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Thread: Disturbing sect

  1. #1

    Disturbing sect

    Hi all, I ran into this article. Didn't know anything about this sect, so I thought I would put the info here so anyone who also didn't know could take it in.
    Just in case you meet or know someone who gets pulled into this thing.

    Gassho

    Vincent

    http://buddhism-controversy-blog.com...d-into-a-cult/


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  2. #2
    Hi Vincent,

    I am a complete outsider to Tibetan Buddhist issues, but I believe it can be said that this is a very complicated affair and very connected to internal Tibetan politics, with various sides. Perhaps some of our members with more experience with Tibetan Buddhism will offer comment.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-23-2014 at 06:21 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Wow! Thanks for the heads up.

    Gassho, John
    Sat Today

  4. #4
    Hi all

    I was a member of this group and lived in their Canterbury centre for a short while before becoming aware of their nature. I am not sure they are exactly a cult but they do have some worrying qualities about how they interpret the dharma, especially with regard to their ongoing dispute with HH Dalai Lama.

    The NKT is headed by one single 'Geshe' (sources say he never actually completed his Geshe studies) who was asked to teach in the UK by the reputable FPMT organisation. He ended up splitting off from there and taking over their main centre in Cumbria by deceptive means. Members of the NKT are advised only to read books by 'Geshe' Kelsang Gyatso and the bibliography of his books only contain reference to his other books. He has since been expelled from his own school.

    Several prominent members of the NKT have been involved in sexual scandals which have been brushed under the carpet and covered up with misinformation such as the perpetrator going away for a period of solitary retreat.

    The NKT does not have links with other Buddhist organisations and considers itself the only pure lineage of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. They have called HH Dalai Lama a dictator because he speaks out against one of their practices that has a history of inciting vioence against other Tibetan schools. This speaking out is done under the cover of other organisations such that the NKT is not directly implicated. Similarly, as the NKT has gathered a negative reputation, it carries out activities under the name Modern Buddhism. Whereas I have no problem with peaceful protest, even if I disagree with it, their activity in turning up outside all of His Holiness's public talks and shouting slogans such as 'False Dalai Lama Stop Lying' seem to be against the notion of Right Speech. They even go inside his talks and disrupt them.

    The dharma taught by the NKT is not all bad but is the most rigid and literal form of Tibetan dharma I have encountered. For those interested in Gelug teachings in the west, FPMT are a much more reliable organisation supported by HH Dalai Lama and with many genuine Tibetan teachers involved in their teaching programmes.

    I know several people who have been badly harmed by this organisation (one former nun was thrown out of the centre where she lived with her children for refusing to cover up part of a scandal) and also some very lovely dharma practitioners who are still in it.

    All in all, the NKT is best avoided in my opinion but do not believe all that is written about it either. Tenzin Paljor has a particular axe to grind as do many (understandably) upset ex members. Their influence on Tibetan dharma in the west has not been positive and their continued growth in the UK and attempts to control dharma on university campuses is worrying. Many of their classes are run by peoiple with very limited experience of the dharma.

    If anyone requires further information, let me know.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    #not sat yet

  5. #5
    Hello,

    Amazing.

    Thank you for the link.


    Gassho,
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  6. #6
    Hi,

    When I was looking for a place to learn and practice buddhism, I came across the NKT Argentina facebook page.
    A Jonang tibetan teacher warned me about they being rather sectarian (although he considered so all gelugpas), so I started to read several articles about them and the controversy with His Holiness and the Dorje Shudgen practice.
    As I wanted to know some more, I wrote them asking for their opinion or explanation about the subject but they never answered in any way.

    That prevented me from visiting them and I think now that I was fortunate, because I kept looking and after some time found and followed the Soto Zen buddhist tradition.

    Gassho,
    Walter

    #SatToday
    Gassho,Walter

  7. #7
    Regarding cults and the abuse of spiritual power, I will mention two books:

    Combatting Cult Mind Control, by Steven Hassan

    The Guru Papers, by Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad

    These are good general treatments of the subject, but again, read them with your own discernment.

    _/\_ Shinzan
    sattoday
    Last edited by Shinzan; 12-22-2014 at 04:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Hi Kokuu,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and insight.
    Metta for all. May everyone find their way.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

  9. #9
    Thanks for the heads up and to Kokuu for additional information.
    All the best to those implicated in this.

    Gassho
    Aske
    #SAT TODAY!
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  10. #10
    Thank you all, and Kokuu for this more in depth info.

    Gassho

    Vincent

    Sat today


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  11. #11
    Hi Vincent,

    Kadampa Buddhism is starting to be very popular here in Mexico. They are opening a lot of centers and teaching people to meditate. I was in contact with a couple of their members and while I can't consider it a cult, I can say they have a very special way to see life.

    I didn't join specifically because the way they treat women. They tend to separate them and what I think we need is to break walls and to include everyone.

