Buddhist blog

NKT, Succession and ‘The Rules’

A few years ago I wrote on my previous blog an article called ‘NKT: Succession & Question of Authority regarding difficulties in the New Kadampa Tradition in managing the succession from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso to a new generation. Much has changed in the subsequent five years and I want to comment on the new arrangements.

My general attitude towards the NKT hasn’t changed. As I wrote then:

“Although my own approach to the Dharma is very different from that of the NKT, I have been interested to watch the movement’s progress. Even more than the FWBO, the NKT is stigmatized by many other Buddhists, and ties between Geshe Kelsang and the rest of the Tibetan Buddhist community have long been severed. Conversely, NKT members tend to idealise its approach as ‘pure’ and ‘uncontaminated’. While I find this conflict sad, I don’t subscribe to either viewpoint, which means that–for all the disputes and stigmatisation–I regard NKT members as fellow Buddhists, just like their critics, and would like to feel a connection with them as such.”

To fill this out a little I will shortly be posting an article I wrote some time ago on the Dorje Shugden dispute.

In 2010 the NKT adopted a new constitution: A Moral Discipline Guide: the Internal Rules of The New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union which I recently read it with some interest. Over the years I have been involved in comparable issues in my own movement, which is now called the Triratna Buddhist Community, as recounted in my article Growing Pains: an Inside View of Change in the FWBO, and it’s interesting to me to see how others are addressing similar issues.

Dekyong: the NKT's new General Spiritual Director

I was prompted to write in 2007 by the news that Samden Gyatso, the NKT’s General Spiritual Director (GSD) and appointed successor to the founder Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, had stepped down amid accusations of sexual impropriety. This followed the resignation in similar circumstances of his predecessor, Thubten Gyatso, some years before. Another NKT monk, Kelsang Khyenrab, who I know a little, became the movement’s new GSD (I think this was formalized in 2008), while Kelsang Dekyong, a Norther Irish nun, became the Deputy Spiritual Director (DSD). In 2010 Khyenrab stepped down due to ill-health and Dekyong became the new General Spiritual Director. This seemingly smooth transition all occurred according to the arrangements set out in The Rules.

In my previous article I suggested that more collegiate, cooperative arrangements might evolve. In fact, The Rules centralize organisational and spiritual authority in the General Spiritual Director and Deputy and stipulate a high degree of uniformity across the movement. The GSD and DSD have the power to authorise new NKT centres, grant monastic ordinations, conduct certain tantric empowerments and recommend and or appoint the principal NKT teachers including NKT Centre Directors (points 5.1-7 of The Rules). Indeed, the GSD is ‘the Spiritual Director of each and every NKT-IKBU Dharma Centre’ (1.2). More than this, The Rules state that ‘The GSD shall be regarded as the representative of the Founder of the NKT-IKBU, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.’ This is straightforward in a way: the GSD lives at the Manjushri Institute in Cumbria, which is Kelsang Gyatso’s main residence and presumably works in consultation with him. However, The Rules also outline how the organisation will run after the 81 year-old founder’s eventual demise, which lends this item a somewhat mystical hue. The GSD will be Kelsang Gyatso’s representative even when he is dead: and the whole movement is built around a system of training that involves intensive study of Kelsang Gyatso’s books. No other books are available in NKT centres and reading other expositions of Buddhist teachings is discouraged. There’s an important caveat: the GSD and DSD each serve four year terms and ‘shall not be eligible for immediate re-election’ (5.9). Normally, the Deputy will replace the outgoing General Spiritual Director and will step in if he or she resigns prematurely, as happened in Khyenrab’s case. There are also provisions for removing a General Director who misbehaves in various ways (7.1-4). The new Deputy is nominated by the Directors of the NKT-IKBU charity and elected by the members (the NKT centres).

