January 13, 2014

Past Life

A Tibetan Buddhist monk reflects on his rock 'n' roll roots

This short documentary tells the story of Kelsang Pawo (formerly Jeff Mince), a drummer-turned-monk who performed with punk rocker Nina Hagen during the mid-90s Los Angeles rock scene. 

Produced by Elizabeth Jenkins

Featuring Kelsang Pawo, Resident Teacher at Serlingpa Kadampa Meditation Center

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evanrij's picture

It struck me that he was uncomfortable about saying his pre-monastic name.

Norden's picture

What a great short film. Thank you Elizabeth and Pawo. I'm looking forward to sharing it with others. Very helpful

Dolgyal's picture

Dear Norden: I have a question regarding the number of Dolgyal practitioners your group persistently claims: can someone please break down the number of 5 million for me? The exile Tibetan population in India and Nepal is in decline largely due to emigration, it is very likely less than 200,000 at this point. There are no 'hat people' in Bhutan, period. There are of course a couple of hamlets in Tibet proper like Chatreng where, by the way the cult murder suspects were spotted, but I am still puzzled. I suspect these untold staunch millions are like the hundreds of names fraudulently added to the Western Shugden Society's online petition, which I expect you and all dutiful New Kadampas signed: that is, imaginary and fabricated. I noticed a large number of variations of Tibetan names supposedly from India added within minutes of each other in the course of the same day. To test my thesis, I added a number of bogus names myself that have remained on the 'petition' unchallenged for several years now. Isn't the WSS just a wee bit overzealous and dishonest to put forward fake names to make it look as though you have massive support?

Dolgyal's picture

Kelsang Norden is the shrill heckler who ambushed HHDL last week.

dharmonia's picture

So let's stir up more anger and hatred by publishing her address? I am not affiliated in any way with NKT, but perhaps there are better ways to respond to her inappropriate behavior. Do you really think that the reaction will be limited to phone calls and e-mails? Both NKT people and non-NKT Shugden practitioners have been attacked, spat on, and had things thrown at them by a number of "good Buddhists" in the name of His Holiness, who I suspect would be appalled by such behavior.

Dolgyal's picture

Please consider the following online comments from New Kadampa supporters:
“Aung San Suu Kyi is a Western puppet”

(Julio Springer Pitanga)
“The old hoax of “millions of Tibetans” killed by the Chinese are just the usual Jewish-Western propaganda cover for their own continuous and systematic massacres of Buddhist people, from Japan to Korea to Laos to Cambodia to Vietnam. Lucky were the Tibetans, as they were under direct Chinese protection, and therefore the Jewish-Westerner mass murderers, the Muslim Dalai allies, did not dare to openly attack.”
(Julio Springer Pitanga)

"…so many Tibetans are living in a state of pure ignorance…It is no wonder that the Tibetan community is so backward and that there are no famous Tibetan lay people in the world."
"...the Tibetan community is so backward and that there are no famous Tibetan lay people in the world. There are no well known Tibetan scientists or engineers or businessmen."
"Tibetans are generally not very educated, quite backwards and do not have much exposures to the outside world thus education and exposures are therefore very important."
":the Tibetan community is just filled with ignorant people"

” No wonder you lost your land, only cowards run away"

"Come on down and we’ll check your skin or better yet, We’ll just deport you back to China” (THOMAS DAVID CANADA)

This is voice of Modern Buddhism? Substitute another ethnic group in these quotes and nobody would not denounce such racist rhetoric.

Dolgyal's picture

Tibetans decry Dalai Lama slander by western followers of Shugden
Phayul[Wednesday, March 05, 2014 03:43]
By Kalsang Rinchen

San Francisco, March 4: Tibetan communities living in various parts of the United States and Canada, led by two members of the Tibetan parliament from North America, have condemned the recent “slander ” against the person of the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, currently on a three week visit to the US, by members of “International Shugden Community”.
29 Tibetan associations and the two members of Tibetan parliament, Tashi Namgyal and Norbu Tsering, have expressed concerns about the security of the Dalai Lama who is scheduled to give a public talk in Washington DC on March 7.

A joint statement issued by the members of Tibetan parliament, and the 29 Tibetan associations urged the US government to step up its security for the Tibetan leader who faced protests from the “International Shugden Community” in San Francisco.