    But that's just me and I admit I didn't researched much.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  12. #12
    Well I have to say I am surprised. I never thought I would see sect bashing in here. How disappointing
    Sat today

  13. #13
    The Dalai Lamas banning of a particular practice has created a virtual apartheid in parts of Tibet and India. People cannot get medical assistance if they don't carry a card to state that they have renounced the practice he himself practiced for decades. Nor can their children gain an education etc.....

    I respectfully suggest those who have thrown a boot in here by thanking the OP for a heads up thoroughly research the facts themselves before subscribing to one side or another.

    I am not an NKT member nor am I particularly interested in their activities. What I do know is that what the Dalai Lama has done is categorically wrong and is the cause of suffering for many.

    The description I have read here about the NKT is the standard party line stuff that's been around for years....it's full of conjecture and fabrications as well as being riddled with inaccuracies - has overtones of The Emporers Clothes!!

    If anyone wants an unbiased level headed take they can contact me too.....
    Last edited by dharmasponge; 12-24-2014 at 10:59 PM.
    Sat today

  14. #14
    Thank you Tony.

    It is dangerous to speak from rumor and limited information.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Thank you Tony. Wise reflection.

    I've limited myself to tell my very short non-experience but perhaps failed to keep my words impartial.
    Anyway, I don't care much because I'm not practicing in either tibetan tradition and don't know a thing about then.

    Sometimes it's healthier to keep one's mouth shut.


    Gassho,
    Walter.

    #SatToday
    Gassho,Walter

  16. #16

    Disturbing sect

    Hi Tony,

    I don't see any sect bashing, more fact checking. The reason I started this thread is this:
    Personally if I hear stories like this I want to know what it is about in order to be able to take the right action when it is needed. What better place to fact check than this one?

    Perhaps I should have made that more clear in the original post.

    Nevertheless If I read the thread back, I mostly see moderate and reasonable responses.

    I don't know about the Dalai Lama or Tibetan politics, as soon as politics comes in I lose interest honestly. Not my cup of tea.

    What I do know is that I read a disturbing story of a man who says his life was badly influenced by this sect, and if that is true I want to be able to warn people around me if they happen to run into such a group.

    I honestly see nothing wrong with that.

    You offer an unbiased take on this. Why not share it here? I would love to hear it!

    Thanks everyone for the input.

    Gassho

    Vincent

    Sat today


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    Last edited by Ongen; 12-25-2014 at 07:35 AM.
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  17. #17
    Hi Tony

    That information about children not being able to attain an education is incorrect and propaganda spread by the pro Shugden groups as is not being able to attain medical support. There is no basis to it. His Holiness has had to take a decision based on the views of all Buddhist schools in Tibet and not just a minority of practitioners in one. That some people have had a traditional practice banned is indeed sad and the cause of suffering but allowing it to continue would also have caused suffering. What is the right decision?

    How much do you know about Shugden practice? Supporters of the practice admit that this protector is venerated specifically to cause harm to practitioners who take teachings outside of the tradition (including His Holiness). This violates one of the precepts and is recorded in two books from Sugden practitioners. It is designed to promote the political domination of one sect over all of the others. I have researched this very thoroughly after being involved in the NKT and do not speak from rumour or hearsay. The group speaking out against His Holiness has been called out again and again for their lies and misinformation and use of underhand tactics such as monks posing as independent journalists. Does this sound like Right Action or Right Speech?

    Personally, I think that it would be unwise not to warn people about worrying Buddhist traditions. In American Zen it took time to speak out against teachers guilty of abuse. Some people think Buddhists should speak only kind and pleasing words. Sometimes, I believe we need to take a stand and this is one of those times.

    Please let me know which parts of my information you consider inaccurate here or privately and I will be happy to debate with you. I stand by everything I have said above which comes first hand from my own experience from living in an NKT centre and contact with members and past members of that organisation who have been affected by the NKT and extensive research on Tibetan traditions which I was a part of for many years.

    Gassho
    Kokuu

  18. #18
    To be honest I really don't want to get sucked into an NKT slagging session. It's all been done before. It's cumbersome and counterproductive.

    I have met many many NKT people over the years both in their centre's and privately. I can state that they have never been anything other than gentle and kind people dedicated to their chosen tradition. Not the cult victims they're made out to be. That is my personal experience over the last thirty years. I am sure in an organisation that size there will be those who have negative experiences. That's what happens when a group of humans get together!

    In terms of Geshe Kelsang. I neither know or care whether he has a Geshe degree. I do know that his books are clear and concise. Dharma presented for the western palate. What's wrong with that??

    The devotion to their Lama is no more strange than people being 'followers' of the Dalai Lama. What's the difference? Guru devotion is at the heart of the Tibetan tradition. So why is it considered virtuous for people to follow the political leader of Tibet, but following your chosen teacher is cult like? More Emporers Clothes.

    My understanding is that they're protesting against the Dalai Lamas banning of a centuries old practice and his consistent inability to compromise at the very least. It's pathological that he refuses to acknowledge the suffering that his actions have caused.

    Kokuu your take on Shugden practice is wholly unfamiliar to me and frankly sounds like the medieval fantasies that I hear from Dalai Lama followers. He has even said that people who continue this practice are contributing to shortening his life and harming the Tibetan cause. I thought he was supposed to be intelligent???

