Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

New Kadampa Buddhism - is it bad ?

Namaste,

I have a question about New Kadampa Buddhism. Theres a center near me that runs meditation classes etc ...its the nearest one to me and I also have some books about meditation and Buddhism by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso that so far have been quite helpfull for me ...

Id like to go but ive seen a few times people warning about New Kadampa and i get the impression that its bad ? not mainstream ? or unaccepted in some way ?

I might be completely wrong, but i want to be sure before i start going to classes etc that im not getting into something sinister or a cult or a teaching that is very differant from Buddhas...

does that make sense ? if anyone can help me out here id be gratefull...

Thankyou :)

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited August 2009
    Others will fill you in more but I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. Anything controversial is gonna kick back at some point.
  • edited August 2009
    Channah108;63492 said:
    I also have some books about meditation and Buddhism by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso that so far have been quite helpfull for me ...
    Hi Channah,
    Geshe Kelsang's books are generally very well written and were many years ago quite ground-breaking, as he touched on some advanced material which was not generally available back then.
    unaccepted in some way ?
    Big spat with the Dali Lama. Lot's on the web about it, if you've nothing better to do. All to do with a 'protector' practice.
    a cult or a teaching that is very differant from Buddhas
    The teaching is standard Tibetan Gelugpa (biggest of the 4 schools). Geshe Kelsang does deliver the teachings of his lineage faithfully and I've never found anything in his material which could be considered heretical from a Tibetan Buddhist P.O.V.
    It's just the NKT, as an organization is very cult-like in its operation and has broken away from the mother ship so to speak. Nasty business.

    On the other hand, they are very efficient at getting their centers into towns up and down the country whilst other branches of Tibetan Buddhism just tend to have centers in the big cities. Chances are, 95% of people in the UK will find that an NKT center is their nearest Tibetan (or even Buddhist) place.

    Still, I believe the Krishnas run a very slick, modern operation so it shouldn't come as a shock. Just get some information under your belt first.

    Namaste
  • edited August 2009
    While I am sure there are a few other threads which touch on this subject here is a link to the most recent one of my knowledge.

    http://www.newbuddhist.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3407
  • edited August 2009
    As Srivijaya said, there's a ton of info online if you want to investigate and I always strongly recommend thorough investigation of any group calling themselves Buddhist.

    There are always going to be people in the world who call themselves one thing and practice another and who seek followers for unskillful reasons. So I think it's imperative to research fully any teacher or group you come across before you allow yourself to become spiritually vulnerable to them.

    But you obviously know this already or you wouldn't have posted your question in the first place. I'm just reinforcing the care you're taking in choosing a Buddhist community. :)

    When I was first looking into it, I found it useful to type into Google "New Kadampa Buddhism controversy". In fact, I add the word 'controversy' to any group or teacher I'm investigating on Google and take it from there.
  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran
    edited August 2009
    "fraud," "harrasment," and "legal" are other good keywords. :)
  • edited August 2009
    Aside from all the controversy, NKT suffers from the usual problem when an organization grows large: less experienced people get put in the teacher's role. This can be a real problem and you're better off with an accomplished teacher, even if it means traveling out of your way.
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited August 2009
    Brigid;63562 said:
    I always strongly recommend thorough investigation of any group calling themselves Buddhist.
    You sound like an 'expert'.
    There are always going to be people in the world who call themselves one thing and practice another...
    Mmmm....
    ...before you allow yourself to become spiritually vulnerable to them.
    So becoming religious is allowing oneself to become 'vulnerable', like when one enters into a sexual/filial relationship or getting married...

    I find the sweetest most virtuous guru and become 'vulnerable' to them...give my soul to them...


    :smilec:
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited August 2009
    jinzang;63602 said:
    Aside from all the controversy, NKT suffers from the usual problem when an organization grows large: less experienced people get put in the teacher's role. This can be a real problem and you're better off with an accomplished teacher, even if it means traveling out of your way.
    The most essential matter is practise. If people come together and practise, that is fine. It shows people are self-motivated rather than guru-motivated.

    In my opinion, those who push the doctrine of the 'qualified teacher' are those to be most wary of.

    Many Tibetan groups have teachers with little realisation or skill.

    Whether the FPMT or Shakya, they train up whoever is willing and have them teach.

    This is because teaching is a path of practise also.

    One must be careful to over-emphasise 'the teacher'.

    Even in Theravada, they just send you up on the stage to give some talks if they need you to.