The 2 members of the Tibetan Parliament have met with the representatives of 29 Tibetan associations in the US and Canada on the sidelines of the Tibetan leader’s visit to Minneapolis on March 2. The Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, at the Tibetan New Year celebrations in Minnesota, also expressed his concerns over the “denunciation” of the Tibetan leader and urged Tibetans all over the world to be mindful of such “slanderous” accusations against the Tibetan leader.

A video of the Tibetan leader talking to a nun apparently belonging to the “International Shugden Community” amongst the public on the way to his hotel in San Francisco was uploaded on youtube by a user called “Shugden”. Exile Tibetans say the video was taken with a deliberate attempt to defame the Tibetan leader who the nun and her fellow protesters allege is “undermining their religious freedom.” Meanwhile, the Tibetan exiles say that the allegations were baseless and that there was not a single Tibetan among the protesters outside the venue of the Tibetan leader’s talk on Feb. 23.

Jamyang Norbu, Tibetan writer and activist notorious among the Tibetan society for his open criticism of the Dalai Lama and exile Tibetan administration’s Middle Way Policy, has also expressed his reservations against the Tibetan leader’s encounter with the nun in the video, which he describes as “a deliberate set-up to embarrass” the Tibetan leader. “The behavior of the Western Shugden followers, at the very least, reveals an insensitivity to the hopes and dreams of those Tibetans suffering under Chinese rule who yearn for the day when the Dalai Lama will return to an independent homeland,” wrote Jamyang in an article “Is the Dalai Lama Safe”.

Pamphlets distributed by the protesters accuse the Tibetan leader as “the worst dictator of modern time.” Tibetan exiles said they feel deeply hurt by “such slander of their respected leader.” “It is particularly painful for us Tibetan Americans since we are acutely aware that His Holiness represents the only source of hope for millions of our compatriots inside Tibet,” said a statement by the Tibetan Association of Northern California, which organized the talk at the Berkeley School."

excerpted from:

Tenpel's picture

I agree with you. Let’s not stir this up.

But I would like to remind you too, to behave like you suggested, because the statement "in the name of His Holiness, who I suspect would be appalled by such behavior" is nothing else than to contribute to stir things up because it claims that the Dalai Lama would rejoice in others’ suffering, and such a claim cannot be validated in any way.

dharmonia's picture

I'm sorry, I don't understand why my statement suggests that the Dalai Lama would rejoice in other's suffering. I said I thought that he would be appalled by the behavior, meaning that he would be very troubled by seeing people hurting each other. This is the exact opposite of rejoicing in another's suffering.

Dolgyal's picture

Readers may note that another demonstration by the cult is gong to happen in Washington, DC in two days time. Here is a link to fundraising site:

They have raised over $14,000 to bus NKT cultists into DC to again shout “stop lying’ and ‘hypocrite’ to HHDL, disrupt the Dalai Lama's talk and thus attract as much national media attention as possible. Senior NKT 'teachers' ostensibly have had their passage from the UK to America booked far in advance, these demonstrations have been planned for some time. The Western Shugden Society (WSS) maintains two offices: one in London and one in Carlisle, Cumbria. That the board of WSS consists entirely of New Kadampa members is a matter of public record. An interesting fact is that the WSS online petition was padded with hundreds of false Tibetan names, all entered within minutes of each other supposedly from India.

Dharma_Dude's picture

I really enjoyed this documentary. Thank you very much for posting it.

It is truly sad, however, that there are so many people out there who choose to be intolerant of and disrespectful towards the many different lineages of Buddhism. Indeed such judgmental comments lack compassion, lovingkindness, and equanimity that define and are enshrined in Buddhism.

Dolgyal's picture

Dear Dharma Dude,
Rigdzin Jigmed Lingpa enumerates as a downfall:
"to be patient, complacent and affectionate
with those who, for example,
denigrate the teacher and the Triple Gem
and who destroy the teaching
–beings suitable for taming through ferocious means."

amy-la's picture

I really enjoyed this video! Thank you!!!

Clare Morin's picture

You know, I have been studying in this tradition for 10 years and am so thankful to Geshe Kelsang for his teachings and the positive impact it has had on my mind. I cannot speak to the experiences of others and wish to respect all views - we all have every right to our personal views and chosen paths. I am studying Shantideva's 'Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life', and found this to be helpful:

"Therefore, in whatever I do,
I will never cause harm to others;
And whenever anyone encounters me,
May it never be meaningless to them.

Whether those who encounter me
Generate faith or anger,
May it always be the cause
Of their fulfilling all their wishes.

