May 26, 2010

What will it take to establish a truly Western Dharma?

In Tricycle’s most recent issue there is a piece titled “It Takes a Saint.” In this piece, Tai Situpa Rinpoche shares his beliefs on what it will take for Buddhism to become truly established in the West.  He writes,

"I’ll make it simple: One Western person must attain full enlightenment in the same way as Marpa, Milarepa, or Padmasambhava. If one Westerner—man or woman, doesn’t matter—attains that level of realization, then pure dharma will be established in Western culture, Western language, and environment, and so forth. Until that time, dharma can be taught in the West, which is already happening; it can be practiced in the West, which is already happening; and it can be recited in Western languages. But it’s not yet one hundred percent complete."

Read the whole piece here.

For me, it was love at first sight with this article.  I remember reading it for the first time and holding back the urge to cheer while reading certain passages (particularly when Tai Situpa speaks of what would happen if such a Mahasiddha rose above New York City while singing the perfect dharma song for New Yorkers). Yet before long I realized that what was striking me so deeply was not necessarily what he was saying, but where the piece was taking me in my mind—to a West where the Dharma was utterly thriving.  THAT is what had me on the verge of joyful cheers.   Once I noticed this, I began to question his main point and I realized that while I don't necessarily disagree, I don't necessarily agree either.  I'm not sure what the answer to the question is.  I began to bring this topic up with others to see what they had to say.

I asked a good friend of mine, another second generation Western Buddhist, and she stated that the Dharma IS established in the West, it's just young.  She used an analogy of Western Dharma being like a two foot tall baby tree and explained that just because it's ancestors are massive magnificent old-growth trees it doesn't make it any less of a tree.  I like this analogy.

I also brought this question up while talking to the scholar Jeff Watt, the director of Himalayan Art Resources (and my old boss!) and his response was very different than that of Tai Situpa Rinpoche.  When I first began working for Jeff many years ago, he was very quick to educate me about the traditional meaning of the word "sangha" (as in the third jewel of Buddhism in which we take refuge).  In the tradition I grew up in "sangha" refers somewhat generally to the "community of practitioners" but Jeff explained to me that sangha actually means "community of monastics."  He stated that what is lacking in the West is a strong and dedicated monastic community.  Unlike Tai Situpa's assertion that Western Dharma can become truly established by the attainment of just one Mahasiddha, Watt believes that the monastic commitment of many is what will strengthen and fortify Western Dharma.  The analogy that came out of this conversation is that a dedicated monastic tradition is like an great engine, a tried and true reliable machine, that steadily produces realized practitioners and great teachers.  I think this is a very important point, and the occasional cynic in me can only help but notice that in a culture where what Chogyam Trungpa would call "Spritual Materialism" is so prevalent, there are far more people whose involvement with Buddhism is more like a part-time self-help hobby than there are people that would ever make the serious committment of taking monk's vows.

Please share your own thoughts on this important subject!

Image: Photograph by Felicia Megginson

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tseten's picture

Before we have a Western bodhisatta - I assume that's what you meant, since you can't have another Buddha as long as Shakyamuni's teachings are not forgotten - we have to get rid of Buddhist politics, religious Buddhism, sectarian Buddhism, and online Buddhist forums, with their endless bickering, arrogance,and disputatiousness. We have to actually study and practice the dhamma, not just copy old Asian fossils. We have to get rid of academic Buddhism, and get rid of the notion that "Buddhism" is the result of some sort of linguistic and historical "study." We have to get rid of humility, shame, mediocrity, submissiveness, judgement, and fear of innovation, speculation, and original thought. We have to get rid of authoritarian Buddhist organizations and cults. In a word, before we have a Western bodhisatta we must meet the Buddha in the road - then kill him.

Rob_'s picture

Okay, you get rid of all that. When it's to your liking, let us know.

Dominic Gomez's picture

The Buddha-on-the-road that needs to be dumped is the one imagined living in Nirvana, supreme to the rest-of-us. And it's disingenuous for Buddhists to think that Westerners don't have the potential life-condition of bodhisattva.

Paul Stevenson's picture

Nope. Take the Tai Situ's words EXACTLY as they stand. Until a Westerner "attains" Enlightenment, the full, freaking-obvious, OMG, Padmasambhava-obvious, "NO SHIT!" ENLIGHTENMENT, the subject, as far as any non-Asian is concerned, is only theoretical. Westerners have had "pie in the sky" Christianity, well, forever. Buddhism says the Buddha said all people have the "Buddha Nature" and can all therefore become Buddhas. Until that happens, and even then, probably more than once, Buddhism is only a charming philosophy to the non-Buddhists in the West and nothing else . If you are not a "Buddhist" to become a Buddha NOW, please rethink your motivation. So, may it be me, and may it be you, and may it be soon!