The main thrust of The Rules is to centralise power within the NKT and enable central bodies to ensure that all NKT activities are in accordance with standard practice. All NKT centres must adopt a model constitution, become members of the overall NKT-IKBU UK-based charity (1.4), and follow its decisions. What’s more, individual teachers can only publicly teach material that accords with NKT doctrines and they may only publish material that has been centrally approved (11.4).

Time will tell how these arrangements work out for the organisation, and I know that in practice things can be rather different from how they seem in theory. Also, I haven’t had a chance to discuss these issues with NKT members to find out how they look from within the organisation. Nonetheless, several points emerge for me in relation to the points I raised in my earlier article. By instituting this rotating leadership the NKT has found a way to limit its dependence on a single individual. That seems prudent and realistic, given their experience with past General Spiritual Directors. However, these arrangements certainly don’t encourage diversity or greater collegiality, moving instead from dependence on a living teacher to dependence on a body of texts and teachings.

In some ways that has always been the NKT’s approach. Geshe Kelsang is considered authoritative because of his ability to pass on and clarify teachings that have come to him through his lineage. The personal qualities his disciples find in him enable him to fulfil this role, but he himself isn’t the primary focus of devotion. NKT literature repeatedly states that the movement presents ‘the pure tradition of Mahayana Buddhism (1) passed down in an ‘unbroken lineage’ that has flowed through Atisha, Tsongkhapa and later Gelugpa teachers. Authority lies with the lineage and Geshe Kelsang is authoritative because he passes that on.

Personally, I find the reliance on lineage problematic, but that’s a much wider issue than the NKT and I intend to write about it in a future blog post. [here] The present point is the NKT’s approach to lineage and authority and where that leaves the organisation. No doubt, having total faith in a particular set of texts brings great clarity and focus, and I assume this is a reason for the phenomenal success of the NKT. In recent years it has left most other Buddhist movements, certainly including my own, far behind in terms of numbers involved and the speed of expansion. There’s a very clear NKT orthodoxy. I don’t think that orthodoxy is necessarily bad, but it easily turns into dogma. Actually, there may even be a case for dogma, but after dogma come intransigence, rigidity and eventually fundamentalism. Writers such as Steven Schettini and Stephen Batchelor have recently written about these tendencies in their Gelug training – the same training that Geshe Kelsang himself received. And while Geshe Kelsang has streamlined Gelug material, his books operate within the same parameters.

Within the framework established by the rules there appears to be no room for divergent views within the organisation, and little room for individual creativity in how the teachings are expressed. It would seem that all NKT centres are being enjoined to keep repeating the same material in the same way in perpetuity under the strict controlling eyes of central NKT authorities. The Rules contain so many safeguards that one can only imagine that they address concern that centres will diverge from standard teaching or leave the NKT altogether, that Resident Teachers will give tantric initiations without authorisation, that senior people will say things that don’t fit with the orthodoxy and that any or all of these things would be a disaster.

My own view, which comes from my experience within the Triratna Buddhist Community, is that there is value in the teacher’s authority but also value in the student’s individuality and capacity to think and understand things for him or herself. I happen to believe that this matches the Buddha’s teachings. I increasingly sense that there is an inevitable tension between autonomy and receptivity for individuals and between order and chaos for organisations. That tension can be creative, and if you try to eliminate it by imposing order and conformity I suspect you create fresh problems. By the way, I don’t think the Triratna Buddhist Community has fully resolved its own issues about authority, leadership and diversity, and I may write more about that as well. However, I do think we have faced them squarely and discussed them from first principles, seeking unity in underlying principles rather than rules and through kalyana mitrata (spiritual friendship) rather than institutional control.

The Rules will make the NKT streamlined, uniform and efficient, but perhaps  a certain amount of chaos is an essential ingredient of freedom and creativity. Without these I doubt we can really flourish either as human beings or as Buddhists. I also think that approaching the truth requires an awareness of the contingency, as opposed to the uncontaminated purity, of our beliefs. Sangha – the Buddhist practice of creating spiritual community – requires faith and harmony between individuals, but, for me, a mature engagement with sangha requires space for dialogue, debate, exploration and uncertainty.