    Or Christian groups are a good example. They just get together and pray & bible study at someone's house.

    I think what most cannot tolerate about the NKT is its rejection of the Tibetan guru status quo.

    :)
  • edited August 2009
    Dhamma Dhatu;63613 said:


    Many Tibetan groups have teachers with little realisation or skill.




    Hi DD,

    You have extensive experience of many Tibetan groups do you? What is your experience of Kagyu and Nyingma? Can you name some of these teachers you say have little realisation or skill?

    I think what most cannot tolerate about the NKT is its rejection of the Tibetan guru status quo.



    Don't NKT regard Geshe Kelzang as a guru? NKT practice Guru Yoga do they not?


    Kind regards,

    Dazzle

    :buck:
  • edited August 2009
    TSK TSK, You haven't answered my questions, dearest !


    :p



    PS

    Later Several posts have now disappeared..
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited August 2009
    Dazzle;63618 said:
    TSK TSK, You haven't answered my questions, dearest ! :p
    Dazzbling

    Your question is unrelated to my statement.

    I already mentioned two prominant Tibetan orgs, namely FPMT and Shakya.

    These orgs are always training people to teach. Where I live, we have two ladies who teach Shakya. They simply attended a weekend course and started teaching.

    Regarding the groups you mentioned, they do not represent Tibetan Buddhism. They are merely groups.

    However, I have read the quotes you post from these groups, from teachers who cannot even discern the difference between consciousness and mind objects, vinnana and citta.

    Just more parroting. Create more confusion than clarity.


    ;)
  • edited August 2009
    Dhamma Dhatu;63612 said:
    You sound like an 'expert'.


    Mmmm....


    So becoming religious is allowing oneself to become 'vulnerable', like when one enters into a sexual/filial relationship or getting married...

    I find the sweetest most virtuous guru and become 'vulnerable' to them...give my soul to them...


    :smilec:
    I sound like an 'expert' for advising thorough examination of any group calling themselves Buddhist? I have no idea what you're trying to say. You honestly have a problem with that simple a statement?

    Yes, many people become vulnerable to the extreme when starting a spiritual search for a teacher.

    I have no idea what your problem is, DD. I guess I'll just have to put you back on the 'Ignore' list. You're creating unnecessary conflict and I don't have the time or energy for it.
  • edited August 2009
    The net always throws up extremes if you search for them, and one may always find a source of discontent. Aside from those professional forum malcontents failing to find their latest 'saviour' in Geshe Kelsang, having bounced to the NKT from Osho or wherever, I find most of the accusers have never read a single NKT book or attended any classes. They simply believe and echo others.

    To see him as a Buddha (or conduit of Buddhadharma) is a standard Tibetan lama chopa attitude, but to worship a Geshe is just plain daft. I have seen such sad cases, gazing beatifically at pictures of GKG or the Dalai Lama and commenting that he is a living god - just as they would at Jesus or the late Michael Jackson. Those who do so at NKT events have not been encouraged, from what I've seen, by Geshe Kelsang or anyone I see regularly in the NKT. You get people like that everywhere.

    The NKT experiment has thrown up some very bad behaviour, especially abuses of power, but in 10 years of contact I've known no 'cult' pressure for money or commitment and know the classes to be the same as Gelugpa groups teach (I have 2 Lharampa Geshes within 20 miles of me).

    The 'Protector' Shugden business is now calming down amongst Tibetans in India, yet some Westerners cannot let go of their anger at the NKT or at the Dalai Lama. It's very sad. Ironically, in the Vajrayana Tantric Vows there are vows advising against adverse criticism of other gurus and schools (albeit they forbid criticism of the 'Hinayana' - itself pejorative image ).

    Once we see our teachers as incapable of wrongdoing or even human weakness, we are down the rocky road of guru worship - very unwise, whether that guru is Geshe Kelsang or the Dalai Lama. ;)
  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran
    edited August 2009
    Brigid;63633 said:
    I have no idea what your problem is, DD.You're creating unnecessary conflict and I don't have the time or energy for it.
    Have to agree with this. That was perfectly reasonable advice. What's going on, Element?
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited August 2009
    fivebells;63643 said:
    Have to agree with this. That was perfectly reasonable advice. What's going on, Element?
    Nothing is going on Fivebells. Merely differences of opinion and a lack of comprehending eachother. I personally did not find the advice reasonable.

    How many Buddhist groups have you been part of Five Bells or merely visited?

    Have you ever been to a NKT centre? I have many times.