thubtenkway2's picture

I think no one here has understood what Situpa was getting at. Situpa is referring the the main root of Buddhism taking result. Until an enlightened westerner or Caucasian Being appears, everything else that has been done for Buddhism in the west, past and present are only secondaries and quite superficial. The forming of ordinary Sangha, building of monasteries, printing, churning our of Buddhist intellectuals, etc. etc.. These are secondary compared to having someone from the west, a Caucasian with western cultural root and up-bringing.
The Well-Spring of Wisdom is the Enlightened State and until now Buddhism in the west are being spread by those who has 'tapped' (enlightened) onto this Well-Spring, they happened to be Asian, they could be Martians from Mars, doesn't matter and is not the subject matter. The Subject is 'What would it take to established truly a western Dharma'.
The very purpose of these enlightened Aliens ( which happen to be Asians ) is to enlightened Beings where-ever they are to be found, when the time is right and fit, and it so happens that we find these Aliens here in what we call 'The West'. The moment that One being is truly enlightened beyond doubt, that purpose would be fulfilled and the main-root of Dharma in the west would be established.
In fact everything else, that are secondary, that has to be done is done for the sake of this same purpose, to have Beings in the west enlightened.
Moreover, we have been talking about the relative Sangha, which is actually not a stable Refuge because they are still subjected to samsaric influence. The true Sangha that is the truly reliable support are the Bodhisattvas and Enlightened Beings with inner and outer meaning.

I am not a westerner but grew up with both east and west cultures, coming from Singapore and this is my humble 2cents reflection.

bhikshuni's picture

After reading this lengthy discussion, I decided to join in an express my support for the Tai Situ's reponse. I'm from Iowa born and raised there with totally midwestern outlook. What direction Buddhism takes is not determined by the laity, it is determined by the Sangha. What people in the West no matter their cultural background or language as Buddhist scholars/academics/intellectuals/dabblers/fans versus the real backbone of Buddhism the laity (these ppl having taken 3 refuges and 5 precepts from monastic Sangha, joined an area temple as a regular practitioner and made friends there knowing a sense of community there and outside the temple). Those unfamiliar with monastic Sangha, temples, or met ethnic Buddhists and just lay claims to Buddhism or a fraction of it have to understand that the Sangha practices do not change to accord with the country they are residing in, what changes is the flavor of Buddhism. And perhaps what will not happen here in the USA at least for now is the average joe's/jane's understanding or abilty to undertake or willingness to explore Buddhism from a Buddhist laity viewpoint is limited to non-existent. Until we Sangha have the support of the average person not the academic or intellectual we will not begin to stabilize or define our practice of Buddhism in the USA.

Tai Situ is right. Sangha members here in the USA are the pioneers and consider the USA and the Americas the edge of Dharma borders (temples and monasteries are the monastic borders for dharma practice and study thus are havens for Buddhists worldwide) or borderlands much like the wild west was with the same terms of being lawless (without dharma, morality, ethics), the trailblazers for the future generations that will come after us. We are the sand, water, and clay to form the bricks and mortor. In fact, Buddhism has only been here for less than 200 years and came with the Chinese and YES there were monastic Sangha who gave dharma talks, conducted services in the early temples. It has not had time to stabilize yet in the USA or the rest of the Americas. We are patient, it's on 'monastic time' which views this happening as generations of people existing, practicing, and supporting Buddhism.

Wisdom Moon's picture

I would say that Western Buddhism is an adaptation of the presentation of Buddha's teachings suited to our culture and lifestyle. It takes a Teacher who can separate what Buddha taught from the asian cultural aspects that have been absorbed into how Buddhism has traditionally been presented and practised.

bhikshuni's picture

Sorry the post repeated itself. So I'm editing it to refine my ideas.
The idea is that in order for Buddhism as practiced in the USA to even begin to form a firm idea of what that is to become, the Sangha members have to decide to buckle down and practice for the goal of enlightenment. If the conditions do not support it now, maybe with maturation of the Sangha members who are citizens and were raised and influenced by USA culture in their geographic area, in the the USA (for example) to even begin to define USA Buddhism.

It may help you to understand how the monastic Sangha views itself: I am robed in the Chinese Buddhist tradition and practice learned from mainland Chinese master, while when I visit within other traditions I see other Chinese Buddhist masters like me who practice according to their master's teachings, then I visit a Wat and see monks wearing robes in the Thailand tradition or Sri Lanka tradition and know they are monks of Therevada school practicing according to culture of Thailand or the different culture of Sri Lanka or from the culture of Cambodia. then I visit another temple were they wear maroon robes of Buddhism as practiced in Tibet, and perhaps they have unique markings of certain schools within Tibetan Buddhism. I look at it by robes, culture, country, and languge not by a separation or preservation of ancient past but how well it's practiced according to Vinaya and brought into contempary conditions which are challenging at best.

bhikshuni's picture

We monastics are required to teach according to the conditions in the host country, residing culture and aptitudes and capabilities of the persons in front of us requesting dharma teachings. For us it's not about wiping out the Asian influence, it's about meeting the person's needs in front of us requesting the dharma teaching or asking for our help in other matters. It will take generations of monastics to achieve the same accomplishment as the Asians of building temples, developing schools of Buddhism as practiced in Americas whether it be from the USA, Canada, or South American countries with all their diverse wonderful cultures also where Buddhism is developing with the significant effort and dilligent help of the Asians who are our backbone in the USA as well.

