Official: NKT is not a harmful cult

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Eddie Butler

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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Of late there have been various allegations that describe the New
Kadampa Tradition as a harmful cult. I have been in touch with Inform
in London, who investigate all UK religious organizations. They say
that they have fully investigated the New Kadampa Tradition, and have
found nothing whatsoever that is a cause for alarm or concern.

Regards, Eddie


kim speller

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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In article <4pkqkg$s...@newsgate.dircon.co.uk>
ebu...@dircon.co.uk "Eddie Butler" writes:


This posting is seriously misleading.

Inform, which stands for Information Network Focus on Relgious Movements, is
a registered charity and is based at the London School of Economics and was set
up primarily by Prof Eileen Barker and various representaive of the major
churches to collect objective information on new
relgious movements (NRMs), to raise the level of information and debate about
them and to provide a data base and to develop contact with NRMs and help as
an agency that can help between groups and those with whom they come into
contact.

Inform is not an official agency and it is no part of Inform's remit to make
"official" pronouncements about any NRM. It has made no "official" pronouncements
about NKT and as far as I know would not seek to.

Nor does it "investigate" UK religious organisations, what it does is to collect
information, academic and scholarly material on NRMs and those that staff it
study them, when they get the time.

It is not true to claim Inform has "fully investigated" NKT. That is not
Inform's role, and it has not done that. Inform does have information about
NKT and about the Dorje Shugden controversy, but in respect of the latter
almost certainly far less than has been posted here.

It is seriously misleading to claim Inform has found nothing "whatsoever that is
a cause for alarm and concern." The truth is precisely the opposite. Inform
does have concerns about NKT and there is a basis for some alarm and Inform
has and is in communication with senior NKT members about the issues that
have been raised and naturally hopes that these issues can be resolved.

As for whether NKT is a "harmful cult", this is not a term Inform uses or finds
in the least bit helpful. It is not true to claim Inform says NKT is not a
harmful cult, equally it is not true to say Inform says NKT is a harmful cult.
Inform avoids the use of the term "cult" at all.

What Inform does say about NKT is that it is a new relgious movement about which
a number of concerns have been raised over several years, these concerns have
been expressed by former members, and the families, relatives, and friends of
past and present members and the issues raised suggest there are causes for
concern.

The issues focus on NKT presuring people to take robes, their policy of
buying properties for centers using members claiming Housing Benefit to pay
mortgages and the way the State Benefits system has been used to support it,
the apparent over emphasis on adulation of Geshe Kelsang Kyatso,
the over emphasis of teachings about rebirth in the hell realms and the
sustained and repeated implanting of fear as a method of control with threats
of rebirth in lower realms against those who are critical of the group, the use
of specific techniques to get new recruits, the emphasis on prosalytisation and
how to be careful not to give the impression of running recruitment drives, and
the need to convert people, the exclusivity of their techings - all you need is
what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso teaches "Our task is only to preserve the blessings
of Geshe-la in this world and to spread his pure doctrine to every country."
to quote NKT Notes on Teaching Skills.

Geshe Kelsang Kyatso is apparently considered to be the Third Buddha and concern
has been expressed about the amount of authority and power over members this
gives him and the groups leaders over its membership.

There has also been some concern that some people have suffered mental harm
from involvement with NKT.

I express no view one way or another about any of these issues, only that these
concerns have been expressed to Inform by a number of ex members, the family
friends and relatives of past and present members, and these are matters of
concern to the staff at Inform and it is quite wrong to claim Inform has no
concerns.

What NKT does about it is up to NKT, Inform has no power or authority to do
anything, but it does have a formidable reputation and is very often the first
port of call to those who seek objective information on such groups,
particularly the media.

A final note, Inform is not an "anti-cult" organisation. There are enough of
them as it is, Cult Information Centre run by Ian Harworth, and FAIR and
there are others, CAN in the USA, ADFI in France and so on
and doubtless they would have no hesitation in branding NKT as a
"destructive cult" that displays all the symptoms typical of such dangerous and
pernicious groups such as mind control etc. Other groups have fallen foul of
such organisations such as Scientology, the Unifcation Church, The London
Church of Christ, ISKON etc whose members have been kidnapped and deprogrammed
(Exit counselled).

Let us hope NKT sorts out its problems before it does fall foul of the
anti cult movement, if it has not done so already. It would be a sad day if
members of NKT find that in custody disputes over children, mere membership is
used against them to justify not being allowed contact with their children - as
happens not infrequently with some of the better known NRMs who come to the
attention of such "cult experts" as Ian Harworth!