Read more Wise Attention Posts on Tibetan Buddhism

Author: Vishvapani

I’m a writer and teacher of Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation based in Cardiff, UK and a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. My biography of the Buddha was published in 2011

Share This Post On

13 Comments

  1. Your article was so touching as it encapsulated my very real existential dilemma. I have been a Buddhist practitioner within the NKT for 20 years now, and very happy and fruitful years they have been on the whole, but now I am witnessing within my own NKT centre an attempt at an imposition of total obedience to the commands and doctrinal orthodoxy emanating from NKT central authority. Teachers of many years standing are being labelled as’impure’ because of alleged deviance from doctrinal orthodoxy in their teachings, without any evidence or explanation provided, even when asked, and when people like myself do ask, they are then themselves asked to stop teaching or not recognised as having any legitimate role within their centres. No debate or discussion about the changes head office is making is allowed and no pleas for consultation about the changes from centre members is even acknowledged, let alone replied to. I suspect my centre is not the only one where such imposition of greater central control is happening, and if it is done in the same grossly insensitive way it is being done at my centre, then that can only damage whatever autonomy and initiative there still is within individual centres, which are still registered charities in their own right even if they come under the overall umbrella of the NKT-IKBU. In my centre it is forcing people to choose between displaying a publicly visible loyalty and obedience to NKT central authority and allowing whatever changes are ordered to be implemented, or resisting by helping to move the centre towards outright independence from the NKT, a last resort which is very painful to contemplate but necessary if any local autonomy and initiative is to be salvaged. I think your warning of the NKT risking sliding towards fundamentalism by becoming too rigid is very valid, and I thank you for explaining why this warning should be heeded.

    Post a Reply
    • ‘I think your warning of the NKT risking sliding towards fundamentalism by becoming too rigid is very valid, and I thank you for explaining why this warning should be heeded.’ I left the organisation in around 2000 and am surprised to see such a warning made now about it becoming too fundamental. The NKT has been too fundamental since it split from the FWBO many years before I joined. It has been highly sectarian for well over ten years now.
      When visiting their headquarters in the Lake District, Majushri centre in 1997, I was amazed by the lack of Buddhist books in their library. The place was filled with adoring images of Kelsang Gyatso and numerous versions of his own titles filled the shelves. It reminded me of a language school I once worked at where self-promotion was everywhere. They made their own text books, course books, dictionaries, grammars and all of the images on the wall had the company name splattered all over them. Like the NKT, they accepted no independence of teaching style. There was one way only and it was there’s.

      Post a Reply
  2. Thanks for that comment. I’m sorry to hear that this is how things are working out for your Centre, and I wish you all the best in a very difficult situation. I hope people in the NKT find ways to speak openly and honestly about their concerns: there is really no justification for preventing that.

    Post a Reply
  3. Thanks for the article, I’m surprised you are interested in the NKT’s Internal Rules, but they are important. It’s unique for a Buddhist tradition to have a moral discipline guide like this.

    I don’t think there’s any need to worry. Orthodoxy is very important to ensure that the Dharma doesn’t degenerate. Buddha’s teachings are something that I feel doesn’t require us to ‘do our own thing’. Tradition has passed these teaching to us and we need to keep them intact, without degeneration, for as long as we can. The presentation of the teachings can change, but not the content, so having such guidelines doesn’t stifle creativity, it protects something that is very precious and needs to remain for a long time.