How it has been approached by non-monastics; rather by Westerners who have academic, intellectual, business or scholarly approaches to teaching like from an educator's approach or psychiatrists approach, a therapists approach, a Christian approach, a Jewish approach, a Muslim's approach, a healer's approach, a bookseller's approach, a sale's approach, inspiriational approach, a feminist approach, etc. giving talks, retreats, seminars, selling items, etc. The 'hook' or method grabbed from famous Buddhists or Sangha is the attraction an not the entire experience of Buddhism. Rather it's seeming more commerical, educational, therapeutic, medicinal, or entertaining. This is unstable and unreliable and of limited access dependent on financial support in form of fees, memberships, requires significant capital to start and sustain. This offers limited appeal to a very small group of American population.

ambrose.desmond's picture

I wonder what we mean when we say "western" Buddhism. Do we really mean a form of Buddhism native to the US and western Europe? As an American, I often wonder what the cultural assumptions that are being made by this term. There are many Asian-Americans. Is their Buddhism eastern or western? Are the cultural aspects being called "western" really just present in the west? I wonder if what we are all eagerly anticipating is a Buddhism born out of global post-industrial culture, which is present in Tokyo, Delhi, New York and around the world.

Monty McKeever's picture

Hi Ambrose,

I think this question is somewhat addressed by Tai Situ Rinpoche in his piece where he says,
"Until that happens, Tibetan dharma for Westerners remains inseparable from Tibetan culture and language, Tibetan ways and mentality. All that will change when a Westerner attains full enlightenment. The cultural context will become your own, and this will greatly increase inspiration and confidence."

When I originally posted this blog I regretted not also including that quote. He may only be referring to Tibetan Buddhism, due to the fact he's a Tibetan lama, but I imagine he would say the same applies to other Buddhist traditions. I think he is merely referring to cultures that Buddhism is relatively new to, such as European and American westerners whose ancestors were predominately of Judeo-Christian traditions.

In any case, you touch on some really important points. At this point in history, the lines between east and west are much blurrier than in past centuries. There is much of the west in the east and much of the east in the west. While I don't think Tai Situ's piece is hard to understand if you examine it's context, it's definitely true that the world is more complicated than a simple, binary view of our our planet's hemispheres.

I think you might find this post interesting, "Diagramming Western Buddhism":

sistergryphon's picture

Hi! Nicely posed question and interesting answers.
My teacher trained with Trungpa Rinpoche for many years and he said that Trungpa always felt that the Tibetan trappings (or Japanese, or Korean, etc etc) needed to fall away for Buddhism to truly belong to the west. He said Trungpa also wisely believed that Buddhism would need to merge with the existing philosophies and religions of the west. If one looks closely as what Buddhism in India was like and then see how much it changed in China and then Japan one can have a feel for what he is seeing.
I do believe that Buddhism is in the west, and indeed we have fabulous monasteries established, such as Srvasti Abbey, Zen Mt Monastery, and we even have forest monks! But it's not ours yet. It's still Tibetan, or Thai, or Japanese, held by those cultural trappings and so not fully given birth to.
The west has alot to offer Buddhism. Equality for women for one thing- which, I'm sorry is still not yet fully existent in Buddhism- and I say that as someone who took vows (still holds vows) and lived in a monastery for 8 years, and has visited many other places. And an active sangha- a sangha of true practitioners that need not all be monastic. (This is a western concept for sure!)
My teacher, at Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's request, has been working on creating a western lineage for many years. We call it Celtic Buddhism. We even have started, now, a fully ordained monastic branch for women. In my mind, this is what is needed to truly bring Buddhism to bloom in the west. I do believe that there are many people out there with the creativity and the heart to really live the life exemplified in the mahayana teachings, and to do so without importing Tibetan or Japanese culture (and hence prejudices against women and etc)
I think its hard for Buddhism to find it's western expression. In the west, it seems to me that we tend to see something old as authentic and true, and something new as new agey and phoney. And that is OK. Everything takes time. And Buddhism is still young in the west. But it's exciting! and I for one can't wait to see how it manifests 100 years from now.

Dominic Gomez's picture

Good morning, sistergryphon
I fully agree with you and your teacher that "trappings...need to fall away for Buddhism to truly belong to the west" and that "Buddhism (needs) to merge with the existing philosophies and religions of the west". Such a dichotomy has existed between the West and the East for millenia, reaching back to when the Indus River Valley was the actual demarcation line between the two civilizations. It's only been since the mid-20th Century that a speeding up of the merger between them has taken place, owing to historically unprecedented events (e.g., two world wars) and the pace of international communication via advances in technology.
Of course it will take a bit more time for the Law to be more understood (and eventually practiced) by the majority of Westerners. We have our own religious trappings to shed as well!
Yes, Buddhism is in the West, and the spirit of the Law (if not yet the letter!) has been present for decades. I count early breakthroughs in the West's comprehension of Buddhist thought by such intellectual lights as Albert Einstein (investigations into the true nature of the universe) and Sigmund Freud, et al (the mind, and its fully integrated relationship with the body and the environment). The legacy of these sorts of inquiry is contributing to the reconcilliation of Eastern and Western modes of thought.