YITD
Kim

--
kim speller : kspe...@demon.co.uk


Kelsang Lodro

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Jun 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/14/96
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>
>The issues focus on NKT presuring people to take robes, their policy of
>buying properties for centers using members claiming Housing Benefit to pay
>mortgages and the way the State Benefits system has been used to support it,
>the apparent over emphasis on adulation of Geshe Kelsang Kyatso,
>the over emphasis of teachings about rebirth in the hell realms and the
>sustained and repeated implanting of fear as a method of control with threats
>of rebirth in lower realms against those who are critical of the group, the use
>of specific techniques to get new recruits, the emphasis on prosalytisation and
>how to be careful not to give the impression of running recruitment drives, and
>the need to convert people, the exclusivity of their techings - all you need is
>what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso teaches "Our task is only to preserve the blessings
>of Geshe-la in this world and to spread his pure doctrine to every country."
>to quote NKT Notes on Teaching Skills.
>

As a personal response to Kim Speller's letter I would like to make the following points:

1. I received ordination from Geshe Kelsang in 1995 and was in no way pressured
into making this decision. It was a personal choice, and one that myself and my family
are happy about. I was encouraged not to rush into making this commitment by other ordained
members of the community.

2.All proceedures for buying Bodhisattva Centre in Brighton were entirely legitimate.

3.As a disciple of Geshe Kelsang I rely on him as my Spiritual Guide - this is a Buddhist
practice and the foundation of the Path to Enlightenment, not the practice of the member of some cult.

4.I have never experienced any "sustained and repeated implanting of fear"
during the 2 years I have been living in an NKT Centre. This is a crazy allegation.
On the contrary, I have felt more happiness and inner peace than at any other time in my life.

5. I have never known anyone to be "recruited" into the NKT ! People choose to attend teachings
at Bodhisattva Centre because they feel it helps them. Personally, I decided to attend the
study programmes here after visiting many other Buddhist Centres, reading books by different
Buddhist authors and travelling around India to receive teachings from various Buddhist teachers.
Only after alot of careful consideration did I choose Geshe Kelsang as my Spiritual Guide. From
my own experience I can say the NKT never forced me, recruited me, or used any cult-like method
to make me attend teachings etc. I was simply attracted to the clarity and wisdom of Geshe Kelsang's books.

6. In working to spread the pure doctrine taught by Geshe Kelsang I am working to help people
overcome their negative minds and develop inner peace. Do you have a problem with this?


Finally, I would like to say that anyone is welcome to visit an NKT Centre and find out for themselves
that all of the allegations that the NKT is cult are incorrect,


Emma Jones (Kelsang Yangdak)
Bodhisattva Centre, Brighton.

>

>


>

Kelsang Lodro

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Jun 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/14/96
to


>In article <834607...@kspeller.demon.co.uk>, kim speller <k...@kspeller.demon.co.uk> says:
>

>What Inform does say about NKT is that it is a new relgious movement about which
>a number of concerns have been raised over several years, these concerns have
>been expressed by former members, and the families, relatives, and friends of
>past and present members and the issues raised suggest there are causes for
>concern.
>
>The issues focus on NKT presuring people to take robes, their policy of
>buying properties for centers using members claiming Housing Benefit to pay
>mortgages and the way the State Benefits system has been used to support it,
>the apparent over emphasis on adulation of Geshe Kelsang Kyatso,
>the over emphasis of teachings about rebirth in the hell realms and the
>sustained and repeated implanting of fear as a method of control with threats
>of rebirth in lower realms against those who are critical of the group, the use
>of specific techniques to get new recruits, the emphasis on prosalytisation and
>how to be careful not to give the impression of running recruitment drives, and
>the need to convert people, the exclusivity of their techings - all you need is
>what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso teaches "Our task is only to preserve the blessings
>of Geshe-la in this world and to spread his pure doctrine to every country."
>to quote NKT Notes on Teaching Skills.
>
>Geshe Kelsang Kyatso is apparently considered to be the Third Buddha and concern
>has been expressed about the amount of authority and power over members this
>gives him and the groups leaders over its membership.
>

>--
>kim speller : kspe...@demon.co.uk
>

As a Buddhist monk, and a member of the NKT I would like to offer my own experience
of the NKT in response to Kim's article.

