This article is written by AB at @happyops.
In light of the teaching tour of Gen Kelsang Jampa in cities around Australian and New Zealand during January 2019 I wanted to describe the four reasons why I refer to the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) as a cult. Gen Kelsang Jampa is the Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT and is a long-term student of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
This is based on my own personal experiences and the reader can verify these points through their own online research. Previously I wrote these articles about about my experiences:
- Check For Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, Lessons from NKT Controversy
- Check For Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, Lessons from Leaving The NKT
Four Reasons Why NKT Is Considered A Cult
I describe the NKT as a cult for four specific reasons:
1. Self-installed leader: The NKT was setup by the Geshe Kelsang Gyatso as a self-installed leader; however, the NKT isolates itself entirely from Buddhist or Tibetan communities. More than that, the NKT actively disrupts the teachings of HH Dalai Lama in Australia and around the world through “protests”. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso receives adulation in the NKT daily prayers.
2. Focus on specific practices: The NKT takes all of the teaching material from traditional Tibetan Buddhist sources, as presented by the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso; however, the NKT daily prayers recitations focus on the Dorje Shugden protector, to the exclusion of other traditional Buddhist prayers and sutras.
3. Sexual activities: There are multiple stories of ordained people (ie. monks and nuns) in the NKT group not adhering to the celibacy vows or exploiting their position as teacher in the special teacher / student relationship. This is a special relationship of trust for the purpose of spiritual development but it has been willingly exploited within the NKT group. This exploitation is exemplified by the sexual behaviour of Kelsang Samden (Gen Samden), but the sex scandals of Kelsang Samden are not unique within the NKT group.
4. Financial issues: There are many stories of students being pressured to hand over ownership of land or property to the NKT or other financial impropriety demonstrated by the NKT. Also, all donations collected by the NKT goes into financing the NKT, such as maintenance and the addition of new land and properties. The NKT does not engage in outreach programmes or community projects.
These features of the NKT have left many students with PTSD-like (Post traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms along with massive financial debts, and left them stranded on a spiritual path after a misguided frenzy.
Wishing you every happiness, AB and @happyops.