Re: "In the west, it seems...that we tend to see something old as authentic and true, and something new as new agey and phoney." This is quite a common reaction. It happens in the Arts and Culture all the time. Eventually, that which is of the greatest value to human happiness remains and is carried into the future.
Dominic Gomez

Philip Ryan's picture


There is already a thread devoted to the Dorje Shugden debate. Please use that blogpost and not this one to discuss this issue.

-Philip Ryan
Web Editor

George's picture

NKT/WSS denizens are by and large on the dole, thats why their career is online slander, defamation and padding petitions with false name. Now its blowback time for the idle cultists, just like British Petroleum: PR is not reality and you will suffer the consequences.

Write to NKT/WSS with your thoughts and suggestions:


uk tel: 07717-209418

us tel/fax: 1-206-350-3877

WSS Studio 177, 56 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9RG, UK

LRon's picture

Take a look at this nonsense at post 101

"when one of the top five anti-defamation law firms in the world recently investigated both the NKT-IKBU and all the libel on the Internet against it, it came to the conclusion: “The New Kadampa Tradition is a respectable international organization whose reputation has been severely defamed.”

So the NKT paid big money (top five in the world? Schillings?-£3000 just to engage them then £300 an hour thereafter) to a firm and the firm came back and said 'The NKT is respectable' Gosh! How surprising. How fortunate it is that lawyers are so well known for their honesty and high morals. Apparently, thats why theyve started using them in laboratory experiments nowadays. Because there are a number of things they couldnt get rats to do.

bolox's picture

Hiyer Bill
“The New Kadampa Tradition is a respectable international organization.”
Er, no its not. Nobody outside of the nkt has any respect for it !
The reasons why are as clear as daylight. Take off your gyatso goggles and take a broad general view of situation, all will become crystal.

bolox's picture

re: post 94
Of course not, got a monk in the house !

Bill's picture

Dear detractors of the NKT,

It's clear that you're working to destroy the reputation of the Geshe Kelsang and the NKT. How sad that anger and jealousy, as well as misguided loyalty to the Dalai Lama, should drive you to create such negative karma . Your actions are against Buddha's teachings and are well known to all. As it says on the New Kadampa Truth website:

when one of the top five anti-defamation law firms in the world recently investigated both the NKT-IKBU and all the libel on the Internet against it, it came to the conclusion: "The New Kadampa Tradition is a respectable international organization whose reputation has been severely defamed."

LRon's picture

Hey man,its a 'vajra rifle'.

Ron's picture

Namkhah: There is a drawing of the "10 armed youth' dolgyal zealots also in Gyatso's Heart Jewel book, a mainstay of the NKT cult. The attribute of holding a rifle really demonstrates the practice is not at all in the tradition, there were no firearms in Nagarjuna's day, Sakya Pandita did not have a pistol in his belt either neither was Lobsang Drakpa "packing heat" as they say. Not even a derringer under his hat.

LRon's picture

Is that an "undisguised commitment to recruitment and expansion", (Ken Jones ‘Many bodies, one mind: movements in British Buddhism’ New Chan Forum 13 1996) by a ‘forceful and extrovert organisation....where recruitment of new members is a major activity.’
(Sandra Bell ‘A survey of engaged Buddhism in Britain’ in Christopher S Queen ‘Engaged Buddhism in the West’ [p398]" one sees before one?

How very Buddhist-I think we've just discovered another characteristic of the emergent Western Buddhism, namely an emphasis on the growth of the organization rather than on the development of the individual. How things have changed.

"Thus have I heard. At one time, the Third Buddha was dwelling at Manjushri Institute, together with a great assembly of monks and a great assembly of bodhisattvas. Then, throught the power of the Tird Buddha, the Noble Thubten Gyatso said to the underlings:

“Free postcards are more popular than brochures, especially around university union bars and the hip and happening hangouts around London. Imagine a series of funky, grungey Dorje Sxxxxxx postcard designs that were uber-cool! People would probably collect them, even write to their friends with them!That would be a wonderful way to share DS’s holy image with others without them even realising that they’re receiving a blessing!”

Just then, the Third Buddha rose from his concentration and declared, 'Well said, well said, O son of good family. The profound practice of aggressively promoting a non-prosleytizing faith shoud be practiced exactly as you have said, and the tathagatas will rejoice

How about Dolgyal swizzlesticks? That would be fab's picture

Merchandising the demon, from the cult website, today:

"Free postcards are more popular than brochures, especially around university union bars and the hip and happening hangouts around London. Imagine a series of funky, grungey Dorje Sxxxxxx postcard designs that were uber-cool! People would probably collect them, even write to their friends with them!"

"That would be a wonderful way to share DS's holy image with others without them even realising that they're receiving a blessing!"