    Finally I'm afraid you're wrong regarding it not being true that people are refused medical care and so on. They're not even allowed to enter certain shops without producing their 'card'.

    There was a documentary made by a Swiss TV service that attempted to get to the bottom of this matter. The result was shocking and proved the above allegations to be true.

    I am done here regarding this subject. The facts are there for all to see. As someone once said if the truth can be told so it is understood, it WILL be believed.
    Sat today

  19. #19
    Apologies for typos BTW. Got a 1 year old throwing Lego at me!

    Happy Christmas

    Oh.....

    ...I sat today!
    Sat today

  20. #20
    Hi Tony

    Personally I believe that debate is helpful in correcting inaccuracies.

    My understanding is that they're protesting against the Dalai Lamas banning of a centuries old practice and his consistent inability to compromise at the very least. It's pathological that he refuses to acknowledge the suffering that his actions have caused.

    Kokuu your take on Shugden practice is wholly unfamiliar to me and frankly sounds like the medieval fantasies that I hear from Dalai Lama followers.
    I am afraid your understanding is exactly that put out by the NKT and Western Shugden Society and is a massive oversimplification of the issue. They are very adept at propaganda and manipulating the media and maintain control of the Wikipedia pages on the associated subjects. It is indeed a centuries old practice but one explicitly designed to foster Gelug interests at the expense of other schools under the threat of harm and death. I do not personally believe that this would happen but the fact is that Tibetans do and Shugden practice is extremely divisive. Pro Shugden Lamas have written several books on the harm this protector can do and celebrate the fact he has apparently caused the death of monks who have fallen out of line.

    I too know many lovely NKT people and am still friends with several. The 'in any large organisation there will be issues' argument is frankly a non-starter though and defence of the many bad things that have happened to people. No other Buddhist organisation has several internet groups for survivors of their membership of a group. That is not to say that the NKT has not been helpful for many people. I would not argue with that. Doubtless many people also benefitted from teachers such as Genpo Roshi and Chogyam Trungpa while others were very harmed by their actions.

    I do agree with you that His Holiness could have handled this whole situation better. There may well have been instances of Shugden practitioners being mistreated in India and any of this needs addressing. There is one video of one Shugden devotee being refused entry to one shop but even this is unacceptable. All of the evidence of mistreatment was given to Amnesty though and they found no basis in it. Shugden Society videos have repeatedly been shown to lack credibility but any independent evidence needs to be looked at thoroughly and His Holiness needs to address it.

    As to the subject of a Geshe degree, I agree that is neither here nor there in terms of his ability to teach. However, if the leader of a Buddhist organisation claims to have a recognised qualification that he does not, this is worrying. It would be like Jundo claiming to have received dharma transmission when he has not.

    This is probably not the place for a lengthy debate on this organisation but the facts are not as clear as you make out. The NKT remains a worrying organisation that I would advise genuine dharma practitioners to avoid and I do not say this lightly or without having considered the fact very carefully.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    Last edited by Kokuu; 12-25-2014 at 09:03 AM.

  21. #21
    I guess the only difference is I would advise people not to avoid, but to investigate and make up their own minds.
    Sat today

  22. #22
    Hello,

    Metta to all.

    Shutup.


    Gassho,
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  23. #23
    I guess the only difference is I would advise people not to avoid, but to investigate and make up their own minds.
    I think that is a very fair comment, Tony.


    Kokuu

  24. #24
    Tony, Kokuu,

    Thank you both for this discussion. I too think that people should make up their own minds.
    But while they do so, it is also good for them to have some background in order not to bite into possible brainwashing or indoctrination activities such as are described in the link above.

    These things work even on the most alert and intelligent people (I have seen it happening in a christian context here in Holland) and are not to be taken lightly. Making up ones own mind in these cases could sneakily be turned into having ones mind made up by someone else.

    In this context and with the above info I would advise people to be extra careful with this organisation.
    That said, If I felt I would need to say something like that about am organisation I would not advise anyone to get involved in it alltogether anyway and find a more innocent one. There's plenty of those around

    Gassho

    Vincent

    Sat today


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  25. #25
    Having no horse in this race, and not knowing how to judge the situation, I can just offer Metta to all involved.

    Perhaps we should concentrate on our own garden here, and not so much on the neighbors.

    If there is a cultish or abusive situation, it should be criticized, but it is very hard for an outsider to know what is the full story.

    Gassho, J

    SitAlong!
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-26-2014 at 01:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Perhaps we should concentrate on our own garden here, and not so much on the neighbors.
    .

    Gassho, J

    SitAlong!

    Very wise words, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Having no horse in this race, and not knowing how to judge the situation, I can just offer Metta to all involved.

    Perhaps we should concentrate on our own garden here, and not so much on the neighbors.

    If there is a cultish or abusive situation, it should be criticized, but it is very hard for an outside to know what is the full story.

    Gassho, J

    SitAlong!
    Nicely said Jundo, thank you. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat Holly Jolly Today =)

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