    Post a Reply
    • The NKT’s Internal Rules are supposed to defend ‘orthodoxy’. But who exactly defines what is ‘orthodox’ and not ‘orthodox’? Who decides whether a presentation of the ‘orthodox’ teachings has drifted away too far from the content of the teachings as to become ‘unorthodox’, or is simply a creative presentation that preserves the meaning of the content? You will look in vain within the Internal Rules, or any other publicly available NKT document to find any clear criteria for making such decisions, or any procedure for resolving or mediating disputes about decisions when they are made, without resort to litigation or reference to regulatory bodies external to the NKT. It is always assumed by the NKT that such decisions can be made behind closed doors at the top of the NKT hierarchy and all those who are on the wrong end of the decisions have no forum or court of appeal within the NKT within which they can present evidence that challenges the rectititude of such decisions, or even to recieve an explanation or justification of why the decision was made in the first place. There is not even any right of disclosure within NKT rules about why any decision is made, so even asking for an explanation can then sometimes become grounds for being accused of breaking the Internal Rules. If there is no transparency or accountability about how the Internal Rules are enforced, then those rules themselves will just trap people in Catch-22 situations, and the enforcers of the rules can easily end up becoming judge, jury and executioners of any persons deemed ‘unorthodox’. A tradition, any tradition, will degenerate very quickly if it grasps onto ‘orthodoxy’ too tightly. Such grasping is a form of ‘desirous attachment’, to use NKT terminology. But then what do I know? I’m just someone who has been labelled ‘unorthodox’, so my opinion doesn’t matter to the NKT any more…

      Post a Reply
    • Indolent One, It is the obsession with purity of the teachings that led me away from the NKT. It seems to me Geshe-la has such fear of losing this lineage that he is blinded to all else and nothing or no one else matters. The NKT put the Tradition above everything, including the people within it because of this it can not function to help other’s. It’s members are a means to an end nothing more. I have seen many occasion’s when members have asked the wrong question, or left the tradition and tried to write a book on Dharma how vividly GKG shows his true colours of narcissism. He truly believes only he is right and all other teachings are false, this is grasping at it’s worst,it is the trap, the lock. Only letting go of these dogmatic ways and starting back to trusting our own instincts, are own experience as Buddha intended. Only then will we find the true path to freedom, our own path.

      Post a Reply
  4. ‘The main thrust of The Rules is to centralize power within the NKT and enable central bodies to ensure that all NKT activities are in accordance with standard practice.’ This is a wonderful allusion to the group-think that takes place within the NKT. You have a very generous and sympathetic stance towards an organization which is classified by various organizations as a cult (See: Cult Education forum, Rick Ross, Tibet Custom.com, INFORM). I actually appreciate your attitude towards the NKT as mine is less than appreciative, although please be aware I came to my conclusions after following the tradition for several years and living for a year in a NKT centre.
    I was a member of the NKT for several few years before realising that attempting to transplant a Tibetan tradition to the West in the manner that they attempted was ridiculous, that anti-Dalai Lama protests and rhetoric were absurd, and that the way people were encouraged to separate from their old lives (family relationships that got in the way of the dharma, etc) and adhere to the words of the enlightened master Kalsang Gyatso, the true heir to the Gelugpa tradition and only teacher worth your ear, was both dangerous and highly disturbing. More than this though, fundamentally, what troubled me most was the absence of any relationship with other Buddhist organisations, which pointed towards deeper and troubling issues that needed addressing. They are an extremely sectarian organisation.
    After witnessing firsthand the use of religious symbology to persuade and convince followers to sell their properties to fund yet another NKT expansion project, to dedicate their life savings or will to the NKT, after having been involved with the organisation for only a year or two, I decided to leave. NKT followers for years claimed housing benefits to fund NKT projects whilst working for free for the organisation under the premise that unpaid labour would bring them merit and a better chance of rebirth. This is all personal experience, just so we’re clear and this is just a sample of some of what I experience firsthand.
    Sectarian claims of proving the one and only pure Buddhism are highly dysfunctional and damaging to the image and integrity of Buddhism when followers come to realise that the NKT operates a self-absorbed policy of self-promotion that excludes all other forms of Buddhism. Whether the NKT is a cult or not is debatable and I don’t presume to make that distinction. What I can say is that much of its behaviour mirrors that of cults.
    I think the NKT is a fascinating topic for study in the sphere of New Religious Movements and socially I think your curiosity is merited. I would warn against developing too much sympathy for the NKT though in justifying your own investments in a form of organised religion.
    The problem with religious organisations of all ilks is that they must self-sustain. The ability for these organisations to be open to criticism and internal disagreement is a major factor in establishing the long-term value of such organisations. These are inevitable stages in any organisations development, religious, Buddhist or other. Rules are essential but they must guide conduct and not force conformity, which is what tends to take place in the NKT. When you silence dissent, dictate what is right/wrong, pure or otherwise as a command from above, then you are in serious danger of robbing people of their own right to question and doubt. The NKT does not give space to such dissent and this is proven again and again in the complaints made by ex-followers. Me included.