WSS Petition is Bogus's picture

Here is an excerpt from WSS cult Anti-Tibetan online petition, note that all these supporters named 'Dakpa' signed on the same day, amazing coincidence and there are several other bogus names repeating but it is silly to list them all here. Clearly dishonest the WSS is. I won't supply the link, you can check it for yourself.

First Name Last Name Date

Dakpa Choikor 2008-06-05 12:44:00
Dakpa Codzin 2008-06-05 13:09:45
Dakpa Dawa 2008-06-04 11:27:42
Dakpa Dawa 2008-06-05 11:41:44
Dakpa Dawe 2008-06-04 10:36:13
Dakpa Delam 2008-06-05 12:32:34
Dakpa Dhamchoe2008-06-05 11:38:35
Dakpa Dharma 2008-06-03 11:22:10
Dakpa Dokchin 2008-06-04 11:29:40
Dakpa Donga 2008-06-05 11:18:26
Dakpa Dorjee 2008-06-04 10:41:56
Dakpa Dulwa 2008-06-05 11:23:09
Dakpa Gaden 2008-06-05 11:39:09
Dakpa Gedhen 2008-06-04 10:16:53
Dakpa Gelang 2008-06-03 10:29:16
Dakpa Gelang 2008-06-03 10:29:16
Dakpa Gelek 2008-06-04 10:42:48
Dakpa Genden 2008-06-05 11:38:05
Dakpa Gomlam 2008-06-05 11:24:13
Dakpa Gyaltsen 2008-06-05 11:35:10
Dakpa Gyatso 2008-06-05 12:08:46
Dakpa Gyatso 2008-06-05 11:33:45
Dakpa Gyurmey 2008-06-05 11:16:04
Dakpa Jampa 2008-06-05 11:21:15
Dakpa Jampel 2008-06-05 11:41:20
Dakpa Jamyang 2008-06-03 11:47:27
Dakpa Jimpa 2008-06-04 10:37:08
Dakpa Jungnek 2008-06-04 10:15:40
Dakpa Khenrab 2008-06-05 12:33:31
Dakpa Khetsen 2008-06-04 10:38:59
...and so forth

WSS Petition is Bogus's picture

WSS admits its online cult petition was bogus, padded with false names. They revamped the petition to traditional paper format and thereby forced to publish their addresses:


uk tel: 07717-209418

us tel/fax: 1-206-350-3877

WSS Studio 177, 56 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9RG, UK

Why not drop them a line and tell them what you think of their racist anti-Tibetan campaIgn?

2 bolox's picture

Have you been on the sauce?

Anon's picture

This cult has taken many in, but they will not continue to do so. We need to keep our heads on straight, and use our inner wisdom; after all, how could we not already be enlightened? Please, remember you're purity and stop being caught in the net of delusion: "we will get you out of delusion". Why don't we do it right now?

Josh's picture

What a waste of time. There's nothing that I need

Namkhah's picture

If one looks closely at posters of the gyalpo spirit published by NKT, there is a youth brandishing a rifle! There are two versions of this pseudo-thangka, poorly painted in a kitsch western illustration style. On Picassa and Flickr, I have seen photos of this image placed above Lord Buddha and Je Rinpoche, these NKT centres are therefroe not Buddhist shrines just mishmash collections of ugly cult junk. It seems these 'ten armed youth' are role models for WSS/NKT fanatics.

From the cult website "Then there are the ten young wrathful guardians, slaughterers with terrifying forms, holding various weapons in their hands, some with cheerful, some with fierce expressions, in various outfits of China , Mongolia , Nepal , Tibet , Kashmir , and India . They strike with lightning harsh punishments those tantrikas, priests, and shamans who, because of having fallen into prejudiced tenets, criticize, abuse, and slander that activity of study and practice in which the entire doctrine of sutra and tantra is collected while acting, themselves, like drunken yakshas, cheating ordinary worldly people – and especially those evil human and nonhuman beings who deeply detest and harm all supreme and lesser beings who, with faith and devotion, worship the upholders of the system of Manjunatha Tsong Khapa.”

bolox's picture

You said:-

"With the demise of their great helmsman, it will quickly degenerate into a bitter litigious power struggle for control of real estate assets."

I have no doubt that this nasty organisation will eventually eat itself.
This would be something to look forward to if it wasn't for the thousands of poor sods who will be damaged both spiritually and financially while it happens . As If they haven't done enough damage already...

2 bolox's picture

Why stop at the Charity Commission? Why not go the whole hog and go to your MP and ask for a full investigation into how the NKT has funded the growth of its multi-million pound property empire on the back of state funding and grants from public funds. Theyve obviously got nothing to hide and I'm sure they'd like to see the problem resolved.

Maybe they could pay for a full financial review themselves?