I was ordained in August 1995 following my own request to Geshe Kelsang to grant me ordination.
There was no pressure for me to become ordained, but I felt that becoming a monk would be the
best way for me to benefit others. My parents were very suprised at my decision, and had some
initial concerns about my joining what appeared to them a strange religion, but thay attended
my ordination and very quickly overcame their doubts.

Since becoming ordained I have continued to work on a part time basis, both to support my own studies
and to support the centre itself, as does the other monk from Bodhisattva Centre who got ordained
on the same day as myself. Since each centre is an independant entity, both legally and financially,
it is only through the support of myself and the other residents and members of the community
that the centre can exist.

My place of work is the same company where I have worked for the last 6 years and my work colleagues
have nothing but respect for my chosen life-style. Indeed, they have requested me to run breathing
meditation classes at work to help them overcome stress, which I do on a weekly basis.
I am sure that if they were told that I was part of a "cult" trying to proselytise they would be shocked,
since their interest in meditation arose from seeing my example and the change in my behaviour over
the last few years.

I attend the Teacher Training Programme at Bodhisattva Centre and am thus thoroughly familiar with Buddha's
teachings on death and rebirth in the lower realms. This is a specific method to enable a spiritual
practitioner to develop a strong motivation to practice, and has been in use for thousands of years. I am
also conversant with the NKT Notes on Teaching Skills, and am quite happpy to teach only what Geshe-la teaches,
since this ensures I am teaching pure Buddhadharma and not something that I have made up myself.

Through studying Geshe-la's presentation of Buddha's teachings I have completely transformed my life and
begun to develop real inner peace and love and compassion for others, and have seen taht many others are
benfitting in the same way.

I hope that by sharing my experiences those who read this article will be able to overcome their concerns
about the NKT, and if this is not the case I ask them to visit an NKT Budddhist centre and see for themselves.

Kelsang Drubchen (Steve Smith)

NILMA F. ARAUJO

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Jun 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/14/96
to k...@kspeller.demon.co.uk

This is an answer Kim Speller's comments on Geshe Kelsang and the New
Kadampa Tradition:

>> Of late there have been various allegations that describe the New
>> Kadampa Tradition as a harmful cult. I have been in touch with Inform
>> in London, who investigate all UK religious organizations. They say
>> that they have fully investigated the New Kadampa Tradition, and have
>> found nothing whatsoever that is a cause for alarm or concern.
>
>
>This posting is seriously misleading.
>

>Inform, which stands for Information Network Focus on Relgious Movements, is a registered charity and is based at the London School=
of Economics and was set up primarily by Prof Eileen Barker and various representaive of the major churches to collect objective in=
formation on new relgious movements (NRMs), to raise the level of information and debate about them and to provide a data base and t=
o develop contact with NRMs and help as an agency that can help between groups and those with whom they come into contact. Inform i=
s not an official agency and it is no part of Inform's remit to make "official" pronouncements about any NRM. It has made no "offici=
al" pronouncements about NKT and as far as I know would not seek to. Nor does it "investigate" UK religious organisations, what it =
does is to collect information, academic and scholarly material on NRMs and those that staff it study them, when they get the time..=
.

At some point in Mrs.Speller's letter she implies that the NKT is a Cult
and accuses Geshe Kelsang and the NKT of brainwashing people, and
"prosalytisation" as well as forcing people to get ordained....