May all those who harm me -
Whether verbally or by other means -
And those who otherwise insult me
Thereby create the cause to attain enlightenment

May I become a protector for the protectorless,
A guide for those who travel the road,
And, for those who wish to cross the water,
May I become a boat, a ship or a bridge.

May I become an island for those seeking dry land,
A lamp for those needing light,
A place of rest for those who desire one,
And a servant for those needing service."

Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life

Dolgyal's picture

Dear Clare: I would be very interested in your view on the WSS, which is clearly run by New Kadampa officers from an office in London, despite denials. Do you not think this activity is involvement in politics? How do you call yourself a Kadampa yet support an organisation that mounts several Anti-Tibetan scurrilous websites, publishes defamatory, slanderous books and noisily disrupts Buddhist prayer meetings with bullhorns? How is that even remotely Kadampa activity...I am curious how you will respond.

Clare Morin's picture

Dear Dolgyal,

I will attempt to answer your question to the best of my very limited ability, then I will wish you well and quietly disappear from this thread. I initially came on here to offer some personal reaction, as Kelsang Pawo - the monk featured in the above film - is my resident teacher (he's currently teaching Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life) so this was just some personal thoughts - I really don't want to offend anyone or cause harm.

I don't feel I have the ability to answer your question as I'm not trained in politics and I genuinely don't have any political views on Tibet - other than I wish Tibetans and all beings throughout the world from Syria to the Sudan to be free from suffering. The study programs I've been on for the past 10 years in NKT centers in both Hong Kong and the US have focused on studying wonderful texts that have helped me immensely in cultivating peace and loving-kindness, such as Heart of Wisdom (The Heart Sutra), Joyful Path of Good Fortune (Lamrim), Understanding the Mind (Lojong teachings), etc. What my teachers have taught me is how to harness my mind to virtue, to the best of my ability, so that I can aim to become kinder and of more benefit to others. I believe these teachings are of a real Kadampa essence. If I were ever in a teaching and being told to dislike certain people of a certain part of the world, I certainly would have used my discrimination and swiftly run away! But I've never been taught to dislike anyone. This is just some honest and heart-felt thoughts from me.

The verses from 'Advice from Atisha's Heart' is stuck over my desk and I try to replicate as much as I can in daily life. He has such wisdom and compassion. And he writes, "Since hatred is rife in these impure times, don the armour of patience, free from anger."

Dolgyal's picture

As earnest as you sound, are you telling me that no one in your experience of these teaching modules has stated the NKT position vis-a-vis the actual Gelukpa lineage? NKT claims to have cut itself off from the Tibetan tradition perhaps since 'Geshela's' expulsion from his dratsang, but I notice the western NKT novices still wear Tibetan robes, and not, say, gold blazers like Century 21 agents. The Australian Sangha Association stated: "according to our information the robed members of (New Kadampa Tradition) have not taken monastic vows as defined by the Vinaya which, as I am sure you know, is the collection of teachings by the Buddha that articulate the moral discipline to be followed by the ordained community.
The Sangha is a 2500 year old institution which has always kept the Vinaya rules as its core practice. It is this moral code which is the foundation of Buddhist monasticism and adherence to it is what defines a person as a Buddhist monk or nun...members of the NKT who wear robes do not follow this tradition. They have taken 5 precepts including a vow of celibacy and make 5 additional promises to behave in a manner consistent with Dharma and spiritual practice. This is indeed an admirable and praiseworthy commitment and we do not wish to imply that such practitioners are anything other than sincere and genuine in their devotion to the path. However it must be emphasised that this is not a monastic ordination according to the teachings of Buddha."
Similar observations regarding NKT 'ordination' have been made from Germany, Canada and several other western countries.
It may come as a surprise to you that the actual Kadampa teachings came directly through Gampopa in the Kagyu lineage, predating TsongKhapa, and were further propagated and elucidated by the 19th century non-sectarian Ris.med masters, so they are by no means the exclusive property of your group.
You may not harbour any political views, Clare, but you are tacitly supporting some extreme departures from the dharma, and not simply in the Asian tradition. Phowanka put himself in the place of Je Rinpoche in the practice of Lamrim, and NKT's so-called "Heart Jewel" is very much a departure and recent revision from Phowanka's personality cult, what one might call Phobangkaism rather than an actual Buddhism.
"Instead of Tsongkhapa, (Phabongkhapa) replaced the central guru figure with himself and the main protector of the Gelugpa, the Dharma-King Damchen Chögyal (Skt: Yama Dharmaraja), was replaced with Dorje Shxxxen."
(quoted from 'Exorcising Luther: Confronting the demon of modernity in Tibetan Buddhism', by Simon Francis Stirling Daisley, University of Canterbury, 2012.)
Lastly, I repeat here the fact that Phobangka had a financial, political and 'spiritual' dalliance with Liu Wenhui 刘文辉, an opium dealing Nationalist Chinese warlord who invaded sovereign Tibetan territory in the 1930's. This is a well established historical fact, rendering this particular "holy being" rather like Pope Pius XII–a collaborator with a genocidal maniac.
My suggestion would be to inform yourself about who is who and not just buy the whole package hook, line and sinker.
Best wishes.