"People may say that the NKT funded its property empire on the back of public funds,but when hired, one of the UKs top five accountancy firms said "The NKT has never, ever, ever done anything wrong and all of their financial affairs are completely above board in every respect, honest guv" (And anyway, the government would have just spent the money on weapons, so theyre actually creating the cause for World Peace by their actions)

Ron's picture

re: No. 87
That's why (to momentarily return to the topic) Buddhism in the West will certainly have nothing to do with NKT: they've completely cut themselves off from the spiritual lineage and won't biologically replace themselves. With the demise of their great helmsman, it will quickly degenerate into a bitter litigious power struggle for control of real estate assets. Their devil will have the last laugh.

bolox's picture

Keep hold of it for a few years, get some suckers in to run and renovate it, then who knows ? Maybe buy an island and and call it Tushita where all the nkt monks and nuns can come and practice tantra and make baby monks and nuns.
You really couldn't make this stuff up.

Cult slaves needed's picture

Isn't money splendid?
"In February 2007, NKT acquired the magnificent Chateau de Segrais, just outside Le Mans as the site for KMC France.
Set in 23 hectares (56 acres) including 17 hectares (42 acres) of woods and surrounded by moats, the main building is an 18th century castle that has 2500 square metres of living space.
On the ground floor beyond the reception area, there are two large rooms, which will be converted to a Temple to hold 200 people.
The main house has two large dining rooms, a professional kitchen, laundry, a gallery, and 38 large bedrooms, all en-suite.
Besides the main building there are four smaller houses with an additional 19 bedrooms and a 2000 square metre courtyard with some small dwellings, stables, a launderette, and a bakery.
Work is currently underway converting the buildings and preparing the Temple.
There are plenty of opportunities for working visits to help with the work. If you are interested, please contact

Full Moon's picture


Thanks for answering my question :)

bolox's picture

“You can all contact the Charity Commission and invite an investigation, but you’ll be very disappointed.”

Maybe we have ? and maybe we wont be ?

Mazeda's picture

Just imagine, even if someone just sent the above exchange to the Charity Commission would certainly provoke an investigation.

"You can all contact the Charity Commission and invite an investigation, but you’ll be very disappointed."

R. Donald Rollo's picture

Full Moonie: "I’m wondering what WSS has done to you that you’re all so angry? Is it because they’ve told the truth ..." stop right there, that is a slippery slope argument based on misinformation, I doubt you live in India or speak Tibetan language. Your shallow, unsubstantiated opinion is not synonymous with reality, far from it.

Jefferson's picture

Full Moon: His present and future life is in danger as is yours as his servant: anyone who perverts the dharma for profit risks untold peril–you think your little gyalpo spirit will protect you?

bolox's picture

Hi All
I was a resident at losang Dragpa Centre for about 5 years up until 2001. I can say without fear of contradiction that about 90% of the UK residents were on some form of unemployment benefit or housing benefit while working for the centre. This is what paid for the building.
The original morgauge was for something in the region of £350,000, and it was sold for a couple of million !
Of course the place was spiritually impure, because it was managed by a load of money mad, goblin worshiping sexual deviants. But, imo the reason it was sold was because it turned out to be a bloody good earner !
Just thought i'd mention this
Toodle pip

Full Moon's picture

Just to point out some misunderstanding/distortions:

Hi Jefferson,

'Gyatso himself claimed leadership of the extremist splinter group WSS'

I must have missed that one! I thought Venerable Geshe-la said he was the REPRESENTATIVE of the WSS, not the leader? There is no leader of the WSS, otherwise their life would be in danger. The WSS is a coalition of Tibetan and Western Shugden practitioners.

For the last time: NKT and WSS are not the same It's you that wants that connection to be true. Sorry, but it's not. You can all contact the Charity Commission and invite an investigation, but you'll be very disappointed.

I'm wondering what WSS has done to you that you're all so angry? Is it because they've told the truth about the Dalai Lama and prevented him from getting away with the worst excesses of persecution, ostracism and harrassment?

Jefferson's picture

Full Moon: Maintaining two entities is a useful deceit, when it is convenient to distance NKT from WSS, for example when publishing abusive ethnocentric hate propaganda such as the 'poppy' book. Gyatso himself claimed leadership of the extremist splinter group WSS, so he is responsible. I imagine some of the NKT people will get PR jobs with British Petroleum, when the old traitor goes to the hell of his own making.

Steven C2's picture

"Perhaps one day you will realize the truth - that the Western Shugden Society and the New Kadampa Tradition are not the same. If you doubt it, write to the Charity Commission. There’s nothing to hide."

The game's up-the evidence is there for all to see. I am sure that a number of people will be writing to the Charity Commission without your advice.

As to there being nothing to hide, what about the fact that the NKT and WSS are the same entity with a different name, an easily established fact? What about the proven fact that the WSS work directly with the DSDCRS who have proven links to the Chinese and their anti Dalai Lama propaganda campaign?

Nothing to hide? I'd say you have plenty to hide. And plenty to lose. I guess its no longer a question of 'if' but rather one of 'when' now.