I can't comment on what's going on in England since I am an American and
practice Buddhism in the US. But what I can say is that I have been a
Buddhist for almost three years now and have attended teachings given by
NKT Teachers in several Centers in the US. I am a lay practioner and have
never ever been pressured, forced or even hinted at that I should
get ordained. What's more one of the things that attracted me to
Buddhism was that one could advance spiritually whether one was ordained
or not. I have never felt that anyone has ever tried to convert me to
Buddhism. As a matter of fact, it's one of the things that is most
remarkable about these teachers, that until now I thought were mainstream
Buddhist teachers, that they never push their opinions on the audience.
I have never been threatened with rebirth in the lower realms if I
disagree with something the teacher said. My relationship with my
parents, friends and partner have all improved. As a matter of fact,
improved greatly. I was taught that we should regard all beings as if
they were a mother because in the past all beings were our mothers. And
to meditate on the kindness of all, because in the past all living
beings have shown great kindness towards us. These have all helped me to
have more open relationships with others, not to ostracize them. I have
not tried to convert any of my friends, although some have become
interested because I am happier, and I have not been brainwashed. Geshe
Kelsang is my teacher, and I have even gone to hear him teach. Never,
did he expouse a personality cult. He was very humble and gave all the
credit of his teachings to his teachers. Moreover, Geshe Kelsang has
published over ten books about the stages of the path in Buddhism and
they are available at all major bookstores. Cult leaders do not publish
ten books available at major bookstores. The Dalai Lama even recommended
that we study "Meaningful to Behold", Geshe Kelsang's commentary to
Shantideva's "The Bodhisattva's Way of Life". I have never found any
talk or teaching I have ever heard from NKT teachers to not come from
these books. Which means he is not hiding anything since anyone can buy
the books, or check them out of libraries and read them. Moreover,
anyone is welcome to come to the talks. I am not sure where you heard
all these things about Geshe Kelsang, but please know that they do not
apply, at least in the US, and since the teachers here were mostly
trained in England, I imagine also not in England.


>

kim speller

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Jun 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/15/96
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In article <4psk47$b...@ka.worldbank.org>

NAr...@ifc.org "NILMA F. ARAUJO" writes:

> This is an answer Kim Speller's comments on Geshe Kelsang and the New
> Kadampa Tradition:


.....snip snip...... Warning: This is rather long.


> At some point in Mrs.Speller's letter she implies that the NKT is a Cult
> and accuses Geshe Kelsang and the NKT of brainwashing people, and


100% wrong. Read what I said again and you will not find that " some point",
which you seem to find difficult to identify, because its not there.
I invite you withdraw this allegation. At no point do I imply NKT is a cult
and at no point do I accuse NKT or Geshe Kelsang of brainwashing people. I am
sure you have innocently misread my posting. Maybe the fault is mine in
not being clearer.


Let me try to remedy the latter since that might help you to appreciate the
former.

Eddie's article clearly concerns the issue of whether NKT is a "harmful cult"
and from the title, claims that it is now "official" that NKT is not a
"harmful cult".

Please note that Eddie raised the issue not me. At no time have I ever posted
on the internet an accusaion that NKT is a cult - harmful or otherwise.

The text of his post clearly states that Inform has investigated NKT and has
concluded there are no causes for alarm and concern and so its now official
that NKT is not a "harmful cult". Readers are given to understand that:
1) Inform is some kind of official body,
2) that it has investigated NKT
3) it has found no cause for alarm or concern
4) therefore it is now official that NKT is not a "harmful cult".

All of this is misleading, each point in some particular way which I will
identify below.

1) Inform is not an "official" body making "official"
pronouncements about religious groups. Inform is a rather complex organisation.
It has patrons, governors and staff. Inform, as far as I know, does not make
formal offical pronouncements that bear the full weight of its governors and
staff, leaving aside its patrons who probably know little of the day to day
business but support the overall objects.

2) Inform, in the guise of its staff, does not carry out
"investigation" of NRMs, (new relgious movements).
I have explained elsewhere roughly how I understand
it works. It collects information and makes information available. It is also a
net work with information going out from Inform and information coming in and
anyone who has a query or information concerning NRM's is invited to become a
part of this network by getting in touch with Inform tel 0171 955 7654 2.0pm
to 4.30pm. That network is one of its greatest assets, it includes the
friends and
relatives of people who have joined NRMs, ex-members, leaders of established
religions and affilliated bodies, secular agencies, schools, colleges,
academics, the media and members of the general public. It also includes the
members of NRMs themselves. Of particular value is its extensive network of
academics who carry out scholarly research into NRMs, and there is an enormous
network of such people all over the world. Particularly important is Informs
contact with existing members of NRMs and that no doubt includes members of
NKT, and I for one rejoice in the fact that there is this dialogue. NKT might
ponder on whether it would be a good idea to participate in one of Inform's
seminars.