    I have visited nearly every Buddhist centre in a major city. I found nothing sinister in any of them.

    In brief, there is a very large Buddhist organisation being demonised .

    DDhatu

    :)
  • cazcaz Veteran
    edited August 2009
    Nothing is wrong with the NKT you find much gossip on the internet it is always best to take it with a pinch of salt ( or a large bag ) as some people have never even been to a centre yet blindly repeat every accusation and slander they hear.

    My advice go along to classes see weather you enjoy them, talk to people there get to know people and then see if it suits. Its the only way...

    Besides there are many contraversial groups in every religion but most of the time the contraversy just turns out to be those pesky sectarian people.

    From 12 plus years of going to my local NKT centre as upasaka said theres no cult pressure or anything of such sure bad behaviour accours in every organisation tibetan buddhism is no exception, geshe kelsangs works are highly reconmended for understanding the profound nature of the teachings, he even had the dalai lama writing a forward in one of his books saying how wonderful he was....
    But of course in the end its better not to let anyone influence the out come of any decision you make and gain experience yourself.

    With metta caz.
  • edited August 2009
    federica;63505 said:
    Others will fill you in more but I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. Anything controversial is gonna kick back at some point.
    Buddha was probably 'controversial' in his time, so was Jesus. Best avoid the both of them, then? Anyone who swims against the tide of opinion is also therefore obviously wrong - truth by majority verdict?

    On two threads you say of the NKT that you 'wouldn't touch it with a bargepole'.

    How much time have you personally spent with the NKT?
    How many people have you spoken with about the NKT (other than online)?
    What does the NKT teach that you object to?


    What have you proof of that it does in order to be so unworthy?:

    Sex scandals?
    Yup, a handful of those in senior positions abused power in the last decade or so - and another 1,100 NKT centres worldwide have members who did not. I could point the 'sex scandal' finger at lots of other Buddhist groups, but that's not the issue.

    Charged fees?
    Yup, I pay a princely £4 towards the cost of my teacher travelling 40 miles, hire of the room, tea and biscuits. When I had no money, I paid no money. Scandalous, eh? Geshe Kelsang Gyatso does not even own a car. Pretty useless as a cult leader - he should have at least a Popemobile or a Gold Rolls Royce or two.

    Against the Dalai Lama's wishes?

    Yup, like many other Geshes who stayed true to their own teachers, Geshe Kelsang still recommends Dorje Shugden as a Protector. Before the Dalai Lama changed his mind, he praised Geshe Kelsang very highly, both as an author and teacher of Buddhism. LIke other Gelugpa Geshes and the Dalai Lama, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso also uses Kinkara and Mahakala, as well as other Protectors - funny we never hear about that.

    I would like to know the reason for your conclusion that the NKT should be avoided. I hope it is something other than unproven assertions on the net, or the sad story of a few disgruntled 'saviour seekers'.

    After all, advice given to someone seeking help on a Buddhist path should be taken very seriously. One Buddhist should not seek to advise against another who they do not even know - after all, you do not know the centre or the teachers concerned, and they are 'the NKT' in question ;).
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited August 2009
    upasaka;63663 said:
    Buddha was probably 'controversial' in his time, so was Jesus. Best avoid the both of them, then?
    Controversy does not surround them now. When NKT attains the same credibility, I'll reconsider.
    On two threads you say of the NKT that you 'wouldn't touch it with a bargepole'.

    How much time have you personally spent with the NKT?
    How many people have you spoken with about the NKT (other than online)?
    What does the NKT teach that you object to?
    I've had enough advice from people I both trust and admire about being wary. And as I follow Theravada, I'm happy with my decision to steer well clear.
    Tibetan Buddhism in itself is not for me.
    NKT even more so, given that my Tibetan Buddhist friends shun it. Some with good reason.
    I have had no direct experience, it's true. But some friends have, and their advice is good enough for me.

    I would like to know the reason for your conclusion that the NKT should be avoided. I hope it is something other than unproven assertions on the net, or the sad story of a few disgruntled 'saviour seekers'.
    The fact that this is the only tradition which causes heated discussions and arguments, indignation and defensiveness, seems to point at something to question and be more enquiring about.
    Why should that not be sufficient, given that it's rare to hear anything else?
    After all, advice given to someone seeking help on a Buddhist path should be taken very seriously. One Buddhist should not seek to advise against another who they do not even know - after all, you do not know the centre or the teachers concerned, and they are 'the NKT' in question ;).
    like I said......
    What my good, trusted and reliable friends have told me, is good enough for me.
    Each to his own.
    I - on good and trusted advice - wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, because I don't want to.