Web friend's picture

Posters to NKT self-hosted blogs beware. You can be traced by the hosts via your IP address. This is perhaps why some NKT/WSS web people would prefer comments about them to be posted on NKT/WSS websites.
Useful proxy sites to prevent this are, for example, Open this, click on English, then enter the website address you wish to visit. You can then browse with a little less fear that Big Brother is watching.
This may seem somewhat devious. However, when the NKT first set up the WSS accounts,the names of Tharpa publishing in Germany were traceable as was the name of the translator of the Spanish WSS pages. The same person, coincdentally, happens to have translated a number of books by Kelsang Gyatso. When this became apparent, NKT/WSS web staff quickly concealed the data by utilising the same proxy methods outlined above.

Full Moon's picture

Dear Steven C2,

Your comments are not in relation to the NKT Truth blog post regarding Losang Dragpa Centre. So what is your objection to the answer given on the NKT Truth blog? Do you disagree with it? Do you have valid reasons? If so, post a comment there or write to the blog and raise your question.

Perhaps one day you will realize the truth - that the Western Shugden Society and the New Kadampa Tradition are not the same. If you doubt it, write to the Charity Commission. There's nothing to hide.

Elliot Ness's picture

Follow the money

Steve's picture

Castle mystery as monks quit

Published Date: 30 August 2007
By Carol Longbottom
MONKS have left Todmorden causing concern for the future of a historical landmark.
The Losang Dragpa Centre, a Buddhist centre based at Dobroyd Castle, Todmorden has closed its doors after 12 years.
Fears have been expressed as to the future of the building, which fell into disrepair when left empty before the Buddhists arrived in 1995. And scheduled work for renovation of the roof has been left in the balance.
Todmorden Town Councillor and a Friend of Dobroyd Castle David O'Neill expressed his shock at hearing the news of the Buddhists' sudden departure.
"I heard there had been a meeting last Friday at which they decided to close it and now it's shut. I'm obviously really concerned about the building because I remember when it was closed for years before the Buddhists' bought it. My first fear was they were just going to leave at once but there was someone there when I went up," said Coun O'Neill, who lives close to the castle, which has been run as an approved school for boys by the Home Office and then as a privately run school for boys with emotional and behavioural problems before its transformation into a Buddhist centre.
"There were a number of people interested in turning it into a hotel or a computer centre before the Buddhists bought it but as far as I understand there was a covenant placed on the building by the Fielden family stipulating it must be used for educational purposes," added Coun O'Neill.
In March this year the Buddhists celebrated their successful bid for funding to renovate the leaking roof and save the intricate stone-work, which dates back to 1869. The grant for £127,000 from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund would have gone a long way to funding the repairs and the Buddhists were hoping to raise the remaining funds to complete the scheme, which it is estimated will cost in the region of £200,000.
Trevor Mitchell, team leader for English Heritage in West Yorkshire, said he was aware the Buddhists were closing the centre.
"We have just found out about it. It's early days and we will contact them formally about how they want to proceed.
"They have had a small development grant of around £10,000 or £15,000 to find out what needs doing. The risk to the public purse is relatively small," said Mr Mitchell.
"But even though they have closed the centre it doesn't mean they have walked away from the building. People are still there at the moment looking after it."
During its time as the Losang Dragpa Centre the castle was home to about 20 monks and nuns at any one time and offered a range of activities for visitors, including meditation courses, weekend retreats, a cafe and annual summer fairs.
The castle was bought by the monks of the New Kadampa Buddhist Tradition for £320,000 in 1995. The tradition has centres in 40 countries worldwide with over 40 centres in England alone. In February this year the tradition acquired the 18th century 38-bedroom Chateau de Segrais set in 56 acres, just outside Le Mans in France.
No-one from the New Kadampa Buddhist Tradition was available to comment on the closure of Losang Dragpa Centre.

Steven C 2's picture

Her;s another example of NKT arrogance and the assumption that people are all basically stupid

The sale of Losang Dragpa Centre (Todmorden) and remortgaging of NKT properties

Here the NKT office replies to the questions raised in the comments to this article on 21 May 2010 by John Swainson. Thank you, John, for the opportunity to clarify.

"(Q1) Has the NKT used money from the sale of Losang Dragpa Centre (in Todmorden, West Yorkshire) for the development of centres abroad contrary to the Internal Rules?


In accordance with Clause 9.1 of LDC’s Memorandum of Association and with section 17§5 of NKT-IKBU Internal Rules, the Spiritual Director of LDC (i.e. the General Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition~International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) (i.e.Kelsang Gyatso) advised that it would be most beneficial if LDC’s remaining assets could be given to Manjushri KMC, the original “Mother Centre” of the NKT-IKBU, for subsequent distribution to one (or more than one) other Member Centre of the NKT-IKBU. This proposal was checked with the Charity Commission, explaining that Manjushri KMC is a part of the NKT-IKBU charity, and was then formally adopted by the directors and members of LDC.

In this way the requirements of LDC’s constitution and of the Internal Rules were met.