    Post a Reply
  5. I read your posting a couple of years ago. Really appreciated the even handedness of what you had to say. I just found this article and wish to respond now.
    I am a member of NKT. I consider myself a Mahayana Buddhist and a nun. I have always appreciated the very structured nature of the NKT as I know this helps me stay on track, moving forward and engaged. I have watched a few rounds of this ‘problem.’ I always find it disappointing. I have held various positions in my Center and found the stricture a challenge to work within. One day the NKT (I hope) will find its ‘middle way.’
    My Center has had its own challenges with the downturn of the economy. We went from financially healthy to struggling. There were other challenges but I wish to maintain my anonymity or would discuss those too.
    I had to find a way to work within the confines of a very up – down structure. I, too, get a bit confused as other ‘churches’ have some autonomy while falling under the umbrella of a whole organization ie:Southern Baptists and SB Convention. I do not believe in ‘cookie cutter’ Centers/Centres as I think each one evolves a bit differently according to the overall personality of its sangha. Our current team does almost nothing without checking to see how another Center does it – including budgetary issues.
    I am not discouraged from reading other texts. I actually have a well-rounded library. I coincidentally do not find HHDL particularly better than others so I have very few of his. This is, of course, partly because of his attitude toward us. I have done things with several groups over the years and am happy with my choice of NKT. But I must say that I really do think that you make more progress on your path by making a commitment to one teacher. This is a challenge for me but I know it would be with any one teacher I chose. I am inspired my Milarepa’s commitment to the guru and chose this very consciously understanding I would struggle with the challenges but wanted the benefit/growth that comes with it. I am used to being in charge. 
    I feel that our biggest transgression is that Geshe Kelsang has been so public in not being willing to be bullied into giving up a practice he feels an obligation to continue. I agree with the position that insisting this practice be abandoned, he is forcing many to break samaya with their Spiritual Guides. Nobody should be forced/pressured to do this. As far as I am concerned, Dorje Shugden is no more valid or in-valid than any other. We make up what each of these deities is to us. I also note that NKT is not the only group with problems with HHDL.
    As far as our vows, I do not have a need to have 253 vows that include not wearing my winter robes beyond a certain point of the year. As a nun, I do not feel a need to have another massive stack upon those that a monk takes. I believe that many of these vows came about because of certain problems/behaviours that occurred. I do feel that all of those vows fall under the vows we take. I continue to work on my moral discipline which, I believe, ultimately keeps all the Tibetan vows guiding behavior (and can even see how the robes vow might apply in here). I continue to work on my other trainings to fulfill my other vows. I appreciate my being ordained for keeping me on my path. I may have left more than once when struggling except for that commitment.
    I was very disappointed about the Samden scandal. Unfortunately I was also not surprised. He always seemed a bit poofed up when I saw him. I was very happy to have Khyenrab. He was a humble monk with never a whisper of scandal around him. I was sorry for his need to step down. I am happy with Dekyong. She is very dedicated, willing to fulfill all our needs as best she can and has no scandal. I am aware of times she could have acted better but I know she knows this and has worked to improve (as I could hope all of us do). We are also not the only Buddhist group to experience such a scandal.
    We are a ‘rubber-stamp’ organization. But I think some of this is naturally occurring within young organizations. It might be even more so during periods of big expansion as it may seem needed to keep everything contained during the process. I could hope this improves with time. I am concerned when a well-established Center such as Maitryeya is having the issues that are going on there currently. I never knew the intimate details re Losang Dragpa Centre but was told there were recurring issues over there. One of the things to remember is that the Centres came into being as NKT Centres.
    Years ago the ‘central office’ helped to support these Centres until they became self-supporting. They are what they are because of this initial support. NKT has been a part of the ability to purchase a building but you now think it should not get proceeds when it is sold? When a Charity is dissolved (here anyway), the assets have to be put out to other charities, where would you think it more appropriate than to the mother organization? I am not making a case here- just something to think about.
    Some of the irony is- if you do deviate (as I am prone to so do not teach), you are not strictly NKT. You can get upset about it but you have crossed a line that is clearly understood for you to be considered a proper NKT teacher.
    As far as the succession discussion, NKT sees itself as followers of JeTsongkhapa. In that way, we are using a system of training that involves study of his teachings. Based on this, I do not have a problem with this structure. His books are commentaries. So if I were to write a book, it would be a commentary on a commentary.
    I am aware, from friends of many years, that the ‘yellow hat sect’ (Gelug) of Tibet essentially thought you could debate your way to enlightenment. Geshe Kalsang has also mentioned this in various ways over the years. He says, and I agree, that we need to be more engaged via LamRim, etc.
    And I shall remember what a loved one said MANY years ago when responding to a question about a particular group (not NKT)- ‘one red-eyed fundamentalist is like another.’ I do agree with this and hope that any group I associate with will not force my exit by becoming one as it is why I left a Christian Church several decades ago to never look back.
    I think every Buddhist group has contributed to our bad reputation (that of Buddhists). We have picketed, ‘you’ have banished us, etc. I have had people turn and walk away from me after coming up to me-all because I am NKT.
    My hope is that the NKT evolves to have a more inclusive process while maintaining its purity. I also believe other traditions have purity- as we are told by Geshe Kelsang too.
    In the meantime, I will try to remember my lessons and build on my own practice. I do not have to be in 100% agreement to benefit from what is offered me. I will stay with NKT until there are no more teachers beyond my own level/growth. Somehow I do not think I will be having to look outside for some time.