    I hope that's enough for you.
    'm not intending to elaborate.
  • edited August 2009
    federica;63665 said:
    [quote=upasaka;63663]Buddha was probably 'controversial' in his time, so was Jesus. Best avoid the both of them, then?

    Controversy does not surround them now. When NKT attains the same credibility, I'll reconsider.



    I've had enough advice from people I both trust and admire about being wary. And as I follow Theravada, I'm happy with my decision to steer well clear.
    Tibetan Buddhism in itself is not for me.
    NKT even more so, given that my Tibetan Buddhist friends shun it. Some with good reason.
    I have had no direct experience, it's true. But some friends have, and their advice is good enough for me.




    Why should that not be sufficient, given that it's rare to hear anything else?



    like I said......
    What my good, trusted and reliable friends have told me, is good enough for me.
    Each to his own.
    I - on good and trusted advice - wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, because I don't want to.

    I hope that's enough for you.
    'm not intending to elaborate.

    Thanks. I'm not here for anything other than a fair discussion, too. :)

    The views of friends you trust is obviously OK for you to make your mind up. And of course you see more negative stuff on the web - people rarely bother to praise what is going right, but are very keen to moan and complain. Maybe the views of over 6,000 people attending this year's Summer Festival carry less weight than your mates, but here's a sample:
    http://kadampafestivals.org/2009/summer/

    I just think it is wrong to use your friends' views to persuade others about what is probably a completely different centre with different people.

    Logically, condemning every NKT member and all 1,100 centres worldwide because your friends do, is not acceptable IMHO.
  • edited August 2009
    Namaste,

    I apologize if my lack of knowledge of Buddhist teachings and ''movements ( ? ) '' or practices has caused bad feelings or conflict here - it was not my intention to be controversial or to cause conflict in any way...

    I asked the question only because I always like to understand what it is im doing or getting into before i do it...

    when i first started going to the hare krishna temple in London, id heard many times that the movement was a cult, far removed and outside of '' mainstream '' or accepted Hindu philosophy and practice... that devotees were a bunch of brainwashed hippies playing at being indians etc ...

    fortunatly id had the benefit of growing up in a heavily asian area, and i knew enough about hinduism to understand what was and was not ''normal'' or accepted practice and teachings...

    I dont have the benefit of that knowledge when it comes to Buddhism... im completely blind and my nearest center that I can go for information is the NKD...

    I heard bad things before about the NKD, and although im only planning to go along to their meditation classes and maybe the odd puja, i wanted to make sure that their teachings were /are at least in line with mainstream buddhist beliefs...

    to be honest i find the choice of Buddhist practices quite mind boggling,... and right now if i walked into a buddhist center id have no idea if i was walking into a cult, or about to meet the Dalai Lama himself... so i thought it was better to ask ....

    i appreciate theres always going to be a differance of opinion when it comes to religion or belief... but i guess in the first instance i just wanted to be sure that NKD is buddhism at its core, regardless of the desputes over gurus and leaders etc... and that im not going to be brainwashed or kidnapped the second i walk into one of their classes ...

    again - apologies for the conflict my question seems to have caused...
  • edited August 2009
    Even the Buddha said do not believe his words till you tried and tested them and found them to be true. The same should go for every teaching. Listen, think, examine, and practice. If after all that it doesn’t feel right to you then I suggest you to find another teacher. I personally have read some of the NKT books and Geshe-la does give a lot of wonderful advice as I have stated before. However some of his other teaching I found to be off to me. They did not feel right and therefore I placed them on the side and moved on. I study mainly from resources of the Thai Forest Tradition be cause those teachings I have found to be completely true to date. But I still attend meditation classes with the NKT on a weekly basis and enjoy it quite a bit. In the end the bickering, the controversies, and etc mean absolutely nothing. Nothing anyone here including myself says means anything in the way of truth. Everything we speak is based strictly upon views based upon our own perception of things. read what has been written by everyone, note it, and move on. Don’t take anything we say as truth, go out to the NKT or any other group and talk to them and see how what they have to teach sits within your own mind. I wish you the best of luck.
  • edited August 2009
    Dhamma Dhatu;63613 said:
    In my opinion, those who push the doctrine of the 'qualified teacher' are those to be most wary of. Many Tibetan groups have teachers with little realisation or skill. Whether the FPMT or Shakya, they train up whoever is willing and have them teach.
    The doctrine can be found in The Jewel Ornament of Liberation. It's common sense too. If you're having a heart operation, do you want someone who's just out of medical school? Why trust your meditation practice to a comparative novice? A novice teacher is better than none, I never said otherwise. But if you have the choice, I'd practice with the more experienced teacher, even if it means going out of your way.
  • edited August 2009
    Channah108;63667 said:
    Namaste,

    I apologize if my lack of knowledge of Buddhist teachings and ''movements ( ? ) '' or practices has caused bad feelings or conflict here - it was not my intention to be controversial or to cause conflict in any way...