Previouslydenyi's picture

Nobody in the NKT cares a jot about how the current politics undermines their Dharma or their teacher. When people start talking about the Dalai Lama they do not feel the weight of his name. He is just another teacher who doesn't like one of their Buddhas and was put in his position through politics and karma not necessarily realisation.

Nothing you said up there will change anything for them. They just hear blah blah blah outside of my lovely tradition people think this is important.

I am reminded of the Dogs tooth.

I was personally gutted to find out I wasn't even really ordained and that Geshe Kelsang knows this and just gives his students low level ordination for this life and future lives... oh and then you disrobe and get left to the dogs.

Dorje Shugdan to them is a wrathful manifestation of Majushri Buddha, If he is part of a Buddhas aspect they do not understand that he is a separate problem... just like green Tara and White Tara.

Just one line of Buddhas scriptures at the right time can rip open someone and cause them to awaken to possibilities and growth. Unfortunately it is often the case that these lines are heard coming out of the mouth of the wrong people. Again, unfortunately, once they have been heard and the awareness begins the gratitude for that goes on to the wrong source.

I could say that KG id to be thanked. He wrote the books and made the centres i learned an awful lot in... But just because some one has some mastery and insight it doesn't mean that they are right.

Everyone seems content to let these bad teachers carry on and no one seems interested in the victims and the abused. Not just in the NKT either the Dalai Lama leaves people to rot too. In that he and GK are exactly the same. Enablers and co-conspirators of abusers.

What can you do? If the guru thinks it is OK it has to be OK right???? (robot voice) I love the guru, I see he is hurting my friend, the guru can do what he likes, ignore the victim, i am confused and can't talk to them, isolate and remove the victim.

Well all I can do is just keep raising awareness, Dalai Lama and all you Lama's out there THIS IS NOT OK.

Dolgyal's picture

I don't quite understand what you are saying, maybe I am coming from a different perspective.
What happened to the big gurus in the west like Rajneesh, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and so forth...didn't last that long or make an impact commensurate with their hype, ultimately. I suspect GKG and L. Ron Hubbard will bearly be a footnote in history soon enough. In geologic time not that big a deal...so take it easy, Previouslydenyi, enjoy life I say.

Previouslydenyi's picture

Yes you are right. I will sit back and enjoy life. I will forget the pain the people around me are in and I will crack open a beer! Who cares about them as long as I see everything as @'bliss' and 'emptiness' I like to do that when I watch the news about Syria too.

Buddha really should have left that monk to die in his own faeces like the other monks were and kept it empty and blissful! ;)

Dolgyal's picture

Ha ha, I said enjoy life, not have a beer.
新年快樂 happy new year!

Previouslydenyi's picture

Happy New year xxx

Previouslydenyi's picture

I hope that isn't up there as advice to the people who have been harmed by the tradition and cast out with out a guru! Are you trying to say that they should use it to take them to Buddhahood? Implied that if they can't they are not using it to become a Buddha... implied everything that happens to a victim should be allowed because used correctly it could take them to Buddhahood... therefore shhhh be nice about the NKT they are helping you to get to Buddhahood????

I do not know who you are but I do hope if these events ever happen to you you will see how utterly bizzare your putting this scripture up there is.

I take it you are saying that it is OK to watch living beings suffer and be treated badly? You have had a great time, close to the guru, close spiritual advice, easy access to a teacher, great meditation advice, constant support when you are going through bad times etc...