    Post a Reply
    • I was a nun within the NKT for many years until I finally disrobed and then a few years later I left the tradition for good. It was difficult for me to at first see the main problems within the NKT. The teachings seemed clear and logical. I know that I tried my best to be a good practitioner over the year’s, yet I seemed to become more and more unhappy, my fear increased, my self esteem lowered and I couldn’t understand why. After I left I got more clarity, I realised my ability to relate to non NKT people was very limited. I also had little understanding of myself. This led me to question everything, particularly my unquestioning loyalty to Geshe-la a man I had never met, I had no idea if he even possessed any of the qualities a qualified teacher needed. Before I had joined the NKT I was a very curious questioning woman so why now did I just do what I was told, we were even told what doubts we were allowed to have this was so far from the Buddha’s teachings I had read before. Individuation was being crushed to death in the NKT. We were taught we knew nothing, we had no wisdom, even our instincts were wrong only Geshe-la is right.This man I had never met and who’s books may not even have been written by him. It is the only tradition I have heard of where disciples are not allowed to publish their own idea’s and books. It is because of this that the NKT will die sooner or later. It can not grow, or evolve because those within it do not evolve spiritually. The reason so much abuse continues within the NKT is because it is full of robots who do not have the wisdom or common sense to even see when people are harming themselves or other’s. Sick people being encouraged to work to the detriment of their health. Those with dangerously low self esteem being held up as NKT martyrs. As Buddha’s main teaching was to learn to know our own minds this is impossible in the NKT, individuals are ignored, you are not taught to simply observe your mind but to fill it with memorized teachings that you can not question. Many other Tibetan teachers say you must first observe your mind, then accept it’s contents only then can we accept other’s, none of this is taught in the NKT. Why? Because Geshe-la wants to spread his tradition and his books he has no interest in the members of the NKT, he has proved this time and time again by his abuses towards anyone who dares question. I have heard him say many times that he invites questions from students, yet whenever anyone has questioned him then you see his true face behind the mask and it is not pretty. When a tradition becomes more important than the people within it then that tradition has ceased to be of use to anyone. I thought I was working for the benefit of all living beings yet in truth I was working for the benefit of one little monk and his dream to have the largest Buddhist tradition globally. He himself says that politics within religion is a poison, well his politics has poisoned this tree and now it’s fruit is of no use to anyone, except maybe him.

