyal to the Dalai Lama in Switzerland. Out of concern for Bjorn’s safety, Geshe Kelsang asked Bjorn to resign. Later when Geshe Kelsang asked if Bjorn would like to resume his previous roles, Bjorn respectfully declined for personal and professional reasons. There is no disagreement or disharmony between Geshe Kelsang and Bjorn, and, in fact, Bjorn was at the forefront during the demonstrations in Germany.

However, these types of accusations do point to a larger issue: Neither Lucy or Bjorn have made any complaints about what took place and by all accounts stayed happy and peaceful throughout. They remain loyal and practicing disciples of Geshe Kelsang and the NKT. As long as that’s the case, then what happens between them and their Spiritual Guide is, quite frankly, their business and not ours. No one had the right to put Lucy’s private letter from Geshe Kelsang on the Internet for example; this was not ethical.

Imagine the Internet chatter that would have surrounded, say, Marpa’s treatment of Milarepa, or Tilopa’s treatment of Naropa, had the Internet existed in those ancient times. Both Lucy and Bjorn have been disciples of Geshe Kelsang for more than 25 years. It is the function of a Mahayana Spiritual Guide to challenge his or her senior disciples to help them make spiritual progress. Sometimes the nature of that challenge may not be immediately apparent to outside observers; but as long as the disciples themselves are finding it meaningful and beneficial, then what business is it of ours to complain?

17) incouraged (not told) not to read books other than geshelas, why what do you not what me to read? Its all the same any way??? is it not? Is the nkt the only pure source of dharma????

This is a smear that is answered from many angles on the New Kadampa Truth website.

18) There is a monk from america who playes with dolls… but thats ok, as long as he doesnt say anything negative about the nkt. He has also been found watching pornography on the internet by a person whom I have come to know.

Bridget told me: “It was suspected that someone had used a Centre computer to watch porn but there was no evidence that it was this monk. It was one incident and there have been no others.”

25) all the buddhas are inseperable from your guru (kelsang gyatso) becuase its benificial to believe, just as it was benificial for certain people to believe that Samden was inseperable from Kelsang Gyatso and Kelsang Gyatso inseperable from all the Buddhas so if he wants to have sex with me it must mean that I am ready to take a consort, Kelsang Gyatso doesnt say any thing so its fine… a pitty that when she fell pregnant she didnt hold the view that she was giving birth to an enlightened being becuase maybe she wouldnt have tried to commit suicide!

This has mainly been answered above. Geshe Kelsang has never asked everyone to view him as inseparable from all the Buddhas, much less to view Samden Gyatso as inseparable from him.

26) Kelsang Gyatso asked that this year people do not give him statues as a gift but rather give him money.

Geshe Kelsang has, in fact, asked Centres not to give him anything at all. Individuals are free to do as they choose; however it is untrue that Geshe Kelsang has requested to be given money. Geshe Kelsang lives in a small room and has very few material possessions. Whenever he is given a gift, he immediately passes it onto others.

27) At Madhyamaka centre some one tried to commit suicide after being ordained for a few years.

I have not heard anything about this story and I will check into it if you can you give me any details (privately, please, to be fair to them).

29) At the demonstrations certain members of ordained sangha had to wear lay clothes inorder to do security work. I guess a monk in robes wouldnt be able to “take some one down”

Monks sometimes wear lay clothes. This is normal. Monks and nuns are permitted to wear lay clothes when they work outside the Centre too, and when travelling, and at other times too if they wish (they must wear their robes for teachings and so on, of course). There is no rule to say they must always wear their robes.

30) At Gyaltsabje centre in Sheffield the majority of the paying residents arent even buddhist.

What is wrong with that? Actually, a Buddhist Centre is a very nice place for people to live if they want some peace and quiet, free from televisions, smoking, meat-eating and so on.

13) Manjushri centre was stolen by the nkt, this Legden even confirmed for me when I first found it on the internet.

I asked Legden about this and he replied: “This is a complete lie since I had no idea whatsoever of what happened there and I cannot recall at all to have spoken to Nathaniel about it in any way or at any time.” This sounds believable because he was not around in those days. A very clear explanation of the whole issue can be found here on the website New Kadampa Truth. The FPMT has not challenged this account because they know it is true.

14) There are people in the nkt who have ‘Lung’ (a disease in ur inner energy winds) from incorectly practicing Highest Yoga Tantra, and as a result will not be able to meditate in this life ever again! The Tantric empowerment is supposed to given to people who have done alot of purification and have a stable practice of Dharma. Its FUCKED me up, to say the least!

I am of course very sorry to hear that you feel that way. However, without details of these people who can never meditate again in this life (which sounds unlikely), it is hard to comment further on this allegation except to say that Geshe Kelsang gives very clear explanations of who is ready to engage in Highest Yoga Tantra in all his Tantric texts. He also talks about the danger of lung disease and how to avoid it.

15) If ever you have a problem in the nkt you are told that you are “deluded” ” self cherishing” ” in samsara” ” need to allow guru kelsang gyatso) buddha (shakyamuni) into your heart ” or  “not tell any one elso becuase it could destroy peoples faith” This I have been told, I was even called a spoilt brat.  And sadly you come to a point where you believe it!

It is untrue to say that whenever anyone has a problem they are always told these things. Sometimes, perhaps, they are told these things (not the “spoilt brat” bit perhaps!), as they would be in any Buddhist organization, and sometimes that is okay. Why? These things can be useful to hear because Buddhists are trying hard to overcome the delusions, or inner poisons, in their minds in order to overcome suffering, and it helps to be reminded. Buddhists do also believe that suffering comes about because we are in samsara, the cycle of uncontrolled death and rebirth, and that this suffering does not automatically end at death. It is also a Buddhist teaching that it can greatly help pacify our minds to invite Buddha and our Spiritual Guide into our hearts, if we have faith. There is nothing unique to the NKT about your allegation here. I am sorry that you say you were told not to talk about your problems with others – if this happened, sorry. Usually in Buddhism we’re encouraged to talk to our Sangha as one of our objects of refuge. I have asked Bridget and Chris to look into this.

16) told that if you disrobe you will take rebirth in hell. Most traditions of Buddhism that I know dont tell you that.

Which Buddhist traditions don’t say that negative actions create the cause for future suffering? Any kind of misconduct, not just sexual, creates imprints for future suffering – that is the teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni. The degree of negativity depends on the motivation and other extenuating circumstances – which no one else can judge. However, luckily, we can all purify our negative imprints.

31) The nkt welcomes you with open arms but throw you out like a piece of dirt when you are of no benifit to them, they will not support you in any way, they will take your money and give you advice and if you want more advice they will take some more,

I am so sorry you feel this way. I hope the answers above go somewhere to alleviating your pain. You are still welcome with open arms. No one has ever wanted to throw you out like a piece of dirt.

Your former teacher Legden was sorry he had hurt your feelings and had this to say about you: “He is actually such a nice guy and was loved by most of our students. My letter to him sounds quite harsh I must admit. On the other hand, when he was going through a crisis during Spring Festival, he was quite receptive when I told him off and apparently appreciated it. It’s been my intention to help him and not to harm him in any way. I knew how much he had been wishing to live the life of an ordained person. Anyway, obviously I haven’t been skilful enough and I will write to him to apologize.”

Good luck, Nathaniel. Please let me know if any of this is not clear or if you have more questions.

Love and best wishes,

New Kadampa Truth


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