With this kind of reasoning it was OK for the Natzi's to gas the Jews? As long as the victim quietly takes the abuse and uses it to further their faith any abuser can do what they like? Lucky Victim!
People in the NKT never cease to amaze me with their utter obsession with the victims of bad treatment taking responsibility for the perpetrators actions and their insistence the NKT should take no responsibility!
This organisation is being investigated by a department working with the English Home Office.
If it was the victims choice to take on the abuse and turn it into the spiritual path then fine but when it isn't, and people (who are in most cases) not capable of transforming such a terrifying experience into the path it becomes spiritual abuse.

Not appropriate at all very shocking!

Clare Morin's picture

Hello there,
I'm so sorry to have caused offense. I was a little hesitant to writing anything on this thread, as it's all quite explosive and I definitely don't want to cause harm to you or anyone. I was posting that quote as my own response, for my own practice, as I am a Kadampa and the theme of this line of comments is all about us folk - so how best to respond? I think the best way is to respond with a peaceful and loving heart. I respect your own views and I don't know what you've been through so wouldn't ever want to tell you how to act or feel. All I can say, all I know, is my own mind. As I walk down the path, I learn more and more that it's about learning how to battle our own negativities within. This is what I am learning from my teacher and this is all I wish to add. I posted this as advice for myself to follow, to aspire to the life of a Bodhisattva and take all adversities along my path as ways to purify my own mind. But I wouldn't ever want to tell anyone else what to do. Anyone, anywhere, who has been harmed, of course I would wish them only love and kindness and peace - and for that harm to come to an end forever. My best wishes, Clare

Previouslydenyi's picture

It kills me that people see this thread as explosive. Such a lot of heart ache and devastation wiped away by Buddhists because the abused get labled deluded/angry/explosive. Why wouldn't people be explosive?

People 'leave' the NKT they have NO home, NO sangha, NO money, NO inner strength they are lost, physically exhausted, unable to work, some are suicidal and most are so wrecked they can not hold down a job and survive in a place that has become 'samsara'.

Maybe this thread is not explosive... maybe this thread is motivated by deep concern, clarity and compassion for vulnerable people in the face of a deaf audience?

I thank you for writing up because with out meaning too you embodied all the vibes familiar to me about the NKT. Kadampa - apparently that means Masochistic self deprecating devotion that expects complete compliance to this particular approach to the Buddhist path from everyone who chooses to label themselves NKT.

There are so many other ways to become enlightened and stop looking a the finger pointing at the moon and just be the moon.

Battling negativities within really does not mean you stand by and excuse the negativities that are going on around you. The same guys who you feel devoted too stood by and knew about Monks and Nuns being spiritually abused... Maybe magically if you had been in that crowd he would have been different for you?

Anyway this is up to you. Only you can really know why you have chosen to ignore the sexual and spiritual abuse that has gone on in the last 10 years in your tradition and maybe you are right, maybe that means the Dharma - even though it comes from the same source - is magically pure because it has met you?

What I can see is none of the NKT people who have written up on here will lobby to protect people who are abandoned by the NKT... well not until it happens to them maybe.

Be well on your path Clare.

chenma's picture

When we try to help and protect people who feel they were harmed by the NKT we get a lot of negative response and blaming (as we can see here). I think this is what Clare is trying to do, help people. But your response is to tell her to leave the NKT, where she states she has received so much benefit. I would also like to add that since the removal of the former Gen-la Samden, 8 years ago, so much has been purified and improved. So please everyone find some forgiveness and peace in your hearts and try to move on. Holding on to anger and resentment is like keeping poison locked in our heart. It will not change the past.

Previouslydenyi's picture

No my response is to ask her to look with her practice and see on what that is based. Never told her to leave the NKT (which I think she should) But I hold that the organisation is deluded and so do INFORM and as I have said they are working with the British Home office.
Ignoring the people this tradition and other traditions damage is despicable.

Gen-la Samden was not the only abuser in this tradition. I am glad to hear that things have moved on in relation to out right sexual abuse. Could you inform us in what way they have moved on?

I do have to ask you Chenma why does forgiveness and moving on mean be quiet and go away? You can forgive and still see the need to protect. Protecting people does involve opening discussion and raising topics people do not like.

And as Buddhist we all know what anger and resentment does. That is why we do not act with anger and resentment we act with deep unwavering compassion but thank you for that advice.

And NO we will not 'move on' as you put it (go away you mean) until the NKT start to look after their current students, ordained and vulnerable people and put proper measures in place for them if they are not coping or God forbid disrobing.

There is a story of Buddha looking after a sick monk....

