Smears of The New Kadampa Tradition

Smear: NKT is a profit-driven money-making empire

Truth: This is not true. No individual or Center can benefit from any profits produced as a result of any NKT activities because these profits are used solely to build Temples for World Peace. This is legally enshrined in the moral discipline guide of the New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union, the Internal Rules:

14§7. The profits from each Festival and Dharma Celebration shall be used only for the NKT-IKBU International Temples Project; except that profits from the annual International Festivals held in the UK may also be used as properly required for the running of the NKT-IKBU.

18§1. Since the purpose of opening NKT-IKBU Dharma Centres is to spread NKT Kadampa Buddhism, all the assets of these Dharma Centres shall be used only for this aim. The annual profits made by each local NKT-IKBU Kadampa Buddhist Centre shall be used for the development of that Centre, including improvements to accommodation and so forth, and any remaining profit shall be donated to the NKT-IKBU International Temples Project account of their respective country.

18§4. Annual profits made by the KMCs, international Retreat Centres, Tharpa Publications and Hotel Kadampas in each country throughout the world must be donated to an NKT-IKBU International Temples Project account.

18§6. All the funds in the NKT-IKBU International Temples Project accounts throughout the world must only be used for the NKT-IKBU International Temples Project and cannot be used by individual Dharma Centres or for any other purpose.

Therefore, with respect to the claim that the NKT makes ‘a lot of money’, all profits are donated to building Temples for World Peace. The more money that is raised, the more people around the world receive benefit through having access to these Temples and the teachings of Buddha.

For more detail, see this blog article.

Smear: NKT overcharges for Dharma classes

Truth: In the New Kadampa Tradition, to cover the costs of running a Center or a branch group at a hired venue we charge a facility fee or a suggested donation, which is perfectly normal for any organization. For weekend or longer courses we also need to charge for accommodation.

However, the prices charged by the NKT are kept deliberately as affordable as possible. Compared with other courses, conferences, seminars or retreats, they are often substantially less expensive.

Smear: NKT encourage people to give their money to the organization

Truth: Very reasonable suggested donations (compared to many other religious and non-religious organizations) are requested for drop-in classes, courses and retreats, and in residential Centers a rent is charged for accommodation. In accordance with NKT Center constitutions, none of the income or property may be paid by way of profit to its directors, trustees, staff, teachers, members or any other individual person.

Many NKT members are supported with sponsorships to fulfil responsibilities such as teaching and other administrative tasks. The NKT has already created hundreds of jobs worldwide and trained many people in skills that they have used later to find other jobs.

Smear: NKT has used government benefits to fund itself

Truth: The NKT has never been involved in benefit fraud. In the mid-nineties such allegations were made, but a government investigation found no truth in it and the NKT was exonerated (unfortunately not before the Guardian and Independent newspapers had irresponsibly reported these allegations without checking with local unemployment or housing benefit offices.)

Smear: NKT is sponsored by the Chinese government

Truth: This is not true, and not a shred of evidence has been produced to support this repeated claim. In the Internal Rules (§3) it says:

The New Kadampa Tradition shall always be an entirely independent Buddhist tradition and the NKT-IKBU shall have no political affiliations.

The NKT has never had, and never will have, any political affiliations with the Chinese or Tibetan Governments. This is because mixing religion and politics is the cause of many problems, such as those evidenced by the Dalai Lama’s political interference in the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It is common for critics of the Dalai Lama to be labelled “Chinese sympathizers” (or usually far worse epithets) or to be accused of being on the payroll of the Chinese Government but, in the case of the NKT-IKBU, this is an entirely false accusation.