      Post a Reply
  6. Would agree with Concerned’s comments above.

    However, the stories coming out of Bexhill do require some explanation from NKT head office.

    It is concerning and does not bode well for our survival.

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, John. I heartily agree. I keep all of you struggling in my prayers. But, like you, I suspect you will not ultimately survive. So sad all around.

      I have such a dislike for politics, organized religion, and the politics of organized religion – makes me wonder how I got so involved :-)

      Post a Reply
      • We should all remember what Lord Buddha last instructed when asked. “Who should we rely upon when you are gone?” We all know the answer to this question. The Dhamma I have given you.

        We all need to distinguish between organisations, persons, and Dhamma. If a center has fallen under misconduct then it must be brought to light. What can the central office do when everyone does not accept their commands? Clearly it is the people who are the centre, they need to decide what is best in accordance with the Dhamma. Not internal rules. They can hold their own meetings and discuss and issue and arrive at a decision. In fact, their should be such meetings built into the schedule. Meetings that the resident teacher is not allowed to attend. All should be candid. Lord Buddha never attended the meetings of the Sangha until the reached a conclusion through voting. Buddha never commanded dictates. The Sangha was always democratic.

        If they became too troubled – he left and stayed with Anuruddha. Such wisdom. There are many more sincere pure practitioners in the NKT than there are pure teachers or Gen-las or other dictators. This is why democracy was adopted by Buddha.

        The Dharma in the NKT is brilliant. I have read Dharma from every Buddhist tradition, and listened to many teachers over many years, and have benefited from all. However, I must say the highest wisdom I have witnessed and most skilled teachings I have received were from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and other NKT teachers. It was through that wisdom I had made the most progress on the path. The organisation, however, is unhealthy in some places, and well in other places. Candid dialogue is indeed needed. Not more propaganda or cover up.

        The author here is likely on point. Local centres need to be more autonomous in the way they run the centres.

        Central planning without checks and balances on power has never worked. Certainly not in Tibet nor China – or anywhere else.

        I think the Dorja Shugden protests are valid. Many in India are being mistreated because of the religious choice. Even high lamas. The world needs to know what the Dalai Lama is doing. Monks in Burma, Thailand often assemble in protest when wrongs are being committed.

        Best wishes to all here. May we all realize the perfections in this life.

        May the Buddhas bestow their blessing on sentient beings no matter the initials of their organization. :-)

        metta

        r

        Post a Reply
  7. You write “I don’t think the Triratna Buddhist Community has fully resolved its own issues about authority, leadership and diversity, and I may write more about that as well. However, I do think we have faced them squarely and discussed them from first principles… ” Wasn’t there a period not too many years ago when your founder seemed to withdraw almost entirely, and there was indeed an opening up and greater discussion, and then he returned and a lot of it shut down again? Doesn’t that suggest that currently, issues around authority etc can’t really be discussed, not at the ‘top level’ anyway, and that you’ll have to wait till your leader has passed on?

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>