One day, Ananda and the Buddha came to a retreat center where there was only one monk. The monk was very sick with diarrhea. When the Buddha and Ananda came to his room, they noticed a very bad smell. The Buddha asked the sick monk, “Did nobody take care of you?” He answered, “I have been sick for a long time and many monks took care of me. But I do not want to disturb them anymore. Now I can take care of myself.” But the Buddha said, “No. You should not do it that way.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “Go and get a bucket of water and a rag.” The Buddha cleaned and washed the sick monk, while Ananda cleaned his room. The Buddha and Ananda cleaned the room for three hours. Then Ananda offered one of his three robes to the monk. He washed the monk’s robe and dried it outside. After that, the Buddha and Ananda sat outside. Soon they saw all the monks coming home.

When the other monks saw the Buddha and Ananda, they were very happy. But the Buddha said to them, “Dear friends, we are all away from our families. Our blood sisters and brothers and our parents do not take care of us. If we don’t take care of each other, who will take care of us? If you want to take care of the Buddha, then you have to take care of your brothers. When you take care of your brothers, you are taking care of me, and when you take care of the Buddha, you are taking care of your brothers.”

Today, we too must support each other in the practice and take care of each other. Our practice is not an individual practice. We practice with other people, we practice with our Sangha. The Sangha is also our body, and all our brothers and sisters are a part of this Sangha body. Sangha bodies have eyes, noses, and ears. Our Sangha body can hear and understand.

The practice of the second body is one way we take care of each other in the Sangha. Each member of the Sangha needs a second body. When you go to sitting meditation, you invite your second body. If your second body is sick, you have to know that your second body is sick, and look for a doctor or someone to help. The second body doesn’t need to be younger, the second body can be older. The second person also has his or her second body, that third person also has a second body, and so forth.

We have to be responsible for the mindful manners and the practice of our second body. If the manners and the mindfulness of the second body are not very high, you are responsible. If you cannot do that, if you need help, you can ask help from Thay or from other brothers or sisters. If your second body’s manners and mindfulness are not very good, you have to remind him or her. If you feel that you cannot, then you should ask brothers or sisters to help you. This practice is not just for monks and nuns, but for all of us.

When each Sangha member takes care of his or her second body, the whole Sangha is taken care of. When your second body has some happiness, you share that happiness. If your second body has difficulties, you need to understand these difficulties. And if alone you cannot help your second body, you need to ask for help from somebody else. You don’t have to be better than your second body, you need to help your second body.

Practicing like this, you will see a miraculous result. You are responsible for everything that happens to your second body. When you take care of your second body, your third, fourth, and fifth bodies are also taken care of. Taking care of your second body, you take care of everybody else.

We may have a second body who feels difficult to look after. Perhaps the people we think would be easy to look after have already been taken. The method of getting a second body is this: everybody in turn says the name of the person they want to be their second body. At first, there are many people to choose from, but as we go along perhaps there is only one person left, and we have to choose that person. We may feel that this person is very difficult to look after, but you should know that this is a wonderful opportu­nity. The person who you think would be difficult can bring you a great deal of benefit and joy in your practice. Some fruits have thorns and are hard, but when we break them open, they taste very good. The monkeys know that—they break open these hard-skinned fruits. There are people we see who from the outside are not very sweet, but if we know how to open them up, the fruit is wonderful. Don’t be deceived by the outside. Don’t think that the second body is very difficult to look after. Bring all your ability to look after that person and he will become a sweet spring of water.

Another person quietly asks people to not mention the abuse... Interesting.


I know Buddha would advise the same as me. If people are suffering do not turn a blind eye. Try and help.

I am surprised how many NKT people are on the internet and are reading these articles considering the last I heard you were not allowed? HAs that changed too?

chenma's picture

yes, a lot has changed.

Dolgyal's picture

Has it changed indeed? WSS has launched two new attack websites this past month, you know the usual calumny that the Dalai Lama is a liar, Muslim, communist, dictator, destroying the dharma and so forth. Enraged by his expulsion from Sera Monastery, Kelsang Gyatso identified himself as the leader of this political splinter group (WSS) and mobilized his centres worldwide to demonstrate. For this hypocrisy he has neither apologized nor recanted.

Previouslydenyi's picture

That is great I will look forward to finding out what that actually means. I would very much like to find out the NKT are now looking out for their students. It would make me really happy!

Wisdom Moon's picture

Dear Tricycle, thanks for posting this inspiring video and for not being sectarian. Blessings!