The receipts from the sale of Dobroyd Castle were donated by LDC to the NKT-IKBU charity in October 2008. They were then designated by NKT-IKBU to International Temple Project purposes, where the funds would bring most benefit (to?). Some of the funds were used to buy a property for Hotel Kadampa Holland in January 2009, and the rest contributed to subsequent international developments,"

So the answer is "No, the NKT has not used money from the sale of Losang Dragpa Centre (in Todmorden, West Yorkshire) for the development of centres abroad"

But wait a moment "The receipts from the sale of Dobroyd Castle were donated by LDC to the NKT-IKBU charity..... then used to buy a property for Hotel Kadampa Holland in January 2009, and the rest contributed to subsequent international developments,"

In brief, the receipts from the sale of Dobroyd Castle were not used for the development of centres abroad. Rather, some was used to buy a property in Holland and the rest for other 'international developments'

Is it me? What was it Gyalpo Nyi said?

"I guess its only a matter of time before this discrepancy is pointed out to the Fraud Team at the Commissions Liverpool Office, which is run by Kenneth Rogers,
Charity Commission Direct - Caseworking Team
tel: 0845 300 0218

But that was in relation to the fact that no one had questioned the Charity Commission on the legality of a charity POSING as an external lobbying group, then carrying out its own poisonous propaganda for it, something which there is clear evidence of at
( For the record, that IS a direct contravention of charities law.

As they say, "There are lies, damned lies, and NKT morality"

Here's what politicians on a Commons select committee had to say about the financial trickery

"It is to my knowledge the only time that we have ever funded a Buddhist place of worship because our scheme is not only for
Christian places of worship; it is for all places of worship. I am quite certain that the reason that wegave them a grant was because they fulfilled the criteria in that at the time they were a viable place of
worship, it was a listed building and they had repair
needs that they could not cope with. I amafraid I am
unable to comment about—

Mr Mitchell: Perhaps you could give us some more
information on that matter because it sounds
extraordinary that you gave them such a big grant in
2007 and at the end of that year they went to the
south of France. I would probably do the same."

Yeti's picture

"but what sex is your mind? That’s where Buddha nature lies."
What sex ix your body-that's Buddha nature too! (Oh I forgot, youve been told Buddha nature is a mental potential. to be developed. not the present nature of all existence. BTW, how do you improve a Buddha?)

"From an absolute perspective (I assume you mean ultimate as there are no absolutes, everything is relative even ultimate truth)"
Pedantic arrogance-everybody knows the two terms are synonymous. You DSers just love arguing and asserting intellectual superiority. Winning arguments is SO important.

"Conventionally human men and women both have the same potential for enlightenment and, if they have met Dharma, an equal opportunity to realize it"
Guru Padmasambhava said women have a greater potential to REALIZE their true nature-you disagree. DSers always know best=better than the man who established Dharma in Tibet it seems. The main vibe of DSers is they love to argue, usually employing Dharma terms to settle worldly issues (except where political correctness serves their ends beter)
Thye also ALWAYS know better than anyone else, even though they have little actual experience of Dharma-above eg we have a child disagreeing with the father of Tibetan Buddhism-How does the child know best? years of retreat? No. Geshe-la says.

Heres another eg
"My Teacher says that this vow, not to disparage women, should be read as ‘not to disparage men’ if you are a woman." Where does this come from? Which tantra? Which commentary?(bearing in mind DSers/NKT/WSS are not allowed to read commentaries by anyone except KG) Answer, none. Geshela said it.
Thats right, suspend all judgement and just do what Geshe la says. See y'all down there!

PS Please stop taking Kneel Eatmyhat's name in vain-he didnt inhale!
Hey Grover. This IS fun.

Jefferson's picture

Not THE Neil Elliot? Dude, what happened to you, I thought you were like Number 2, the golden child… Tantric practitioner and all that, guess you kind of got caught with your shantab down, eh buddy? Sorry, I’ve always wear briefs under that getup? Cheers, mate.

“The sexual abuse that kelsang gyatso’s senior students perpetrated was covered up and the man most responsible for spreading this ’sexual lineage’, Neil Elliot, now has a key role in organising the WSS protests against the Dalai Lama. Elliot, along with Lucy James have also been responsible for waging the on-line NKT smear campaign against the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism.

When news of Elliot’s activities came to light it was swept under the carpet for more years. It was only when he was found to be abusing his new attendents in the same way that he was actually asked by kelsang to disrobe, and only after Ramsey, seeking closure after years of therapy, said she would go the media with her story if he didn’t.

When news of Samden’s abuse came to light, Kelsang had already been told about it two years earlier. A letter to Kelsang told how Samden encouraged its writer, one young NKT ‘monk’, to have a sexual relataionship with a NKT ‘nun’. The monk believed that this nun had also been sexually active with Samden though he could not prove it. He did however know that Samden was encouraging this sexual activity and that that nun was involved. Kelsang did nothing about this. A couple of years later he even promoted this nun to being the resident teacher of the important Bodhisattva Centre in Brighton. Predictably, this nun broke her vows again by engaging in a sexual relationship with a man from the centre who was actually married to another nun that lived there.

Kelsang allowed Samden to stay on as a ‘monk’ and teacher for years after hearing that Samden encouraged sexual activity amongst his students. He was finally forced to leave when news of his sexual activity surfaced on e-sangha.