Inform must be clearly destinguished from "anti-cult" organisations.
Inform places a very high premium on objectivity and balance. This cannot be
said of such organisations as Cult Information Centre, FAIR, Cult Awareness
Network, ADFI etc etc. These organisations are essentially campaigning
organisations that attack NRMs calling them "dangerous", "pernicious"
"destructive ...cults." They have no hesitation in using the word "cult" to
describe an NRM. They accuse such "dangerous cults" of "mind control",
"coercieve persuasion" "thought reform" "brainwashing" etc. Indeed there is
a considerable literature to convince the unwary that there are devastatingly
effective techniques whereby these "harmful cults" can capture and hold the
minds of the innocent and unwary. They would pathologise involvement in an NRM.
They are the kind of organisations who will
be only too happy to accuse NKT of brainwashing given half a chance.
They appeal to our fear and apprehension and seek to
demonise NRMs. They have done it with Scientology, the Moonies, ISKON, Sahaja
Yoga and many others. Ian Horworth of Cult Information Centre regularly claims
there are over 400 "destructive cults" in the UK alone. I have a copy of an old
list - pre dating NKT.
Whether more recent lists include it I cannot say - I HOPE ITS NOT.

Particularly harmful, in my view, is the refusal of the anti cult
movement to engage in debate with NRMs, whereas Inform will.

The anti-cult movement is careless of who it accuses of being a cult and
who it will smear. But dont under-estimate it, it too has a wide network and
contact all over the world, and the ear of government in some quaters eg
France. In the UK it has contacts with a number of MPs. It is powerful.

Let me also make it clear, I am not a member of the anti-cult movement
nor do I espouse its central belief, that of brainwashing. The concept has
been convicingly debunked in the USA, but the anti-cult movement has been
exporting it to the UK and elsewhere for a number of years and it is beginning
to take
root here too. I deplore this. But let it also be clearly stated that some
NRMs, by their behaviour, invite the attention of the anti-cult organisations.
I believe the anti-cult organisations are as much a threat to freedom of
religion as harmful NRMs are a threat to the unwary.

I am about the last person who would accuse anyone of brainwashing -
that is in its technical sense that there is a method of taking over someone's
thought processes without them being aware of it, so that they are no longer
able to exercise there own individuality freely, but are controlled by others.

There are of course many mechanisms of influence and social control
that form and shape people's opinions some benign and some that are pretty
objectionable (Tory party propaganda ? :-). Many groups of people try to
influence the way we think - schools, advertisers, the media and so on. Many
use quite strong methods to mould cohesion in its members - the armed forces
for instance, but according to the anti-cult movements, only dangerous cults
and possibly communists brainwash.

So, a clear destinction must be made between the approach of Inform,
with which I would like to associate myself, and the approach of the anti-cult
movement with which I would certainly not.

Inform does not use the term "cult" (whether "harmful" or otherwise)
because of its perjorative connotations and that is a policy I would subscribe
to for the same reasons. Therefore even if NKT presented with the very worst
syptoms of the very worst type of NRM, let us say for instance Solar Temple,
Inform would not describe it as a cult. And just in case you want to accuse me
of saying NKT is akin to Solar Temple let me make it clear I do not say
anything of the sort, but merely use it to illustrate a point.

So the point is that if Inform does not describe NKT as a "cult,"
harmful or otherwise, it does not mean that
Inform has "investigated" NKT and there are no causes for concern or alarm.
It is at this point that Eddie's post was misleading since the point he took was
that since it was "official" NKT was not a "harmful cult" there were no causes
for "concern or alarm". The fact that Inform does not label NKT a "harmful
cult" is not becuase there are no causes for concern or alarm but because
its their policy not to call any NRM a cult. I would agree with this
policy. Conversely the fact that I say Eddie misled in claiming it was now
"official" that NKT was not a "harmful cult" because it had been "investigated"
by Inform, does not mean I really believe it is a "harmful cult" but
just wont actually say so. It is in the use of the concept "cult" where the
error lies.

At this point in the argument the issue "is there cause for concern
or alarm" sits unresolved having dismissed reference to whether it is or is not
a harmful cult because that is a meaningless test.

3. So is there cause for concern and alarm about NKT? I personally
have had virtually no personal dealings with NKT and do not feel competant
to decide. I personally make no accusations against NKT of
wrongdoing as I have none to make.
The same is true for Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. I have a copy of his Clear Light of
Bliss and although its a while since I have looked at it, I thought it was
impressive.

So its wrong of NKT to suggest I am making accusations against NKT and the
Ven. Geshe.