Dolgyal's picture

We are graced here by the presence of a scholar who eclipses the mere Nalanda Tradition of the Dalai Lama but sadly lacks the appropriate title. So to remedy this, I dub thee His Uber-Holiness Chandra Jnana Wisdom Moon, le Cochon de la Lune, Ambassador of the Third Buddha in this Galaxy and Spokesperson of the Maha-Rudra Lineage. Or you can just call him Moonie.

Previouslydenyi's picture

Just so people know about INFORM. Click this link and it will take you to an explanation about INFORM, who they are and what they are trying to achieve.


Will.Rowe's picture

"You have everything you want. And it's never enough." The trap of ego. Pleasure is so powerful, yet it cannot bring peace. We know this, but we struggle with it.
Excellent Video.

Previouslydenyi's picture

Just to be clear...

My first post was written with huge disappointment. My second post was written with sarcasm to point out how callous disregarding vulnerable people is and every other post has no anger in at all either.

Lets not get caught up in that Buddhist mentality that thinks you can ignore people if they are 'deluded' especially if that is anger not one of the easier to deal with delusions. That is a misinterpretation of the path to Buddhahood. That is a delusion and very 'NKT'.

To think that an organisation can ruin many peoples lives and then ignore the victims because they are angry and not meeting the level of an all forgiving Buddha is, 1. To completely and utterly misunderstand what universal compassion and forgiveness means. 2. It stops the organisation looking around in their current activities to see if they are still treating people badly. 3. is wiping away people who have been abandoned by their Guru. Those of us who rely on a guru should be able to infer then the pain a person like that might be in.

Being angry is not a crime worthy of abandonment.

Unfortunately people will remain at odds with the NKT until they start to take their responsibilities to their students and teachers properly. UNTIL that time people like me are scooping up the damaged and abandoned and often supporting them as they come to terms with the loss of their Guru, Sangha and in some cases their Dharma. Some to the point of suicide.

People like us do not look at the above video and think WoW how inspiring! We think, 'Tricycle, make sure you follow this monk. Lets see where he is in 10 years'.

The angry or negative responses to this article are actually motivated by great compassion and bravery. We all know we are the lepers of the Buddhist world. Hurt people trying to protect other people but just sounding like bad practitioners who can't be positive.

We will however continue to let people know we were treated appallingly and basically left for dead in most senses of the word. So later, when you have given everything and they are not looking after you because you get inconveniently sick with something and you become inconvenient and eventually get pushed out, you will know we are here for you. You can come and join the pathetic angry people who are all suffering for no reason with Spiritual PTSD. We will be here.

Tenpel's picture

Its the typical pattern of NKT self-defence: critics and NKT damaged people who stand up in public for what they and others had to experience are denounced as angry, hostile persons "disgruntled ex-members" etc, and scientists like Robert Bluck and others – including Tricycle – ignore the "NKT victims'" plight giving NKT a forum only for their point of view without giving any similar space for those who have been abused and damaged. Many Buddhists and some scientists think they are neutral or liberal but actual they ignore the suffering of those who have been damaged by NKT. This pattern is the common pattern of abuse: the victims are ignored or ridiculed by the abuser and the public.

That’s why I think it is important that people who have been damaged by the NKT continue to speak up. Thank you PreviouslyDenyi for speaking up!

Here is a review about a former NKT nun’s and anthropologist's experience that was published in January 2014 by INFORM: http://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2013/03/18/a-brief-review-of-the-ne...

I wish that Buddhists don't continue to look away if people are financially, emotionally, sexually and spiritually abused. Almost the whole Buddhist community – including Tricycle – ignores this issue, retreating into "being neutral" or "liberal".

Dolgyal's picture

Only a free, expenses paid six month course to become a 'New Kadampa' resident teacher and get a full time position. Successful applicants will receive the following facilities free of charge from NKT:
1. A six-month course on the Special Teacher Training Programme
2. Accommodation and food at Manjushri KMC for the duration of the course
3. Travel expenses to and from Manjushri KMC
4. Assistance with visa applications if required
5. At the end of the course students who have successfully completed the programme will be offered a full time position as a Kadampa Buddhist Resident Teacher.
The bar lowered such the only requirement is that one speaks English. Tony Robbins seminars probably require more rigor than this lot.
Also, it appears that the Kadampa Seaorg, (after issuing you your Tibetan costume), will write a bubbly bio for the branch website about your 'warm sense of humour' and so forth. Like McDonald's franchises, NKT demands uniformity.
See: http://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2013/07/14/only-six-months-to-becom...