    I asked the question only because I always like to understand what it is im doing or getting into before i do it...

    when i first started going to the hare krishna temple in London, id heard many times that the movement was a cult, far removed and outside of '' mainstream '' or accepted Hindu philosophy and practice... that devotees were a bunch of brainwashed hippies playing at being indians etc ...

    fortunatly id had the benefit of growing up in a heavily asian area, and i knew enough about hinduism to understand what was and was not ''normal'' or accepted practice and teachings...

    I dont have the benefit of that knowledge when it comes to Buddhism... im completely blind and my nearest center that I can go for information is the NKD...

    I heard bad things before about the NKD, and although im only planning to go along to their meditation classes and maybe the odd puja, i wanted to make sure that their teachings were /are at least in line with mainstream buddhist beliefs...

    to be honest i find the choice of Buddhist practices quite mind boggling,... and right now if i walked into a buddhist center id have no idea if i was walking into a cult, or about to meet the Dalai Lama himself... so i thought it was better to ask ....

    i appreciate theres always going to be a differance of opinion when it comes to religion or belief... but i guess in the first instance i just wanted to be sure that NKD is buddhism at its core, regardless of the desputes over gurus and leaders etc... and that im not going to be brainwashed or kidnapped the second i walk into one of their classes ...

    again - apologies for the conflict my question seems to have caused...
    Hi, Channah.

    You have nothing whatsoever to apologize for and you've done absolutely nothing wrong. You asked an intelligent question and got something you didn't deserve. I'm sorry this thread didn't follow a more skillful route. These things happen on the internet though, as you know, so I guess we just have to practice patience. :)
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited August 2009
    jinzang;63671 said:
    But if you have the choice, I'd practice with the more experienced teacher, even if it means going out of your way.
    Buddhism has been around for a long time. The Buddhist teachings regarding the path of practise are readily available. In my view, the role of a teacher is often over-emphasised. 'Teachers' often hold back more than they give.

    :)
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited August 2009
    Channah108;63667 said:
    I apologize if my lack of knowledge of Buddhist teachings and ''movements ( ? ) '' or practices has caused bad feelings or conflict here - it was not my intention to be controversial or to cause conflict in any way...
    Hi Channa

    You did not cause any conflict here. For most, the views exchanged were merely a discussion rather than 'conflict'. If 'conflict' did arise somewhere, it was caused by the mind of the one in conflict.

    Personally, I think your post stimulated reconciliation rather than conflict. It allowed many to air and clean up their dirty laundry.

    As Buddhists, most of us are fine. The Buddha said:
    "These two are wise people. Which two? The one who sees his transgression as a transgression and the one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his transgression. These two are wise people."
    Channah108;63667 said:
    fortunatly id had the benefit of growing up in a heavily asian area, and i knew enough about hinduism to understand what was and was not ''normal'' or accepted practice and teachings...

    to be honest i find the choice of Buddhist practices quite mind boggling,...

    i just wanted to be sure im not going to be brainwashed or kidnapped the second i walk into one of their classes ...
    The normal accepted practice of Buddhism is that of harmlessless, non-violence and a non-dogmatic spirit of inquiry.

    The non-dogmatic spirit of inquiry the Buddha established in many places, such as the Kalama Sutta, the Upali Sutta and the Sangarava Sutta.

    For example, in the Sangarava Sutta, the Buddha's attendent Ananda was pressuring a Brahmin to say his practises of sacrifices were violent and unbeneficial but the Buddha intervened in the conversation to relieve the brahman Sangarava of being humiliated by Ananda. The Buddha protected the brahman Sangarava.

    I like the following: Help! The Kalama Sutta, Help!

    You certainly will not get kidnapped at the NKT.

    Be at ease

    DDhatu

    :)
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited August 2009
    Good. That's that sorted then.

    Any further discussion on Kadampa, we know where to send questioners.
This discussion has been closed.