But it would be disingenuous of me not to say I personally do have some
worries and concerns about them, but my concerns are principally at the level
of Dharma group. Let me list some of them:
a) I have heard through the Buddhist grapevine - ie its something
that comes up every now and then from people one talks to- that NKT has an
aggressive policy of setting up centres whereever they can and instead of
coexisting happily with other centres work to undermine others. Perhaps NKT
could set my mind at rest and assure us all that that is not an objective of
theres?
b) that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has broken with HH the Dalia Lama,
perhaps NKT could set my mind at rest and publically state that as an
organisation it joins with all of us praying for HH, that HH have a long life,
good health, that his Dharma teaching flourish and that he enjoy success. I am
not concerned
that there may be differences of opinion within the Gelugpa, but many would be
concerned to learn if someone had broken with HH and no longer accepts HH's
pre-eminent position or even believes that he is not really the Dalai Lama.
Does NKT or Geshe Kelsang support the views of Sam about HH. If Sam in his
various postings was setting out a position that Geshe Kelsang and NKT held,
then I would be concerned. Everyone of good sense can appreciate the need for
all Tibetan Buddhists of whatever school to be united and firm behind HH in
this time of need when the very survival of the Tibetan way is under
threat from the Chinese and to attack HH merely gives comfort to his
enemies. I am sure neither Geshe Kelsang nor NKT hold such views about HH and
are completely loyal to his HH and stand firmly behind him as he
represents to the world the Tibetan cause, is that not so? Please reassure us.
c) I am concerned about the Dorje Shugden matter. It is often
said that NKT members are encouraged to take Shugden empowerments without
being aware of the controversy. Please set my mind at rest and confirm that
before any one takes the empowerment they are told that HH has said people
should not practice it because it can be harmful so that at least everyone can
make an informed decision before taking on commitments.
d) I am concerned that Shugden may be a cause for aggression
arising
and may encourage sectarian views. Please set my mind at rest and state that NKT
is firmly committed to non sectarianism,
e) I am concerned that NKT rejects all other Dharma teachings
save those of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and his gurus, please set my mind at rest
and confirm
that NKT acknowledges that there are many paths to Buddhahood and within
the Tibetan tradition many schools and teachings, be they those of the Nyingma,
Sakya and Kagyu as well as Gelugpa, which are genuine Dharma paths
capable of leading to the highest realisation be they called Madhyamika,
Maha Ati or Mahamudra.

So I do have some anxiety about NKT in these areas, but I am also
concerned that NKT is building up a reputation for being a Buddhist group about
which many other people have concerns and have expressed alarm that suggest
involvement with NKT can cause harm.
When mud gets thrown at NKT, as it lands a little splashes off and dirties the
rest of us.
This means that what NKT deos involves and affects me, and other who are not
involved in NKT.

Some time back, I was at Inform talking to one of their researchers who
knew of my interest in matters Buddhist, and she began talking to me about
some of the
concerns that ex-members, friends relatives parents etc had raised with them
about NKT. I felt destinctly uncomfortable that there was a Tibetan Buddhist
group about which adverse comments were coming in on the network and although
I am sure she did not mean me to feel in anyway
criticised, that however was precisely the way I felt; that somehow,
it was my responsibility too. That NKT was Buddhist
therefore all Buddhists might be like that, and I believe that that is precisely
the way the public will come to consider it if matters go public which they may
well do if NKT continues to attract adverse attention, whether justified or
not.
It is entirely legitimate for others in the Tibetan Buddhist sangha
to be concerned if one of its parts attracts adverse publicity, and NKT is
a part of the Tibetan Buddhist sangha, isnt it?

In my post all I did was to set out some of the concerns that had been
the subject of enquiry at Inform. I have no idea if those concerns reflect
what is actually happening, and to say, as some posters have
done, that I am making allegations is quite wrong. I am not making any
allegations at all. I only express concern that NKT is a group
about which a growing number of concerns are being expressed and I would like
NKT to sort out whatever it may be that is the reason for this.

This brings us back to whether Inform has concerns about NKT.
The information which comes to Inform on its network is not so unimportant and
insignificant as to be lightly dismissed.
On further reflection, I expect views within Inform are not static ,
information comes in and views take shape, develop, grow and
change, its a dynamic process.
What was misleading was for Eddie to claim as he did that those within Inform
have no concerns. Those within Inform do have concerns, at its most basic,
those concerns are that concerns are being raised about NKT of the type I
described and alarm that they might be true.

Lets be quite clear, although Inform does not call new religious
movements by pejorative names, the people there are not niave enough to believe
all NRMs to be entirely benign and harmless:
It follows that an NRM might well be quite harmful to its members, one has to
keep an open mind, and for the avoidance of doubt to those of you in NKT, I am
not at this point accusing NKT of being harmful to its members, but making
the point that the people at Inform know quite well that NRMs can be harmful.