Dolgyal's picture

I do not consider Tricycle neutral so long as they accept paid print and web advertisements from the New Kadampa organization.

Previouslydenyi's picture

You could argue that in posting all forms and schools and traditions Tricycle could feel like they are being neutral. The problem is that the NKT is a very doubtful tradition that is being investigated for cult status. It does make you wonder how much care this particular magazine has for it's readers and who will they draw the line at accepting money off? Lucky the Moonies weren't Buddhist!

Previouslydenyi's picture

Maybe these organisations and enablers are frightened of the same response as the abused are getting?
Look at Edward Snowden a typical response to whistle blowing.

It would be interesting to see if Tricycle do give air time to people abandoned by the Guru and not just in the NKT. So much spiritual abuse and sufferers of Spiritual PTSD out there with no help unless they have thousands of pounds.

Here is a piece about bystanders of abuse.


Tenpel's picture

Thank you. The video sums up the topic of the silence of bystanders and the tactics of the perpetrator very good!

Previouslydenyi's picture


Those who give us a hard time, who are difficult to be around or who constantly blow our cover, are the very ones who show us where we we’re stuck. The great meditation master Atisha always traveled with his belligerent Bengali tea-boy because it kept him honest. Without his ill-tempered servant to test him, he might have been able to deceive himself about his degree of equanimity. Troublemakers up the ante: if we can practice patience with them, we can practice it with anyone.

—No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva by Pema Chödrön http://www.shambhala.com/no-time-to-lose-1.html

kammie's picture

Sweet. I'm glad he found a more likely path toward peace and happiness.

chenma's picture

Incredible negativity and anger from so many people who are Buddhists? I found this to be a wonderfully inspiring story about how we can change, and find peace and happiness in our lives, and how by looking inward we find true meaning when the world around us tells us the external fame etc is supposed happiness and success. Remember folks, we are in samsara and there is no purity in samsara, even within Buddhism. Many different traditions have had problems. Didn't Tricycle recently do an article about sexual misconduct in the Zen community? Were you all crying over that one? Or did that not bring up as much hatred because it wasn't the NKT?
It's too bad that this inspiring interview promotes so much anger in people here. Please use it as an opportunity to practice patience and rejoicing and not continuing to harm yourself and others on the destructive path of anger. There is plenty of that in the world already. Buddha taught that the real enemy is our delusions, so lets harm those instead of each other.

Dolgyal's picture

Q: What do Madonna, Lance Armstrong and Kelsang Gyatso have in common?
A: They all retain the legal services of Schillings Media Boutique (originally Schilling & Lom), a British full-service law firm based in London. Schillings employs over fifteen lawyers and is particularly known for obtaining anonymised gagging orders to protect clients' privacy.
The firm specialises in reputation management, defamation and privacy cases. Keith Schilling, senior partner and founder of Schillings in 1984, was placed tenth by The Times in a 2008 list of the hundred most influential and powerful lawyers in the UK.
See the threatening letters from NKT to author and publisher here:

Previouslydenyi's picture

Anger is not a crime or a reason to wash someone's opinion away. Your lack of concern for the people who are hurt here is very telling.

chenma's picture

I am deeply sorry for the pain you feel. You might not believe this, but I can relate to it. May you receive many blessings in your path of healing. xo

Previouslydenyi's picture

The real enemy is our delusions. I am pretty much over my experiences in the NKT just feel like I have a responsibility to help those who get abandoned. I feel by being completely and rawly honest I can help those on their journey of healing the loss of their Guru and sangha. I am just as guilty of the actions I describe as I was 'happy' in the NKT too once upon a time and a lifetime ago. I have also been where you are. May you also receive many blessings in your path to empathy and openness. xo

chenma's picture


Previouslydenyi's picture

Wow! I seriously never expected to see this magazine support or publicise a controversial Buddhist group and especially one that is under investigation by INFORM for being a cult! Massive lack of care for your readers there!

Be careful people. Two main leaders of this cult had sex with their ordained students. And before you all cry 'Oh but they have left' just know that the Guru knew about most of the abuse and let it carry on.

Here are some video's you should be showing in this magazine. A real life experience of this group.

Disrobing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN84nw1gtDE

Survivor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph5d9lukhoI


Very disappointed in this Magazine.