"....But Beware...
not everything is as it seems!
There are some new religious movements that promise solutions to
life's difficulties but can land you with more problems than you
started with!

Some are dishonest or secretive about who they really are

Some demand much more of your time than you might have bargained for

Some could cost you a lot of money and get you into serious debt

Some could harm your relationships with family and friends

Some might lead you into an emotional dependence, and you could find
it harder to leave than to join."
Inform leaflet "Searching"

What is worrying in relation to NKT, is that some people have
made complaints to Inform about NKT that raise this kind of issue and I find
that a cause for concern and it makes me not a little alarmed.

So that defines the issue. I am not and do not claim the complaints
are justified and true, I only know the broad sweep of the kind of issues that
have been riased. What was misleading in Eddie's posting was that it implied
the very opposite of the case. I am not referring here to the sterile debate
about whether NKT is a "harmful cult" or not, that is not something that
can be objectively determined, there is no definition of cult, its an unhelpful
perjorative that Inform does not use either to assert an NRM is one or is not
one, but the substantive issue of whether there are casues for concern and
alarm. On this one point, those at Inform do have concerns and are alarmed
their concerns might be real and Eddie was misleading in seeking to portray
the opposite.

If I have got it radically wrong and no concerns have been raised
with Inform then I am very sorry and NKT has my sincerest apologies for stating
otherwise. Please, as a matter of urgency, confirm whether concerns about NKT
have been raised with Inform and whether it is right Inform has been in
communication with NKT about them? Have I got it all wrong NKT and no one
has raised concerns about NKT with Inform and Inform has not been in
communication with you about them, if so I am extremely relieved and glad to
apologise. Please set all our minds at rest and confirm the position.

5. Has NKT caused harm to some people? I do not know, some say
it has, some say it has not. Concerns, as I understand it, have been raised.
Perhaps the jury is out still, I don't know, hopefully its all a matter of
misunderstanding. Maybe the dark hand of the anti-cult movement has been at
work smearing an entirely benign Buddhist group. I do not know and I make no
accusations or allegations at all. But I do say it is a matter of legitimate
debate.

My own position is that I have concerns on a Dharma level and I look
forward to NKT's reassurance which I am sure will come.

If I were a member of a group about which the kind of other concerns
were raised, the kind of concerns I understand have been raised with Inform,
I would want to do something about it. I hope NKT is doing whatever it can
about it.
Perhaps NKT could reassure us all about what it is doing. As for Inform's view,
very likely no final view exists, the concerns have been raised. I am sure
Inform would want any problems to be resolved.

6. So where does one go from here. I personally hope that all the
issues surrounding NKT can be resolved.
I do not want this matter to be taken up by the anti-cult organisation who, I
fear, will distort and manipulate for their own propaganda and campaigning ends.
Doubtless many groups will be the subject of complaint by their ex members from
time to time, we live in samsara. Other groups have attracted attention and
adverse comment - Dharmadhatu, Rigpa, Zen, even Theravada. Within our UK sangha
generally, as opposed to the more general issue of concerns raised with Inform,
certainly it would help if NKT could reassure all the other school that they
accept they, the other schools, have a legitimate place under the sun and
confirm that they accept and appreciate that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's teachings
are not the only one and true path to enlightenment. Perhaps NKT might even
encourage its members to study some of the other traditions and see what they
have to offer particularly the Nyingma and Kagyu. Many high Gelugpa lamas
have also proactised Dzogchen.
Let us all try to avoid the "football team" approach - my team is better than
your team, and appreciate that all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism have much
to offer all of us, does NKT not agree?

7. I do not know what may come of "qualified organisations" going
up to Cumbria, as has been mooted. Doubtless members of other Dharma groups
could have a very pleasant afternoon of cakes and tea.
It might be appropriate for academics to research NKT
with access to all NKTs material, its magazine, training manuals, organisation
practises and internal documents and other
material and NKT might consider an approach to Inform to be put in contact
with someone appropriate. There are several universtity departments that
study the sociology of religion.

8. One final word. I am delighted at the posts that have come from
members of NKT, perhaps a shade uncomfortable that they are hostile reposonses
to my post, and seem to have misunderstood what I said, but I am
ignorant,stupid and confused and ramble on and perhaps I am not as clear
as I should be. I am sure there are good people in NKT, sincere and well
motivated and enthused with an entirely proper Mahayana view
and the more they post the better. Nothing breeds suspicion more than
ignorance, nothing helps more than communication.
What I would ask all members of NKT to do is take to heart that it
is better to be brothers/sisters in the Dharma, than adversaries and the way
forward must surely be in the spirit of the great Rime movement, do you not
agree? Please accept that my motivation is one of not wanting dissention
within the sangha, and not wanting Dharma groups to fall into disrepute, and
that I am sure NKT will share that view with me, doesnt it?

Barry Patterson

unread,
Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
to

kim speller <k...@kspeller.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>This posting is seriously misleading.

[Snip]

This is the first time I've seen this side to the controversy
mentioned. It's not just a case of who's "right" or "wrong" . Little
mention has been made of the harm & fear that people have suffered
after contact with this practice. I personally know a number of people
who have suffered, in some cases a great deal, as a result of this.
Paranoia, nightmares, outbursts of sometimes violent anger, mental
breakdowns resulting in some cases in hospitalisation have all occured
to people I know who decided to leave the NKT & study with another
teacher.

D.S. is a *jealous god*. A genuine dharma protector would not harm
individuals who continued to follow the Dharma in another tradition &
who did nothing to harm or malign the Dharma.

I was warned in the '80s by an American friend who has spent a lot of
time in India that some Teachers give this transmission to westerners
without even telling them.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always said that the worst thing that
could happen to the Tibetan Culture would be disunity. Someone
somewhere has succeeded admirably in creating lots.

This is exactly the kind of situatuion in which the Gyalpo, the class
of worldly spirit of which I have been taught D.S. is a member,
revel in. Sadly I believe that the understandably defensive NKT
members have been seriously mislead about the practice. It is no
coincidence that they are strongly discouraged from getting teachings
anywhere else because they might hear a different story.

I pray that this situation will be resolved before any further harm
occurs to any individual or institution.

Barry.


elaine.e...@gmail.com

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Jan 25, 2013, 2:11:19 AM1/25/13
to
On Tuesday, June 11, 1996 12:00:00 AM UTC-7, Eddie Butler wrote:
> Of late there have been various allegations that describe the New
> Kadampa Tradition as a harmful cult. I have been in touch with Inform
> in London, who investigate all UK religious organizations. They say
> that they have fully investigated the New Kadampa Tradition, and have
> found nothing whatsoever that is a cause for alarm or concern.
>
> Regards, Eddie

I am an ordained nun who lived at the UK NKT with Geshe Kelsang. He is a beautiful brilliant teacher full of love and compassion and immense wisdom. I was actually ordained by HH The Dalai Lama and returned to Gesge Kelsang who loved and cared for me spiritually just the same. I left the centre for my own reasons, and was never made to feel rejected or abandoned. For many years I have kept slight contact but moved to Canada where I have my own rural teaching centre. Geshe Kelsang's teachings saved my life and 30 years on I thank every day I knew him. We are all makers of our own Karma and have the free will to live our lives the best way. Of course he uses his books alone because a lot of us Westerners get so confused and lost in Buddhism with grasping and greed, we NEED a firm path and guide. No one in the NKT will harm you for reading other material it just isnt sold in the cetres...DUH! And as for money or work in the tea shop...Well where is there on this earth any such environment with electric bills taxes and so forth that does not need money to provide for survival...and where does anyone in the western world get to live ANYWHERE for free...WHY should they live for free? These centres attract a lot of 'bums' and druggies and Geshe Kelsang cleared it all up and used stric wisdom and compassion to do so. Just ask yourself what kind of lives would these followers have without Geshe las teachings. People are lost and searching in life, and no one gives a shit if you were lying in a gutter homeless...but suddenly everyone cares when they see these people finally find something that is spiritually binding with joy. No one stops ordained from leaving as no one stopped me. Consequences are written for disregarding ordination vows but they can easily be returned happily. At least we TRY to better ourselves...As for money...Everyone has to pay there way or work for their keep in life. Even Buddhism needs financial aid to provide teachings and shelter. You can not blame Geshe Kelsang for all human ills that abide in all monastic establishments whatever the religion. He IS the closest to a Buddha we westerners may meet. He wouldn't hurt a fly literally. The rest is up to us as individuals.

Julian

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Jan 25, 2013, 3:35:29 PM1/25/13
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The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
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